Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Pod Story

I'd like to introduce you to the Pod pendant. It's a new addition to my Etsy store and the story of its creation is quite a saga. It all started when I was browsing the website and found this stuff called Hattie's Bloom Mesh. It said that you could push a ball of pmc through it and fire it with the mesh in place to make these sort of bud-like protrusions. Always a sucker for a new product, I bought some and tried it out on two balls of pmc. The product worked as promised and now I had two lumps of silver protrusions.

What to do with them? I played around with them for days and they never seemed to fit anywhere. I decided that I should try to create a pmc base for the smaller lump. I put it on a flat oval pmc base -- again, the problem was how to make the two look like they belonged together. I added small balls of pmc, slightly smushed and then squeezed in a bezel cup. The result still looked incomplete, even after I set an iolite cabochon in the bezel cup. There were a couple of bare places in the lump that bothered me, so I glued in a Swarovski crystal (at the bottom) and the ends of some oxidized silver head pins (in the middle of the lump). Why did I glue instead of solder? I was in the "I can't make anything stick together with solder" phase and was sick of trying. Also, I had just used a dab of epoxy on the base of the cabochon, so the glue was handy.

Next phase in the life of the pod: I pried the crystal off and drilled a hole in the bottom, thinking I would dangle a pearl. Awful. After a few more days I thought, "It looks like the inside of something. It needs an outside." So I added the wire coil, which has its ends secured through the two drilled holes. Better! Then I decided to add a curved piece of heavy square wire to the other side to balance the coil. This time, I thought, I'm going to solder the sucker on.

With great care, I prepared the surface of the pod and the wire. With even more care, I used my two-clamp third hand to position the wire and pod tight against each other. I started up my little butane torch and very carefully started warming the metal around the pieces of solder. Suddenly the pod was engulfed in three inch high flames! I jumped back. I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed that olympic quality backward leap. I wondered if I should grab the fire extinguisher. By that time the flames had died down. The solder was gone, the clamps on the third hand were discolored, and the pod, oh my, the pod was black wherever the epoxy (the cause of the conflagration) had been. Not a nice patinated oxidized black, a greasy looking permanent horrible-looking black. And worst of all, the iolite was completely black.

After a suitable period of mourning had passed, I decided that soldering the wire onto the pod was still a good exercise, so I set it up again. This time I turned the pod upside down in the third hand, thinking it would let me see what was happening with the solder more clearly. I set everything up and applied the torch from underneath. After several tries the pod and wire remained unattached, so I decided it was time to call it a day. I took the pod out of the clamps and, lo and behold!, the nasty black gunk was all gone and the iolite was purple again. What heat taketh away, heat also giveth back. I decided it was a sign that the pod was just fine without any additional wire on the side and oxidized it on the spot.

There ends the story of the pod.

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