Had a lovely day with Sally today. She turned up with a trolley full of her new toys and a box of cake. Game on.
We’d done some metal bashing in the kitchen before the shed landed, but that’s nearly a year ago now. I’ve been doing it pretty much on a daily basis, but Sal has been concentrating on her beadwork since then. So we went back to square one and decided to make copper rings. Stones chosen, it was time to cut a bezel strip and solder it. It took her a few goes to get a good soldered join, got there in the end though!
Amnoyingly she didn’t break a single saw blade. Grrrr. I broke at least three today! Cutting and soldering her ring shank was a very smooth operation, just going to show that I am a fantastic teacher With a talented apprentice, obviously.
The clock was against us as usual, so Sal had to load up her stuff and head off in time for the school run. She’s planning to finish her ring tonight, can’t wait to see it!
This is my finished ring, the ammonite I mentioned in a previous post. Rather pleased with it, I have to say!
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…
This enormous purple stone has been glinting at me for quite some time now, I made it into a ring once, but didn’t like it so I recycled it into this cute little spider. I love making bugs (click here for a previous post!) and he seemed just perfect for this time of the year. We live in a semi-rural area, and have had some enormous spiders wandering in to the house, which is hilarious when the big beardy biker I share my life is turns into a screaming girly when he sees one – he was tidying up some shoes in the hall the other week, and picked up one of our lad’s plastic spiders, only to realise it wasn’t plastic… I think they heard the screams in the next valley!
I made Incy’s head using a small piece of black Murano glass that I had made in a glass making class, silver clay and eight 1mm white CZs for his eyes – that was a fiddly job, with much swearing The bezel was soldered to the legs, the shank added, and finally his head popped on – so many joins needed some really careful heating on a very makeshift jig made from copper nails bashed into my fire brick.
So after a nice warm bath in the pickle, he was polished up and oxidised, repolished and ready for setting the stone. I’m really very fond of this one, and by sheer coincidence he’s just my size, but if you’d like one, just give me a shout!
This weekend I arranged for manchild to go to his dad’s and for Beardy to be busy mending his mate’s bike so that I could have some quality shed time. I had applied for my maker’s mark with the London assay office last month and ordered a few chunks of silver from Cookson’s soon after, but due to the running aboutiness of the school holidays, didn’t get chance to make anything. Until today!
Just to test the punch, I tried it on a bit of scrap copper, and that looked good, so I did another on a little lump of 2mm sterling. With a bit of texture and some fancy bezel as detailing, it makes the perfect focal point for a very personal piece of jewellery.
The lumps of silver I have had taunting me for the last three weeks finally became pendants. A lot of hammering, annealing and filing turned two quite rough cut pieces of metal into lovely smooth shapes. The only decoration on these will be a hallmark – vanity pieces really, but why not? The long one is for me and the other for my mum, but I’m planning on making some earrings to match mine next.
So now I’m busy temporarily reclaiming the silver goodies I have made for friends and loved ones, so I can send them off to get assayed and hallmarked. I really want to do it asap as the date letter for this year is an “m”!
In amongst all the post that awaited me when I got home from my mum’s was a book on stone setting I had completely forgotten I had ordered.
So I put on my “how hard can it be?” head, and as usual, realised that the answer is “very”… No change there then.
There was an 8mm labradorite cabochon knocking about, so I thought I’d have a go at a claw setting, as up until now I’ve just done rubover settings. I didn’t want to risk wasting any silver, and copper goes nicely with labradorite, so I used that. The results aren’t perfect, but for a first attempt at a totally new technique, I’m quite pleased!
I wasn’t feeling spectacularly inspired today, and not terribly well either, truth be told. Still, I had a bee in my bonnet to make this ring, and I have to say it came out as good as I’d hoped although it’s practically impossible to photograph well. The silver ring has a satin hammered finish to subtly frame the carbon and glass cabochon – I wanted a more industrial look to the ring to suit the material. Of course I may well decide to polish to a high shine later!