I’ve been sent to the back of the class.
Yes, it’s jewellery again. Must try harder. Must conquer fear of fire and soldering. Last week Khun Chaiwat told me that my next piece of jewellery had to include lots of soldering. Oh joy; (I’d been planning to design something that needed no soldering in an attempt to avoid it. Always best to avoid all awkward things whilst maintaining British stiff upper lip.) No, alright, that’s not the answer: must conquer fears.
The truth is it’s not the jewellery; it could be crème brûlée. (Damn it, why isn’t it crème brûlée?)
So here’s the problem: in my right hand is a raging fire. I mean raging; as though flames aren’t scary enough, then we send gas rushing through to make it really aggressive. The solder sits on top of the join – or next to it – but it’s microscopic. Alright, it’s not microscopic but it might as well be; it’s tiny. And if I cut it bigger, then it makes a mess all over the copper or brass that I’m working on and then there’s more filing to do... I have to point the flame at the right part of the metal but not for so long that my piece of jewellery starts to melt… And if one side gets hotter than the other, then I’m in trouble and the solder spews all over one side of the piece, and not down the crack at all. In my left hand is a titanium stick that I can use when the solder falls off the join. Which it does because there’s that raging flame blowing a kind of Hell-like gale towards a tiny piece of silver solder… When the solder falls off the join you have to let it melt and then scoop it up on the end of the titanium stick and push it back on the bit you’re trying to solder. Simple.
Except my hands don’t seem to work together properly. It’s just like learning to drive… It should be straightforward; it’s only my hands I’m asking to cooperate with each other. Like eating, yes? I manage that all right. NOOOOO, actually I don’t manage that very well. I have a familial reputation for dropping stuff down my front. (That’s all invitations for social engagements retracted…)
I’ve thought and thought about what my problem is. Years ago, I found an old school report from my piano teacher. It said ‘Jenny seems to have problems sending messages from her brain to her fingers.’
These cufflinks are my latest piece: