Monday, 30 November 2009

Adventures in Jewellery Making Week Ten

I missed this week’s class because I went home for my Gran’s 80th birthday. I have given her my stage pendant as a present and I think she really liked it. I had purposefully made quite a big clasp so that she could fasten it easily. I hope it is ok.

Adventures in Jewellery Making Week Nine

My confidence has grown hugely this week as I took another jewellery making class with Kelvin J. Birk on Sunday and made quite a few pieces under my own steam. It was fun to be able to make ideas into reality without worrying too much about the perfection of the finish and I think it was particularly valuable to see how a budget jewellery-making studio would work. I am now confident that I could solder and pickle in the flat so this will free me up brilliantly after Christmas as I will be able to take more regular commissions. I’m really excited about setting up my silver shop in January. I am going to plan in my Christmas break so that I can set it up with a flourish all guns blazing. I set an amethyst stone in my stage pendant to finish it. This was done with a setting tool, small mallet and vice where the setting tool has a flat edge so that when gripped in the vice you can hammer the edge over the stone so that it is flush with the gem and prevents the stone from coming loose. I think I could have done with filing the top most edges of the bezel wire a little bit more and I would certainly do this on my next stone setting but that is all part of the learning process. I polished the pendant using Tripoli and rouge. I don’t like the finish as much when compared with using the polishing barrel but I guess that the design may have been destroyed had it been put in the barrel. I think I will use acetate for my stencils for the rolling mill in the future. I have a feeling they might be reusable in this medium. Will have to see in time. I have begun to work on my medieval village bracelet and have hammered the individual castle shapes. I am just waiting for my little sapphires to arrive and then I will set the little stained glass windows and drill the holes so that I can link the buildings together. I am particularly taken with one castle shape and I would like to make a pendant of this. I am keen to experiment with oxidising silver too so I will have to see how this range turns out once it has been truly developed. I have also ordered myself a diamond and I am really looking forward to making myself a diamond ring. It is only very tiny so I don’t think it will take too long to make although I suppose that just because something is small doesn’t mean it is easy to make. Sometimes the opposite is true!

Adventures in Jewellery Making Week Eight

I soldered the bezel wire onto my stage pendant and it worked out pretty well. It was a case of using borax as normal and cutting lots of tiny scraps of hard solder and placing them on the inside edge of the bezel wire so that when the solder melted it fused the stone setting into place beautifully. I have then had to file the top most edges of the setting so that when I set the stone, the metal will fold over easily and keep it in place. I have been trying to decide what stone to use amethyst or labradorite. It will likely be a case of me going out to find the beads for the chain part of my necklace first so that I can then make a final decision on the stone for the actual pendant. I have pierced a scroll type pattern into the silver to add more interest on the final piece and this has worked out well. Next week I will set the stone…

Adventures in Jewellery Making Week Seven

After my experimentations with the rolling mill in my last lesson, I realised that I would have to use stronger card to make my stencil effective. I spent my half term week deciding on the final version of my design and had the stencil pre-cut and ready for the lesson so that I was able to get to work straightaway. My first task was to prepare the stencil so that it would fit through the rolling mill. Then I had to anneal the silver sheet that I had ready and pickle it to make sure it was clean. The next task was to use tiny scraps of masking tape to attach the sheet metal to the stencil. I originally put a lot of masking tape on but Nuala suggested that it might be more effective and would leave less patternation on the reverse of the pendant if I had less tape. I covered the stencil and sheet with normal printer paper and we all watched as it got sent through the rolling mill. The effect was perfect! The stencil stayed in place and the imprint was great! The only thing was that the sheet was very curved so I had to use a hide mallet to flatten the pendant. Unfortunately I had the bright idea of annealing the metal again to make sure that it was easier to flatten and I must have accidentally over heated the silver because part of the curtain now has a wrinkled look to it, which is a shame. However, I did say that I wanted this pendant to be about texture so I suppose it just adds more interest to the piece. My next task was to cut out the stage shape and file the edges. The piece really started to look good at that point and it was time to start making the stone setting. I am going to set an oval amethyst onto the piece and I used 5mm bezel wire, which I trimmed down to fit the stone and filed. I formed the bezel wire into an oval just a tiny bit larger than the stone that I am using with pliers and checked that the edges met together. This was the end of the lesson so I have had to leave the completion of my piece until next week. I will need to solder the bezel wire and set the stone and decide where to drill into the piece so that I can attach a chain. Nuala suggested that I add a loop onto the back rather than drilling into the metal so I will contemplate this and work out what I think will look best. I am also toying with the idea of piercing a pattern into the stage part but I’m not sure if this will ruin the surface of the piece. I will have to see how I feel next week!