I have moonflowers on the jewellers bench....... well they're actually 'almost earrings' but I kinda thought if there were such a thing they might look something like these! Could be the start of a new range!
I just completed a wonderful 5 week workshop with Rachel and Jessica, these workshops work so well because students are able to work at their own speed and after making a pair of earrings which familiarise students with basic jewellery making skills, they can then go onto make what they like!
We covered piercing, filing, texturing with a rolling mill and hammers, forming and polishing.
Jessica brought in some beautiful delicate leaves from her own garden, she impressed these onto silver using my rolling mill and created a beautiful intricate pair of leaf earrings.
Rachel textured her silver earrings with a hammer to create a lovely natural bark texture, she added textured copper squares to contrast and the earrings were domed slightly using a doming block so they do not lie flat.
For Rachel's next project she made two intertwining bangles, one silver and one copper, they go perfectly with her earrings!s
Amethyst's caught Jessica's eye and these became the focus for her next project, a lovely amethyst and silver bracelet using wire wrapping techniques.
The girls did a fantastic job of their projects and were a pleasure to teach. Check out my New Workshops page for the Spring Schedule, if the dates don't work for you and there are 2 or more people interested just let me know and we can arrange a date to suit!
I now have my moustache family, moustache pendant on gold filled chain, moustache brooch with sterling silver safety pin (you would hate to lose this little family member) and moustache ring with sterling silver band. These are shown in brass but can be made in silver.
I now have a mo page on the Movember website, raising the profile of mens health and fighting prostate cancer. Everybody who donates will be entered into a prize draw to win a wonderful piece of moustache jewellery! The jewellery range is your choice! http://uk.movember.com/mospace/3188597
If you can't grow 'em, make 'em!!
If impatient to wear your unique handcrafted metal tache please visit my Etsy shop shop to purchase.
Soooo I had an idea to make metal moustaches for the facially fuzz denied of us - or even the blessed may wear 'em. These brass beauties start life as flat ol' sheet brass. I wanted to adorn my taches with a stylish waxed twist and have them standing voluptuous and proud!! Here's a few pics showing my process.
Once I started, couldn't stop! I have a family!
Next instalment will be the finished product........
So.... I am into making brooches of late, I love the process of press forming using my wonderful arbor press, I like to get a three dimensional quality to my work, of course including the all necessary texture. Using brass and copper adds another dimension, colour and contrast, they seems to sit perfectly with Autumn.
My design is sketched onto brass and pierced out, I love to cut metal!
Silver sheet is textured and press formed into my leaf shapes.
The silver leaves are pierced out and soldered onto the brass back, alot more work is involved......texture, soldering on a brooch back and a huge clean up.. before ..
The finished brass and silver beauty is ready to present itself!
My sunflower brooch is made in a very similar way.
Both brooches can be purchased from my Etsy shop, or directly from me!
On August the 18th, this post is a little overdue, I had the pleasure to meet mother and daughter Hazel and Laura on the mission to make a pair of earrings! After a nice cuppa, biscuits and natter we discussed jewellery making experience, Hazel had not had experience with making silver jewellery but had made glass jewellery, Laura did have experience a number of years ago. I then showed the girls a selection of earrings, we discussed their preference for dangle or post/studs.
I have a number of examples of textures to show and demonstrated how to achieve them. We practised piercing and texturing on copper before moving onto precious metal - silver!
The day covered basic silversmithing techniques, piercing, texturing, filing, soldering, sanding and polishing.
Well the mission was a success! Hazel and Laura each made beautiful and unique earrings, each have very different styles. We had a lovely creative and fun day!
'Laura and I wore our newly made earrings with pride yesterday and they were much admired! Thank you again for a delightful day, it was good to meet and enjoy your company too'
On March 3rd I taught a bangle making workshop, my workshops are small so I really get a chance to get to know students and give them plenty of attention. John and Katherine had not had any experience of working in silver, Jeanette had experience but had not dabbled for quite a few years and was looking forward to reawakening rusty skills! We started off with discussing the bangle making process, I then demonstrated the forming of a basic wire bangle. We practised with copper wire to obtain an understanding of the required skills then progressed onto silver.
This workshop involved piercing/sawing, filing, soldering, texture, forming around a mandrel and finishing, and a lovely lunch in the Biscuit Factory cafe!!
John, Katherine and Jeanette then decided what they wanted to create, they all involved a mixture of metals, silver, brass and copper, they were very surprised and proud of their bangles!
Katherine made a beautiful interlocking triple bangle, consisting of two silver bangles and one copper with a subtle satin finish.
John made a lovely triple interlocking bangle consisting of one silver, one brass and one copper bangle for his granddaughter's birthday.
Jeanette created silver and copper bangles with a hammered finish held together by brass and silver shiny tendrils -wonderful - a gift for her daughter.
All of these bangles are amazing - John Katherine and Jeanette did a fantastic job!
I was approached recently to copy a much loved ring with great sentimental value for a friend of the client. This ring seemed initially to pose a challenge, it was nothing like anything I had made previously, I do not include stones in my designs too frequently and these were quite unusual shapes.
I think the original ring was made in India, the design, mainly owing to the shape of the stones, is quite organic in contrast to my own simple outlines. I decided this was going to be good for me!
The first job was to identify and source the stones. The pear shaped moonstone and black stick pearl were pretty obvious, but the blue stone proved a little more difficult, I eventually came to the conclusion it was a kyanite, these are very hard to find in this country in cabochon form but I managed to find a faceted kyanite, I really wanted to keep the blue stone - it catches the blue in the black pearl.
Fine silver bezel wire is used to make a bezel to hold each stone. It must be a perfect fit before soldering onto the silver mount. The mount is curved to fit the curve of a finger and the bezels are filed to fit - probably the most tedious part of this adventure!
It is pretty easy to melt fine silver - so extra care is taken when soldering them onto the base. I little bearing wire is soldered into the kyanite setting, necessary to hold a faceted stone. Excess silver is cut and filed away before the silver balls are added. I do believe we are on the home stretch....
I sent the D shaped silver wire I would use for the ring shank to be hallmarked at the Birmingham Assay Office before I formed it into a round. This was then checked to make sure it would fit a size M finger good 'n' proper before I soldered it to the bezel.
So there it sits - awaiting those lovely stones. Holes have been drilled in the back of each setting to enable the stones to be positioned, they also allow a little light to shine through. A pusher and burnisher are used to push and burnish the fine silver around the stones hopefully holding 'em nice 'n' snug.
I have heard Diana is pleased with her ring, and I'm so very pleased to hear it! I did enjoy this project, it is sooo good to be taken out of your little comfort zone, it usually results in a learning curve both beneficial and enjoyable. I now have a 'thing' for unusually shaped stones, it has set in motion a whole new project.... I did get more of those lovely pear shape moonstones...
Bangles are very popular at the moment, and they are fun to make! This triple bangle was a commission - three bangles interlinked with three freely moving hoops. A bangle should jangle.
This bangle started its life as round wire, cut to length, soldered closed then formed around a bangle mandrel into three perfectly round separate bangles.
One bangle then has to be cut open, linked with the other two then soldered closed again, so they are permanently linked. Three small silver hoops are constructed in a similar way only around a smaller mandrel, they are looped around all three bangles and soldered closed.
Ah congratulations - you have a lovely healthy shiny bangle - this bangle is given a super soft satin finish. Next bangle making workshop is Saturday March 3rd.