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A Sad, Sad Tale

About this design:

STOP five minutes before you are done! I should have followed that piece of advice with this necklace.

I had this piece finished to the point that you see in the pictures. Then I made a fatal error. I wanted to add one more little piece of turquoise or slightly rearrange the beads on the drop. I wasn't sure which.

I removed the drop so I could make one more hole along the bottom curve between the fold and the hole for the drop. Careless placement of the tool too close to the edge..... instead of a hole there was a tiny bite in the edge! I tried cutting along the edge to see if I could slightly trim it and still make it work. It didn't work. I tried reshaping the edge but that didn't work either. The shape was ruined, the balance was off and there was no way I could salvage it. I should have remembered the advice of the teacher in my first painting class in college. Question "How do you know when the painting is finished?" STOP 5 minutes before you are done! I didn't. I should have put the necklace in the closet for a week then re-evaluated it. I didn't do that either. Now the unusual folded piece of ruined sheet copper resides with the scraps and rejects waiting to be recycled.


26ga sheet copper, 13X4 reconstructed/reconstituted turquoise rectangular tubes, antiqued copper chain and copper beads, head pens, jump rings

Additional Images:

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Fresh Baked
    Fresh Baked says:

    Oh, what stories our scrap piles would tell if they could talk! They’d be full of good lessons learned, right? Or relearned. Thank you for sharing your successes and oopses. We can all learn.

  2. Robin nursechick
    Robin nursechick says:

    Congrats on your POD! I’ve looked at your piece up close and I don’t see what you’re talking about. I think it looks awesome- I love the folding-do you use a tool to do that or your hands? I like the addition of the 2 other shaped beads-very cool effect. Do you do anything special to keep your copper from tarnishing? Beautiful job LRC!

  3. Beauty Sought Khristin
    Beauty Sought Khristin says:

    Oh man I’ve so been there! I really enjoy the abstract artistry that you are doing with copper sheet though. This necklace was pretty! I am grateful for my scrap pile. There’s been times it’s supplied me with bits that I needed and there’s also times when I pulled something out and did a design with that I didn’t think of before. If nothing else I use them to experiment on. Maybe after some time you’ll pull it out and breathe life back into it and make something different than you had originally intended and it’ll be beautiful.

  4. Little Round Chick
    Little Round Chick says:

    When I wrote my “Sad Story” I figured almost anyone who works with jewelry has a tale of woe. As a retired teacher I know how to give advice….As a wild haired artist I don’t always listen to advice even my own. My excuse is I was left unsupervised as a child. :)

    Robin, when I was fiddling around with the folds on this piece I decided I wanted them to be very sharp rather than softly rounded. I got the sharp folds with a tool. I have some oversize pliers I use when I work with heavy wire and the flat nose pair worked really well to make the folds crisp. This is not the way the demo on fold forming was done. But it made a very interesting design element that I like. Next time I do this style of folding I’ll take photos as I go along so you can see how I did it. I don’t do anything special to prevent tarnishing. However, I do use 4/0 steel wool to polish any surfaces I want to shine. They’ll tarnish again and I’ll polish again.

  5. Stingray
    Stingray says:

    This was really beautiful. I love the pleats on the curve. This looks like something a pair of flat-jaw welding pliers would work nicely for, are those the pliers you were talking about?
    I guess I’m a little backwards, when I make a mistake it’s usually 5 minutes into the piece(common occurrence)or something like dropping it when it’s done after working on it for hours and chipping the cab(less common,but still ouch).

  6. Little Round Chick
    Little Round Chick says:

    Stingray, thanks for the compliments and comments.
    I’m not sure what flat-jaw welding pliers are. The oversize pliers I have are made by Bead Smith and are made for jewelry work. I have no problem using any kind of tool for jewelry work no mater what it was originally made for. If it can be used to make jewelry I’m all for it.

  7. Crystal Canary
    Crystal Canary says:

    I’ve never heard that advice before, but I can see were it would be invaluable! It is always at the end, when we are finished, that we feel the need to redo something as we take that last look once the piece is complete. We truly do need to resist the urge and set it aside, at least until the next day. I’ve completely ruined a few, and even right now, one is in ‘time-out’ until I calm down after a fatal mistake that ruined it beyond help. One day, you will find inspiration to recreate that banished piece.

  8. No Photo
    Beady Little Eyes says:

    LRC – What a shame. I hate it when I do things like that. It was a lovely piece. I really enjoy all the folds you’ve been doing. An awesome piece.

  9. Little Round Chick
    Little Round Chick says:

    BLE, Thanks for the nice comments. I was so angry with myself for making such a lame brain mistake. I may just make a printout of it and hang the picture where I can see it every time I’m working on a piece of jewelry. I’ll put a big sign with it to remind me to stop 5 minutes before I think I’m done or if in doubt put it in the closet for a week then re-evaluate the piece.

  10. dolllady aka Pam
    dolllady aka Pam says:

    This is gorgeous even though it is a second rendition. I like your idea of the picture reminding yourself to stop before you think you are finished.

  11. EPBCornell
    EPBCornell says:

    Oh, LRC! I think any of us that have been creating arty things for any length of time has done this, if working in materials that overwork or have aspects that can’t be undone. I still haven’t learned. Yes, this was already beautifully balanced and the drops pleasingly distributed. But I can see the temptation at the time, in the middle of doing things to it, to put another hole between the folds with the bunch of drops. Even if the hole punched clear of the edge, it would not have been as good as this, I think. Sigh. My 7th grade teacher once had good advice that also would have been applicable: “Don’t just do something; stand there!” We’re just so busy trying to tinker and make changes and we need to stop and just look. It can be perfectly right to do nothing at all or decide you want to be still and think about it a while before you do anything. I feel for your loss and admire/envy your metal folding skills. At least you can reuse the drops and have the picture of the piece you had made to recreate it if you wanted to, and remember it otherwise. It was quite splendid. I particularly loved how the sort of industrial/architectural ridges in the copper then had organic spacing that just kept it interesting but wasn’t too edgy or unsettling. The spacing of the drops likewise balanced but not boring. It’s ok. I suppose if it haunts you enough, make a new one. It’s just never as fun as inventing as you go and discovering how it turns out, is it?

  12. kye
    kye says:

    Well darn. I do the same thing. I keep thinking of new things I could try. Sometimes it is smart to just walk away. But there’s a fine line there. Hard to walk away when ideas are flowing. So glad you have a photo that we can all enjoy and admire.

  13. Little Round Chick
    Little Round Chick says:

    Looks like we have all been in this same situation at one time or another and I’m sure we will be again. Thanks for the “Tea and Sympathy.” :)

  14. No Photo
    Melody F says:

    Oh, and it was so cool! I suppose there is no chance of duplivating those folds. Alas.

  15. Little Round Chick
    Little Round Chick says:

    It was a cool design and I should have left it alone but I didn’t. I can duplicate the folds but the spacing and the overall shape of the piece is a whole different problem. The copper piece was a scrap so getting the curves on top and bottom will be tricky. It is too hot to think about trying to do another similar to this one.

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