Friday, May 28, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the Artlover: Touching a Ruby by Scott Schreiber, Two Claws Jewelry

Bed Time Stories is a regular feature on my blog. I  select and publish exceptional pieces of art with interesting stories that tie each piece into a strong context  with society, history, people and provide insight into the inner workings of the artist's mind. I hope that it will provide an understanding of art in a plain language, that is so sadly missing from many collections and publications. If you got one that you would like to share, please send me a message!

This is an old one. It's got stuck in my mind for the past two years or so, and today I understood why (sorry Scott, it took so long, I am also over that innocent age) :  We are pushing the button ( or more correctly keep pushing it even if that does not make sense), touching the button, even looking at the button, but do we see it? Do we care what we are missing while we want our instant coffee with instant love?


Touching a Ruby, originally uploaded by Two Claws Jewelry.
© Two Claws Jewelry All rights reserved. 

    In case you were wondering, this one surely passes for puclic art, provoactive art or guerilla art and a good one at that IMHO, even if it is not the spit-in-your-face kind. So here it goes:

  "This Crossing button is right outside my house. I made a custom-fit brass bezel to fit over the original one and set a cabochon Madagascar Ruby in it. It gives me pleasure every time I see little kids trying, without success, to get their moms to look at the pretty red button.  It just tickles me that people don't know they're banging away at a genuine ruby! I get a lot of foot traffic at this corner and believe me, adults just don't even glance at it....teen girls, sometimes....but many little kids (it's at eye-level for them) really scrutinize it. It always has amused me that people of all ages don't push these buttons just once....(which is all you have to do) They'll push it as many times as they can 10, 30, 50 times, until the walk sign changes.

     As far as the fitting goes....I took the measurement of the existing button and turned the cap/bezel exactly so that it was just shy of an extremely close fit. I also turned the seat for the ruby and tightened it by spinning it and pressing a vaseline covered burnisher against the edge of the bezel. Then I heated it up to just under red heat, ran out to the corner like a crazy man (at 3 AM....) and shoved it on with my fingers protected with welding gloves. It worked great and stuck fast. Then I had to rub it out with a little tripoli cloth to remove a little heat scale. The original button spun around freely, so this means that torque will be ineffective if someone wants it.....they'll have to pry it off. If that's the case...they're welcome to it."

Scott Schreiber is a great jewelry artist, a top notch goldsmith, a cat-fan with an encyclopedic knowledge about jewelry making, odd tools and insects. Please visit his Flickr album to feast your eyes! 


  1. Thank you for sharing this piece, I had not seen it before and it's WONDERFUL!

  2. The secret life of an artist. What a creative idea...such it!

    So this is what you might be doing in your spare time, or at 3am in the morning! :)

    Thanks to Scott and Pal for putting this out to us.

  3. Love the post and absolutely love what Scott did!! Now ideas are brewing. ;)

  4. Geeez, Pal...what have you done here? I'm touched! You've managed to push my 'gratitude button'! I've never had any of my work 'blogged' before...and if any of it ever is again...I'm sure it will not be done so lovingly. Thank you, my're a wonderful man and a talented and true craftsman.

  5. hehe! Vic and I have talked about going and finding this magic button ... it is a genius work, in soooooo many ways! nice to post about it Pal!!!

  6. When I visit that corner of the world again, I will find that button !