The Metal Arts Society of Southern California invited its membership to enter into a jewelry challenge as an avenue to participate and push themselves. Each of the participants received identical kits with materials which in the end would be bent, hammered, stretched, soldered, riveted and morphed into the finished pieces. They were given a timeline of 6 weeks to complete and return the finished piece. Photos were taken of everybody’s pieces and a luncheon was held for the members to vote on their three favorite pieces. The event was very successful and I’m proud to say that my entry received honorable mention. :) I take a lot of in progress photos so I’d like to show you how I went about creating my locket.


Kit contents: 

2” x 2” 18g sterling silver sheet; 6 copper washers, 3” x 4” 18ga copper sheet, 4” x 4” stainless steel mesh, (6) 5mm pearls, 36” of 20 gauge sterling silver round wire, 36” of 18g copper square wire, 1” sterling silver tube (3mm inside diameter), 10 brass finishing nails.

I decided to use this challenge to explore a theme I’m growing enamored with. I found this doorknob at an architectural salvage emporium in New York a few years back. I cut the knob open and extracted the front decorative component that I needed for my locket. I love doors and windows and thought it clever to have my doorknob locket’s opening be a door. 

The inspiration for this piece came from an earlier piece I made (a magnet, in fact) for my mother. It’s kind of crude but depicts a wall in the hallway of my mothers house that you can see the lattice of the walls because the plaster had cracked and fallen away. I always thought there was a beauty to it.

I laid out my design and sawed out the shape, the doorway, the doorjamb, baseboards, door, etc.   

I soldered in place the border, the doorway, the doorjamb, baseboards and inlaid the floor into my decorative plate. I attended a chasing and repoussé workshop from MASSC a few years back so I felt pretty confident chasing the texture into my piece; the detail of the door, the plaster which has cracked and fallen away exposing the wooden lattice behind the walls, and the splintery wooden baseboards of my floor, are all executed using chasing. 

The door was sweat soldered together so it would be nice and thick. It swings open and closed using a peg mechanism (inspired by a swinging restaurant door). I added a little itty bitty doorknob to my door using two brass finishing nail heads.

Setting the door was a bit of a challenge, but turned out surprisingly successful.  

I cut out a little keyhole escutcheon plate and cold-connected it to the front of my knob –complete with a miniature keyhole cover (to keep out those peepin’ toms!) –a sweet finishing touch along with the itty bitty keys fabricated from 20g silver round wire dangling from the bottom. 

I soldered the locket together and hung it from a forged copper wire neck ring.  

All the quiet moments of this piece are not sweet and precious however. The secret interior of the doorknob locket is very dark by way of a concentrated liver of sulphur patina, with a macabre twist –several deep claw marks gouged on the back of the interior door that gleam through the patina in bright shining silver.

All in all I’m quite pleased with the result of this challenge and can’t wait to start my next doorknob-related project!


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