This piece was created as an entry to the 2017 MJSA Awards. It was entered into the Responsible Practices division.
Below is a copy of my artist's statement plus details abut the ring:
Stone: Fire Obsidian
Metal: Sterling silver and 14k yellow gold
ARTIST STATEMENT:This ring is made 100% with scrap material from my own bench.
I wasted as little energy as possible altering each scrap. I used the entire scrap snake and curb chain segments without trimming (Even the clasp is buried in the ring, I used an old blemished leaf shape casting and twig, in their entirety without filing or removing any metal. I re-purposed four 14k yellow gold triple-triangle castings, which are part of a design I sell regularly (One might recognize it as the triforce inlay from my triforce rings), but which yields this odd sized leftover from each one. And lastly, hidden in the ring is a small 18k yellow gold heart, also a left over scrap piece from a long ago project (An extra heart cast for me Zelda rustic heart container ring).The metals in the chains, castings, and silver scrap were already purchased from responsible US vendors, such as Rio Grande and Stuller who use recycled metal. This piece, rather than using additional energy to refine the metal once more, back into sheet and wire, I simple reused each piece, again. No new metal was used aside from solder.
To reduce the amount of flux and fuel used to create the piece, I carefully tack welded everything in place, and then applied solder to strengthen it all at once, performing the entire soldering step in one go. This also meant less time in the pickle pot, and less time cleaning, so less electricity was used to craft the piece.
The stone used is Fire Obsidian, which was purchased directly from the miner, Emory Coons, who mines, cuts, polishes and sells all his own obsidian cabs, which are soured in Oregon, USA. Purchasing the stone from him directly supports him. It does not get much more fair trade than that. The stone exhibits a fiery luster that is seen at certain angles.
In the end, it is hard to quantify the piece in terms of savings, but as I made it, I kept asking myself, is there a more efficient way to do it, where I don't compromise on the design in any way, but don't use any tool, machine or even burn my own calories, any more than I have to. In the end, I think I would be hard pressed to do much better. Cheers,Austin