Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Roll out the barrels!

I'd been so preoccupied with all the various family disasters that seem to have happened recently that my birthday crept up on me without me thinking much about it. My lovely husband took me out for the day though and made it really special. He treated me to a lovely book on setting gemstones and we had walk and a drink by the river followed by a meal and another few drinks! Lovely - and as Monday was needed to gently recover I got to put my feet up with the book - something I haven't seemed to find time for in ages.

Have just been playing with yet another new piece of kit that I have just acquired - a barrel tumbling machine complete with compounds for finishing jewellery. Basically you just load your jewellery in the rubber barrel with the mediums, switch it on and it does the polishing and work hardening whilst you are free for other things. We have one in class and it really is a great piece of kit.

'Bluebell' is done and very pretty now that I have added the final tiny size 15 beads around the cabochon and added a lovely sterling silver clasp. I think it captures the feel of a bluebell wood quite nicely and the curlicues of wire were a great way to refer to the curly ends of the petals.


Just starting out on my first experiments with enamel and resin, my desire to have colour in my metalwork is leading me in this direction. Here is a rough sketch of my next piece with the metal roughly cut.

Next stage is annealing and hammering some texture before I get busy with the soldering torch. It's all go. I've got a nice crème brulee in the fridge so that if I get peckish I can use the little torch to melt the sugar topping. Yum!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Back to the beads again

It’s been rather a horrible month and jewellery making has been on hold for a bit. My sister-in-law Viv had been ill for some time and after a short stay in a hospice sadly passed away at the end of April aged just 62. So we have been  to North Wales for the funeral and to see the family, rather a contrast to all the other visits we have made for get-togethers and weddings. However, the weather was gorgeous on the day and the  ‘do’ afterwards at the Cricket Club in Llandudno was not as sad as you might think. After coming home on Wednesday I came down with a sore throat and a cold and just wanted to sleep. A reaction to all the travelling and the strain of the occasion I expect.

Now things are just starting to feel better again and the beads are impatient to get going. I missed my silversmithing class as we were away on Tuesday, so I am looking forward to it this week. My silver and copper pendant needs just one more session before it is done. I have 2 more little silver shapes to saw and solder, a sterling silver chain and clasp to attach and coloured Efcolor enamel to put in the 4 circular shapes and then heat in a special little low temperature 'kiln' at 150 ⁰ C. As well as honing my soldering skills it has enabled me to do my very first cold connection in the form of a silver wire rivet which attaches the bail. I found  this wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be and is a useful skill to have learned.
The bluebell inspired beadwork necklace has also seen some progress and I am working up the strap. I plan to make 3 beaded beads on each side and these will be interspersed with shortish sections of stringing worked on the strands of special Beadalon wire that you can see protruding.