Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bali and Filigree

Although I didn't have enough time in Bali to really get connected with the local jewelry makers (and my focus for the trip was the performance arts), I did get to visit some jewelry workshops. I have been using the techniques of filigree and chasing repousse in my work quite a lot in the last couple of years, techniques that can be found in places such as Bali, where the amount of tools and equipment available are minimal. In fact, the woman shown below has just one pair of pliers to work with to create the filigree for the earrings she is working on.
A closeup of the earring. She had a number of finished ones in the drawer below her bench.I recycle gold scraps in my studio as it is more economical to make new wire with the scraps than to send it in to be refined and get fresh wire in its place. However, in Bali, they go through the trouble of making their own silver wire. Almost nobody does that in the US as it is too much trouble with silver. It tends to crack as you are reducing the size of the ingot through rolling. Here is an image of a brick that has been carved to serve as a mold for the molten metal to be poured into.A torch in Bali. I am not clear about which fuel they were using in it, combined with a foot bellows to add air to the mixture.
The point of this post being, there can be some fantastic jewelry made without the benefit of elaborate tools. Here is a tray full of some earrings that one of the jewelers was working on.Here he is at the bench.

No comments: