One of my favorite things to do during our summers in Maine is shop at the Wednesday antiques market at Montsweag Flea Market, a mere five miles from our house. Some folks come hundreds of miles to browse, buy, and chat.
It's a weekly trip to a folk art museum where everything is old, whether vintage (1940-50s) or antique (1900s and before) and where treasures abound: wooden-handled tools perfect for my jewelry making, keys, buttons, watches, decorative brass hardware and of course, furniture. I bought a lovely old oak hutch for $125 delivered by the 82-year-old vendor and carried up to the second floor by him and my husband. It now graces my studio and holds my jewelry displays.
One of the things I especially like finding at the market is old military pins and buttons. I have amassed a small collection and enjoy researching where they originated.
Semper Fi is a piece I made this summer with two very old brass Marine Corps buttons.
I've polished them up and, as it always seems like I am problem solving, I had to figure how to attach them to the pendant backplate. These are the kind of buttons with slots thru their backs so I used bronze wire that just barely fit thru the slots (didn't want them rattling and moving around in place) and affixed them to the top plate (more later about that) and then had to make a second plate to attach to the first one because I didn't want those nasty old wires showing and catching on things. These I riveted together with microscrews BUT I had to use spacers in between because the two plates would not fit firmly together thanks to the bulk of he wire. Try sliding spacers into this narrow space and catching with the screw coming thru. Not easy!
My bronze top plate is textured with my beloved divots and has a lovely subtle checkerboard pattern I achieved through special torching techniques I learned from Mary Hettsmanberger at Arrowmont School in Gatlinberg, TN last October. Another custom bail and a lovely brass chain and this is a perfect gift for some proud lady with a vet in the family.