A few months ago Patrick and I had the pleasure of being introduced to Shana Lee – a local jeweler based in Red Hook, NY, with a studio store on Warren Street in Hudson. We spent a Saturday afternoon browsing around her store, and just fell in love with her work. When it came time to think about picking up our wedding rings, we looked at a lot of options, although we decided to ask Shana to make our rings.
Our marriage means a great deal to us both personally – and politically – and all throughout the process we have been doing our best to support our community as much as possible through our own wedding process. Shana is not gay, although both she and her husband are huge supporters of our community. In fact, in addition to both of them being artists, Shana’s husband is also the owner of Jason’s Upstairs Bar, the host site for many of Trixie’s great gay parties up in Hudson.
Here’s a little photo summary of how the rings were created; we knew it would be great to have them handmade, but we never realized the amount of time and care that goes into the production of two small pieces of art!
Shana herself; working away in her studio. When we got there, she greeted us with open arms – and cocktails made from freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice. Normally she would have sparkling wine available, although with such a small time frame to finish our rings, she was a bit rushed. None the less, we then followed her to her studio where cheese and crackers, and the fitting of our rings awaited.
Of course, Patrick’s ring was not large enough, and mine was too snug. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) Unfortunately, not enough so to simply swap rings, so we got to watch Shana go to work to adjust them.
First, she cut a segment out of Patrick’s ring to bring it to the correct size, and then she closed the seam with a mixture of crazy metal alloys, fired it with a blow torch to work that melted metals magic, and then soaked the ring in acid to dissolve the remaining particles that were a combination of metal and a substance similar to melted glass.
While the acid ate away at the compounds on Patrick’s ring, she went to work on my ring. A much easier job, mine was made larger simply by pounding away at with a hammer. After about an hour of working at both of the rings, and a good polishing to bring them back to their original luster, they were complete.
Tucked into little white boxes, you would have never guessed that an hour earlier they covered with melted compounds, fired, and beaten with large hammer. Talk about love in more ways than one; these rings not only represented the love and commitment between Patrick and I, but they also represented an enormous amount of time, effort, sweat – and love for one’s craft- that was required to transform these hunks of gold and platinum into something special; our wedding rings.