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Mother's Day memories in jewelry

Collaborate with your children to create a memory that will last a lifetime
Mothers Day Memories
Mothers Day memories 1
We tried using a Sharpie paint pen as a resist, working on brass and copper. The results were mixed, but hey, it was fun to experiment!
Mothers Day memories 7
The metal, ready to go into the etchant. That's Pikachu's little face looking at us, and an owl on a tree branch, a superhero mask and some other things that were meaningful to us as mother and son. 

It seems a little funny to be talking about making yourself a present for Mother's Day, but for me, preserving the memories that I've made with my child is more important than flowers that will fade. And spending time together working on a project is a reward in and of itself.  

A love for making art is something that my son and I have always shared. His artistic skill was apparent from his earliest days of being able to hold a pencil. I can't even draw a stick figure, but loved to try almost any art technique or craft project that came my way.

We messed with plaster of paris and tissue paper and clothespins and always had a wonderful time doing it. Those are some of my happiest memories of his childhood, and I have boxes of preschool, grade school and high school art projects to show for it!

My "child" is a grown man now, and a very talented artist. When I asked him to sit at the kitchen table with me last weekend and collaborate on this project, he asked if I wanted him to duplicate things that we made when he was a child. It was so funny to me to watch him try to draw the way he did when he was nine, and we created another memory right there, laughing together about donuts and Pokemon. 

I was doing some experiments with etching, testing some different resists and a new etchant, so I had him draw directly on the metal after working out a few skethces. My etch didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped, but we had a really good time making some not-great pieces! 

Even though the results were mixed, the process sparked a dozen new ideas as we sat down to create together for the first time in years. We now plan to collaborate on more designs: he will draw images, and I will recreate them either in metal via etching, or in enamel. I'm excited about things to come, and it made me want to encourage all jewelry makers out there to use your "child's" art as inspiration in your jewelry making. 

Now, I know that not everyone is going to pull out the some ferric chloride and mess with etching chemicals. But there are lots of other techniques that you can try.

A great (and much easier!) way to preserve your child's art, or perhaps a favorite photo, is to use resin. Resin is quite popular today and you can buy the supplies at chain stores like Michael's, Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. Choose an image that you treasure, and make a copy of it. Scan it, or even take a cell phone picture of it -- you don't want to risk anything happening to your precious original! Use basic photo editing software to make the image jewelry-sized, and then print it out and create your jewelry around it. It could be a pendant, a charm for a bracelet, an ornament or fridge magnet -- there are so many options. 

Reversible Resin Pendant

Need help getting started? Search under the Clays & Resin tab here on Facet for projects with great instructions. From resin expert Susan Lenart Kazmer we have this reversible pendant project that shows how to use an open-backed bezel. I love the idea of a two-sided piece: if you have more than one child, you can use more than one image! Or perhaps use a photo of yourself and your child on one side, and a piece of their art on the other.  

No Fuss Enamels

Another project on Facet that I'm thinking about adapting is Pam East and Jane Levy's No Fuss Enamels.  For the portion of the project where you use painting enamel on steel, how great would it be to recreate your toddler's fingerpainting projects in glass? An older child could even participate in the painting process -- just maybe not the kiln part! 

This is another way in which my son and I plan to collaborate. He's never been especially keen to lean enameling — my very favorite technique — but he didn't know about paint enamels until recently...

I hope all of the mothers out there get to make beautiful things on their special day! Whether your child is a toddler or a college graduate, try and find time to sit down with them this Mother's Day and collaborate.  Do the same with your own mother or grandmother! We all have stories and images to share -- if you don't want to break out the art supplies, maybe spend time looking at family photos that would translate well to a jewelry project! Work together on ideas, teach a new technique, and have a wonderful day making new memories with your family.  

FIND MORE: metal , metal clay , mixed-media

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