Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek
These were my first vintage plastic purchase.
These little vintage catalin/Bakelite cabs are why I stopped beading and started hammering and melting.
I bought these, early last year, from a seller on eBay… The purchase was the ultimate decadence to me then. And I had plans . I was going to set the little cabs in silver bezels that I had found when experimenting with PMC3/Metal Clay…Easy enough.
When they arrived I found that vintage catalin/Bakelite is not a precisely calibrated material. Each piece was just different enough that the die formed bezels, that came with my little PMC starter kit, were of absolutely no use.
So I put them aside.
I melted my first PMC piece. Purely by accident. I was captivated by the mirror shimmy that the liquid silver danced under the flame of my little butane kitchen torch.
I had some wire, so I melted that too. I must have melted a hundred little balls on my soldering block. My husband sat with me and watched while I teased the metal into perfect little orbs and tiny kisses on the ends of wire.
A brief search of the online card catalog for our county revealed a few books on the topics of silversmithing and metalsmithing. Some of them were fairly new, most of them were long out of print and some even rare. I had my husband borrow one for me and I read. I didn’t understand a word of McCreight’s Complete Metalsmith so I found a book by Jinks McGrath that offered a nice cross-section of information- it assumed little-to-no knowledge of metalwork and tools and provided many photographs.
And then I got to work making bezels, and I haven’t stopped since….