Monday, 25 November 2013

Several projects in progress

My desk is covered with work in progress at the moment. Printed heart shaped charms and wired bead dangles wait to be incorporated into jewellery.

Two newly sawn pieces of copper sheet are ready to be filed smooth and transformed into earrings tomorrow in silversmith class. I will anneal and texture them and then shape them into organic forms. At this stage they look most unpromising, but a session with the torch, hammer and pliers will work some magic on them. Having a sketch and a rough version in scrap metal helps a lot. I've become fascinated by playing with the way you can fold metal once it's been annealed. With this design the wire wraps round then comes through the hole left in the middle. freshwater pearls strung on thinner wire create stamens. Once I've made a version in copper and become confident with the techniques I will be brave and get myself some sterling silver to do the final version.
Here is a sketch of the piece I am intending to make next term, a leafy shape with leather threaded through it. I’m intending to etch the metal with acid to make the leaves textured.  Using pliers to bring part of the metal shape to the front will make it quite dimensional and curling the stem will create a channel through which I will feed the leather cord. Always good to have a plan!
I did manage to finish one piece this week. Lovely and chunky on a 4mm leather thong. After making loads of jump rings I shaped each one in my half round pliers then applied the liver of sulphur patina. When they are threaded on the cord the bends in them makes a great squiggly texture and I have echoed this in the choice of chunky toggle clasp.
Must say the flexshaft makes the subsequent polishing sooo much easier as it does so many little jobs. Can’t imagine life without it now. It does give my workspace the appearance of a dentists though. In fact I am using dental burrs quite often in it as I love them for detailed shaping of metal and rounding off wire ends with little cup shaped ones.

Friday, 15 November 2013

'Freya' - my new Viking neck ring and pendant

It’s completed at last! Several sessions in my silversmithing class at Wensum Lodge have been happily spent on this copper piece and I’ve loved every moment of its creation.

The pendant section has been sawn out of a 0.7mm piece of copper sheet. Then it has been hammered on an anvil before being heated in a flame to anneal it (soften the metal to allow it to be worked). More hammering over a curved form made a lovely flowing shape. Then I drilled holes and attached the paddle shapes with the vintage green glass drops. The drops are wired with tiny copper discs at the base which I created with my new disc cutter and my lovely new Proxxon drill. Then I created the neck circle by using a technique called ‘Viking Weave’.  This is done by weaving a mesh of fine wire around a mandrel. Then it is drawn down a succession of holes in a drawplate, each one smaller than the last until it is the desired length and thickness. I threaded this chain over a thicker piece of wire and hammered a clasp with a hook that echoes the swirl that I had pierced in the pendant. Finally I created wire wrapped detailing and attached the pendant. Phew! No wonder I didn’t find time to blog for a bit!
Must say my poor husband is putting up with the hammering and drilling with great fortitude. It's surprising where the bits of trimmed off wire can end up. The poor man has had years of finding tiny seed beads stuck to him and now he has metal shards to contend with. There has been talk of a little den for me in the garden, where I can get up to all sorts of jewellery making mischief, which is something to look forward to.
Other than that, ‘Atlantis’  the latest bead embroidered piece went off to a new home, here are photos of it all finished.