12 piece(s) in the gallery
The glass that Melanie uses to create her jewelry is a soda lime glass from Portland, Oregon. It comes in large sheets, cut into desired sizes during the design and fabrication process. Most of the jewelry consists of 2-6 layers of glass cut from one or more different Porland sheets. Melanie's pieces have metal inclusions of either fine silver, bronze or copper. The metal is applied within the layers of glass. The glass itself is colored with different metal oxides. When the glass and the metal are heated together, different reactions occur, creating many new colors. After the cutting and layering are completed, the pieces are loaded into a kiln. The glass will then begin its journey up to around 1,465 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the layers will fully fuse. Then the glass is brought through a lenghty cool down (annealing) cycle. This process begins at 960 degrees and ends when the glass is at room temperature. This cool down period can take up to 13 hours for some of the thicker pieces. This process is essential: the stress being held within the glass, due to expansion and contraction, exits during this period of time.
Water-cooled diamond drill bits are then used to make holes in the glass form for the metal hardware of the jewelry. To fire polish the holes, the glass forms are put back into the kiln for a second firing at 1,300 degrees, followed by another annealing cycle.
The finishing of each piece of jewelry begins with hand-sanding the back to satin texture. Then all of the hardware is fabricated and applied. The hardware is either fine silver or sterling silver. Melanie does all of the silverwork herself, whether she is soldering a bezel or twisting wire for her coils. On the pieces that are nested in a silver bezel, she has to do a lot of hand grinding on the glass to give each piece the desired shape and dimensions. Diamond lapidary disks are used to take each piece from a rough grind to a high polish.
Melanie's initials are engraved onto the back of every piece of jewelry that she produces. The process that is involved with each piece is quite extensive, but Melanie is dedicated to creating unique and beautiful jewelry.
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