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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back from Vacation

When even my wife goes on my blog and starts complaining that I haven't written anything in too long, I know that I'm way overdue.
We did go and spend some time getting refreshed in my favorite place in the whole world, Big Sur California. We went back to our favorite inn which you can check out here: . Those of you who have been reading all along will remember that we had an incredibly memorable experience there two years ago with the wonderful (regrettably) temporary chef Phillippe. Unfortunately Phillippe seems to have moved on and we were unable to see him again (anywhere), much to our dismay. However Ventana's restaurant is now up and running after their fire and they are doing a much better job in general with food than they used to. And the views from both the restaurant and the inn are still unbelievable. This picture is of us standing at the front of the patio of the Ventana restaurant and you can see the mountains that make Big Sur so memorable. If you could see a few feet to the right of us you would be able to see the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Big Sur is so far out in the middle of nowhere that the night time sky is amazing. The first night there we saw shooting stars (many of you know how I fell about comets and things moving through space) and the sheer number of stars visible is overwhelming for a city boy like me. With the aid of a pair of binoculars it is astounding how much you can see.

We took a hike through some mountains in the Michele Pfeiffer State Park to see the Pfeiffer Falls (above) while we were there and then decided we should try to walk to the ocean through the Andrew Molera State Park. Unfortunately when we got there we were informed that we were going to have to ford the Big Sur River since they took all the bridges down in the winter. We didn't exactly come prepared for any river fording so we had to abandon that particular adventure!

So this is, in part why I have been so reticent in my writings recently. Between the end of the year inventorying, preparing to go on vacation, actually going on vacation, and then taking care of the large pile of work when I returned I have been fairly busy.

However one piece I made for a gentleman this past month was quite interesting. He had a jade carving that he had gotten in China that was very important to him. The rope like material it had come on originally had finally broken and he was desperate to wear it again. He wanted something that was consistent with the piece. I thought it would be nice if we could do an Asian style chain of some sort as that might fit the bill. In doing my research however the only type of chain that was distinctly Asian was a baht chain. Baht chains are made in Thailand and are often used in lieu of money. They are made up in 1/2, 1, 1.5 and 2 ounce weights and they are usually made of 23 1/4 kt. gold. I used to have a source for them but the problem with them was that they were always hollow. Hollow chains are problematic because the links get dented easily (especially in high karat golds). Actually I take issue with any hollow jewelry because of the damage problems. My source wasn't regularly stocking them anymore anyway and there was a timing issue as the gentleman is out of the country most of the year. So I offered to make him a solid version of the baht chain. This was an interesting project for me as I had never made a baht chain and I always relish a challenge. Additionally because of the significance of certain numbers to the Chinese, I needed to work these into the design of the chain. Eight is apparently a very important number to them, so I made the chain up with sets of eight round links alternating with eight square links (both styles are used in traditional Baht chains). I also built a new bail for the jade. This was all done in my own 22k gold mix and I poured all of my own gold just as I did in the chain in the last postings. The picture below is of the finished piece.

I still have plans to write about opals in the near future but I am also looking for new topic ideas. Please let me know if there is something you'd like to know about. Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching. Men readers take note. Ladies, remind your men that there is nothing more romantic than getting something special to remind you of how much they still love you or show your love for them by getting them one of my amazing William Henry Knives---one is pictured below!

There has been a lot of snow but I have actually never closed due to a snow storm and have no plans to. So if you're in my neighborhood in the middle of (yet another) snow storm come on in and visit! It's actually a great time to get my strictly undivided attention as usually no one else is ever there! Parking is a mess in Cambridge these days however, so you might want to think about taking the T at least part way in.

1 comment:

  1. That Baht chain is awesome! And the new WH knife is sooo cool, that gold inlay is beautiful!!