I looked up the word pickle and found all sorts of connotations that I hadn’t considered. The first definition usually appears as food or something you do to food as in pickled okra. Then there are all manner of situations that cause one to be “in a pickle”; yet, none of those fit this situation. Let’s get to the beginning of the pickle I’m talking about.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, when learning something new, I try to practice it every day. This goes back to learning and then teaching piano and realizing how skills develop over time. I’m continuing to do daily practice on making sterling silver bezels. While some days I think I’ve really mastered it, the next day is often a disaster and puts me back in my unskilled place.
Lately, I’ve completed a bevy of bezels, most of which are already gone; but a few are shown here.
The copper backed bezels remain the most difficult due to the variation in temperature needed for copper versus silver.
Now, about that pickle. After spending considerable time one afternoon working on copper backed bezels, I took off my apron and noticed big holes in my shorts. I didn’t recall any sparks flying from the torch or any pain in the area of the holes. This did, however, remind me of the time I went fishing with my dad and his pocket caught on fire. He was dancing around pretty well when he figured out that his tobacco pipe, which he stuck in his pocket, was not completely extinguished. I think we later threw away those trousers. I guess I was luckier than him since I didn’t have to do any dancing around.
It wasn’t until a day later that I figured out what happened to my now-holy shorts. The pickle must have eaten them. I remember seeing drops of pickle fall on the shorts during several trips of the copper back and forth to and from torch block to pickle. (For those of you who aren’t metal workers, pickle is a solution used as“a treatment of metallic surfaces in order to remove impurities, stains, rust or scale (Wiklopedia).” I think I either mixed my pickle a bit too strong or I need a longer, tougher apron.
This morning as I was making the daily bezel, I felt something easing down my leg. After the shorts versus pickle incident, I’ve become more aware of what gets on me while I’m using the torch. The bezel had just reached the right temperature for the solder to begin to flow and I didn’t want to have to start over by stopping to see what was after my leg. So, I decided that I would not jerk or yell when the “something” bit me and I WOULD finish that bezel. Luckily, when I finally completed the bezel and extinguished the torch I learned it was just my untied apron string that was crawling down my leg. I think I lucked out on that one.
I can’t wait to see what “get’s after” me during the next bezel practice. I never anticipated so many extraneous happenings would occur while designing jewelry.
Pickle . . . we all either eat them or get in them from time to time, but I never imagined that one would eat my pants!