Mediums used are sterling silver, 18k, 14k, and 12k gold fill sheet and wire in various gauges and shapes. Fine silver is used for bezel walls. Most designs incorporate cabochons from around the world with precious and semi-precious gems in natural, cabochon, or faceted form. All finishes on the sterling are hand etched.
Ideas for designs are inspired by, special stones, nature, shapes and objects seen in every day life. All designs begin with a pencil and graph paper. I sketch out the idea, photo ready the sketch, and then trace each component of the sketch onto tracing paper. I then glue the tracing paper to stock paper and cut it out to make the pattern. I then trace around the patterns onto the sheet metals to be used. I then cut, flatten, stamp, file, and dome. Each piece is fluxed and then welded together using an oxygen acetylene welding torch. Placement and number of welding in an area determine the hardness of solder to be used. After welding, each piece goes through an acid bath and rinse. It is then put in a steal shot tumbler with tumbler detergent. I then polish each piece with a polishing machine using two muslin wheels. One wheel is charged with a cutting polish the other with a rough polish for a high polish. Each piece is then washed with hot soapy water, rinsed, and dried completely.
I then set stones, hand etch various patterns into the sterling and hand sigh each piece with an etching tool.
No assistants or apprentices are used in any process.
I am self taught. When I first started Kirby Arts, a few jewelry artists have given me basic instruction on basic skills. I have also read books on the subject but primarily learn by trial and error. I continually strive to develop and increase my skill level to create new and exciting works of original wearable art
You can reach Sharon McLean at her studio in Orem, Utah at (801) 765-9162, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.