A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.
I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.
Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.
I bought this flourite cabochon a little while ago but it’s taken me a little while to come up with a way to set it. It has quite intense colour striations, especially the purple, and I was concerned it would look dark and muddy once set. So I put it to one side, got on with other things and kept it on the back burner. Luckily it didn’t fall down the back of the cooker!
I came up with the idea of putting a gap between the stone and the back of the setting, to allow light to enter the stone from behind, and figured a shiny surface would act as a mirror as well. I’d textured an oval with a leaf skeleton using the rolling mill, and soldered an oval to the rear of it for strength. Initially I added a cross of wire to the back, bent up around the oval to form claws which would be soldered to the bezel, but it looked a bit too Heath Robinson, even for me! So I took that off, and cut small lengths of 2mm sterling wire to use as upright posts. I soldered these to the base oval, squared them off and added a ring of reticulated silver to the top post before soldering the bezel (also leaf textured) on top. A few hours in the tumbler while I went out for lunch, a quick dip in liver of sulphur to oxidise it, and then the polishing begun! Once I had a finish I was happy with, I set the fluorite into the bezel and gave it a final polish, before hanging it from a black satin cord with sterling silver ends and a twist of fine wire just above the pendant to stop it from slipping.
Time to test the theory and emerge squinting from the shed… I’m delighted with it, it worked really well. I’d love to know what you guys think!
As an adopted Welsh (with some Welsh blood), I’ve been watching the Six Nations avidly, and was biting my nails last Saturday in the hope that Wales would win not only the Six Nations but the Grand Slam as well – on top of the Triple Crown. For the uninitiated, the Six Nations is an annual rugby tournament between Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. It is a BIG thing here. The Triple Crown is awarded if one of the UK home nations beats the other three – and the Grand Slam is if a team beats each of the other five. Wales have now won three Grand Slams since I moved here So with this in mind, I made these… Just £12 each, and with the option to have “Grand Slam 2012″ or anything you like engraved on the reverse, click the picture to go to our shop.
My poor Beardy has been suffering with his back somthing rotten this last week, and just when he thought it was passing it’s laid him out again today. So I stuffed him full of painkillers and let him doze in front of the rugby while I bashed this together.
It’s a crappy photo, but it was dark when I emerged squinting from the shed, so it’s the best I have for now! A triangular cabochon of amethyst is set off beautifully in textured fine silver. Time for similar, bedtime xxxx
Slate. The backbone of Wales which was laid down some 500 million years ago in the Cambrian period, taking it’s name from Cambria, the Latin name for Wales.
Apart from the fine dust, it’s lovely to work with, being relatively easy to hand cut, split, shape, drill and dress. Apart from being very dusty. Did I mention the dust?
I was cutting some squares the other day for bracelets, when I had an idea to make dominoes! I made some sterling silver balls for the dots, with silver wire dividing each domino in half. The sterling silver bails on the pendant and the earrings are all hand made by me, as are the earring hooks.
Part of our Made in Wales: Made FROM Wales range, I really like these, I hope you do too!
Sally is coming over tomorrow to try out all the new jewellery making stuff she had for her birthday, so I got some fiddly little jobs done today so that I can give her my undivided attention. I’ve accumulated some gorgeous stones in the last year, and being a bit of a magpie by nature, I love to just gaze at them and play with them. Sometimes I have a design in mind and buy the stone to fit, but more often than not I just buy what I love and let ideas come. Sometimes it’s instant: more often it’ll take a while.
Amethyst has always been a favourite of mine, but labradorite and opals vie for the top spot. So today I made mounts for a few stones, so they’re all one step closer to becoming something stunning to wear… Mostly in silver, as it sets the stones off perfectly, but I think the blue adventurine unicorn I have will contrast beatifully against copper. I also made a copper bezel mount for a gorgeous little ammonite that has flashes of rainbow opalescence running across it, the warm metal tones beatifully with the muted browns of the stone. No pictures today, but I’ll be showcasing the finished pieces here first!
Well, I don’t think I’ll be selling these for any money but as a first try with a new technique, it’s less disastrous than I thought yesterday. Now that the resin has cured completely, the colours of the peacock feathers do come through in daylight although they are muted. I think I’ll have another go with some jay feathers as the colour is due to pigment rather than reflected off the surface, rather like butterfly wings.
Ah. All the excitement of yesterday’s resin and peacock feathers has subsided. Two main reasons:
1: The resin has a different refractive index to air, so the shimmering colours of the feathers are a very dull shade of brown. Arse.
2: I followed all the instructions about putting it to cure in a warm place and thought the top of the telly would be a good idea. The resin that I had made into lovely blobs on a sheet of carbon fibre ready to carve cabochons sort of dripped off the edge and dribbled down the screen and onto the carpet. Double arse.
And there’s dust in it. Triple arse.
So that didn’t go very well at all. Never mind. I nearly finished making something very funky today, and if the silver arrives tomorrow for the last bit of fabrication, I shall show you then.
And that's what I think about that.
Been feeling rather experimental today, I have had an idea buzzing around in my mind for a little while now! I got a pack of crystal resin last time I was visiting my mum, but have not got round to playing with it yet. The idea is to encapsulate feathers, cogs etc in the resin to make something unique and hopefully quite intetesting! I made a couple of mock-ups in brass to try it out, before committing to silver! So when Sal comes over tomorrow, we’ll get playing! So hopefully there’ll be something interesting to show you in the next couple of days…
Not done any blogging for ages, what with Beardy being unwell, and all. I’ve kind of got out of the habit. He’s a lot better now, although there’s still a way to go before anything is back to normal. Whatever that is! Not sure we’d recognise it though…
With Valentine’s day now being rammed down our throats by every shop in the land, I thought I’d make my contribution.
I had enormous fun making this heart! I blasted some silver with the blow torch on a firebrick and when it was all melty, I teased it into a heart shape and quenched it. By repeatedly heating it to just under the melting point and cooling, you achieve this fabulous textured effect called reticulation. I’ve been trying it with copper as well. When I had a shape I was happy with, I carved away the sharp edges and soldered a loop onto the back for the silk cord. The engraving (below) was done with my lovely new Dremel kit – my Christmas present from Beardy and my mum. Cariad is the Welsh word for love, so it seemed like a good place to write it. My son wants it for his girlfriend’s Valentine’s present. But as they are eight, I politely suggested that he gets stuffed and made him a pretty little copper ring with a heart on it instead.
These are for sale in my Etsy shop, the bangle here and the pendant here.
Stop press: The pendant is now sold, but if you’d like something similar, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can.