The jewelry of Marcia Myrick Siany...
There’s something about metal that really makes me want to play. I am currently toying with brass, bronze, copper, nickel, sterling, hammers and heat in my jewelry studio. Heat typically comes from one of three different sources, a chef’s butane torch, a plumbers map gas torch or a jeweler’s soldering iron.
Skin burns when it touches the inside of an oven heated to 200 degrees. I know this from personal experience. So I always utilize caution when I work with heat. My chef’s torch typically reaches temperatures of up to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. With this torch and a small hammer I create loops for most all of my chains one by one. My plumber’s torch reaches temperatures of up to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. This degree of heat enables me to turn Thompson’s 80 mesh enamel powder into a brilliant glass finish on iron beads. Though I am extremely careful with the torches, I handle my soldering iron with the most caution. The tip of this tool quietly reaches temperatures between 700-900 degrees Fahrenheit. And though that doesn’t sound like much compared to the torches I use, it is plenty enough to warrant a respectful approach.
Heat produced by these tools enables me to dramatically altar the materials with which I work. With it, I can weld two pieces of random metal together permanently, melt powder into a colorful glass finish and turn coils of solder into curious lumps that can be used to embellish my pieces. Silvergleam solder by Canfield is my solder of choice, as it can be buffed easily to a bright shiny finish or rendered dark and moody by bathing in a mild patina solution.
As a voraciously curious artist I have worked in several different mediums. Right now I’m really enjoying metalsmithing for many reasons. One of the things I like about the pieces I am creating today is the fact that, if they are treated with care, they could potentially last much longer than my lifetime and even beyond that of my yet to be born distant relatives. Each time I finish a new piece I take a moment to wonder about that and I ask myself, “Will this piece be here 100 years from now?” “What will it look like?” “Will a fashionable person wear it with pride and refer to it as a time worn vintage cool treasure?” These notions make me smile. One thing I know for sure is that if it does last, it will be then what it is today, handmade on a joyful playground by an American artist.
Marcia Myrick Siany