Wow, my stepbrother is amazing. He had been a sculptor for many years, working with stone, metal and wood to make amazing creations. But a back injury now makes that impossible, so he’s started taking jewelry-making classes. Here’s the first piece he felt it was worthwhile to share, a Christmas gift for Greta:
The piece combines several different techniques, each difficult to master. The key technique is reticulation, which creates the background texture on the internal silver rectangle. Learning this technique is largely a matter of trial and error, but the difficulty doesn’t end there. Soldering flat wires onto the now-uneven reticulated surface is also a challenge, as is polishing the smooth surface surrounding it.
What I like most about the piece is the composition, the play between textures and shapes. It’s really a miniature work of art, and I’m proud that my brother decided to create his first serious piece of jewelry for Greta, because it means I get to look at it whenever I want.
It’s been a long, hard road for Mark to recover from his back injury, but “recovery” is a relative term. He still can’t sit or stand in the same position for more than 30 minutes or so at a time, which means he’ll never be able to hold a regular job. He walks very slowly and laboriously, and walking more than a mile or so is out of the question. His house was nearly destroyed by a flood a year ago, and only one room in his three-room house (his bedroom) has been restored to full repair. Now he’s starting work on restoring his workshop, where he hopes to be able to produce enough jewelry to supplement the $600 a month Social Security Disability check that he scrapes by on. I think if he can produce four or five pieces like the one he gave Greta each month, he’ll end up doing just fine.
Here’s a photo of Mark I took last summer when I visited him: