Perseverance: a steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
It started as an idea a couple of summer's ago. I was walking my dog and on the ground were these perfect pine cones. I started picking them up, searching for the perfect one, and thought "this would look fantastic as a silver pine cone".
I had taken a Precious Metal Clay (PMC) class the previous winter and one of the techniques I learned was on organic materials and hollow forms. My instructor told the class anything organic can be coated in PMC and will burn off during firing. We did a leaf in class and a hollow form using cork clay (which we shaped and then coated with PMC). Both came out great and I was eager to try other things.
I get a lot of my inspiration from nature and when I see something interesting I will automatically think how I can incorporate it into jewelry making. So when I saw the pine cone, my first thought was to coat it in PMC.
I brought the pine cone home and began to coat it in PMC layer by layer. I mostly did this in my spare time, coating it carefully to make sure it was evenly put on.
The next winter I was back in my class and still working on my pine cone in between other projects. One of the new students noticed my pine cone, asked me about it and ended up mentioning it to our instructor who immediately looked at me and told me it couldn't be fired, it would melt in itself because there would be nothing to support it and I was wasting my time. All the new students looked at me and asked if maybe I could scrape the PMC off (it is VERY expensive). I just thought to myself "Really? We'll see about that!" and continued to coat my pine cone.
The following spring I was close to finishing my pine cone and was wondering if I had in fact wasted my time. It was hard to tell if I had enough PMC on it and if it would be enough to support itself and not melt like my instructor thought. I recently had joined the Whole Lotta Whimsy Sunday Social Circle Group on Facebook where all sorts of artists can share their work, ideas, problems and expertise. I asked the group what they thought of my chances with my pine cone and asked if anyone has ever tried it before.
The responses were amazing! Some great tips to make it more sturdy and LOTS of encouragement even though no one had done one before. I was ready for firing.
It survived the firing! There were some little cracks where the PMC wasn't thick enough so I fixed those and fired it two more times. Tumbled it, added patina and buffed it. It looks amazing!!!
So don't let anyone tell you "it can't be done". It probably can.