So here I am, waiting for my flight home in the San Francisco airport. I don't like travelling days at the best of times. They are the only days that it seems like time stands still anymore. But it's been a great weekend in this beautiful city, and I'm glad I put on my big girl panties and came down here to learn something new.
I signed up for Chasing & Repousse (I know it has an accent on the "e," but I honestly I don't know how to do that with the keyboard) at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts after my class with another master, Valentin Yotkov, was cancelled at home. It is the time honoured art of creating three-dimensional relief in a piece of metal. For me, I wanted to learn the technique to add even more visual interest and dimension to the cuffs that I do.
With the class set to start bright and early Saturday morning, I flew in Friday afternoon to allow myself a few hours to get in a bit of shopping, then pizza and wine in bed at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. A corner room with two windows and a view of the bay, a bed without snoring pugs.
Saturday morning found me with 15 other students in the well-equipped studio being introduced to Davide Bigazzi, an Italian master of chasing who began his apprenticeship at age 14. The samples of his work that he brought in were completely stunning. We were all given the same image to work on, and in no time the room was filled with tapping hammers. Except for our lunch breaks, the hammering was almost continuous for the two days. It felt like we were elves in Santa's workshop, bent over our benches with intense concentration to make the master happy.
In the end, my finished piece is a fair replica of the original. I can certainly see all the mistakes. But despite the aching in my hand from hammering, I am addicted. Learning C&R has reinforced my committed love of metalworking. It is fascinating to watch the metal flow as one manipulates it with the tools and just the right hammer blow. It may be sometime before you see any chased pieces from Slate Jewelry for sale, I've still got a lot to learn.
So thank you Davide and Sam for all your patient help. And thank you San Francisco for continuing to be such a welcoming city. And thank you for asking me for ID when buying some wine (Twice! In different stores!!)