The cooling rack has actually been indispensible. I use it to prop up the cookie sheet, and I'd hook earrings on the overhanging part of the cooling rack. So much for using the cooling rack for its intended purpose. Oh well...not like I'm going to be baking cookies any time soon. It's so incredibly hot these days!
Still, the cookie sheet alone is not going to be enough to bridge the gap between the black leather and stark white backgrounds. I wanted a neutral-colored surface like wood. I have a mahogany-colored bench (courtesy of Target), but the surface is too narrow for jewelry photography. Oddly enough, Ikea solved my problem, and not in the way you'd expect.
When I went to Ikea about a month ago, the end of season clearance was on. Lots of things were marked down to a ridiculously low price. I hit the cookware section, hoping to find some interesting (and cheap) thingamabob to serve as a photography surface. Didn't find anything. In fact, I didn't find anything of interest until I was about to leave. I noticed some colorful plastic plant pots for sale for 25 cents each, and they were of a pretty good size. Once I saw them, I thought they'd be good storage receptacles for knicknacks, so I got 3 of them (2 blue and one green). Recently I started using them in a different way than I've earmarked--they work very well as small waste buckets. I'd use one to catch snippets of wire as I'm making jewelry.
Then, as usual, my last stop was the as-is department. They sell the craziest things sometimes, ranging from floor boards to sofa covers to drawer fronts. I wasn't surprised that drawer fronts and sofa covers weren't flying off the shelves; after all, unless you have the exact same model of the sofa or storage units AND you were in need of a cover or a drawer front (what are the odds of that?), they're practically useless.
Or are they?
The big hunk of a drawer front was exactly what I needed--it was small enough that I can carry it around and big enough for me to put large necklaces on. I could even use the piece of wood as a work surface if I wanted to. The best part is that I was only out $2.
It really is the perfect surface to bridge the gap between black and white. The color is neutral, and the surface reflects light the way my black portfolio pictures do--just the cohesion I needed.
Imagination saves us money. Who would have thunk that? It does pay to be a dreamer sometimes.