On the corner of my workbench there had been a long, plain strip of silver just sitting and waiting. This past spring I had drawn the original sketch for a new cuff, and then cut out a silver section which would be the base of the new piece.
However, then things got busy, other orders became priority, and a move to our new home shuffled things around even more. When I unpacked in my new studio, the silver piece again found it's place on the upper corner of my workbench. Months passed, until finally a few weeks ago, I was able to return to my abandoned piece of silver.
The strip has now became my new Floral Landscape Cuff. Of course there were a number of steps that occurred in between the strip of silver and the final piece. Several of those steps I have shared below. This piece is a little different than some of my other designs, like the Will-o'-Wisp Brooch, in that I combined both forged wire and sheet to create the top details.
What step do you find most interesting? Designing, sawing, soldering, or adding the patina?
Balance Posted on 20 May 20:32
A little while back I was working on one of my favorite ring set designs, and documented the process to share with all you great folks.
The ring set consists of two bands, each with a slight pattern variation. I love a perfect balance of ornate pattern and clean lines. That was the goal of this design.
Every ring starts with a flat sheet of solid argentium silver. Measured strips are cut from the sheet. Smaller strips are placed on the top and bottom to create the borders. These strips are all carefully fused together using a torch.
One of the great benefits of argentium silver vs. standard sterling, is fusing. Instead of using solder to attach the strips, I can heat the argentium to a precise temperature and it will fuse itself together. No messy solder clean up!
Once the ring bases are fused, the patterned section is created. From thin silver wire I fuse, cut, form, and set up the decorative wires. I try to get them all the same size and shape, then use tweezers to set them in place on the flat ring shanks. When all the wires are arranged, it's time to solder.
The photo above shows a ring right before it was heated up. Originally I was going to solder the wires on, but decided to fuse them for a cleaner look. With wire you have to be extremely careful not to overheat, as small wires melt easily.
Once the wires were attached, the rings were formed and soldered closed. (I missed a few photos at the end here.) One ring was left silver and the other given an oxidized/brushed finish for contrast. Here's a final shot of the finished set.
You can have a set made just for you, find the details here.
The transformation from winter to spring is always so marvelous. This was the first spring my husband and I have been at our new house. We have been keeping busy with several outdoor projects, one of which is clearing a walking trail through the woods on our property. A couple weeks ago as we were clearing, pulling out fallen branches, and trimming a path, I looked down and noticed a partridge nesting just steps away from where we stood. She was so well camouflaged it was luck that I spotted her at all. Do you see her in the photo? We left her undisturbed and I just peeked in on her today, she's still there tucked in the leaves. Hopefully we will get to spot her little ones when they arrive.
In the Studio
While I could find a million distractions outside, I have been getting some good things done in the studio. Recently I had a couple of fun, yet completely different commissions. The first was a pair of custom wedding bands. I was super excited to create the bands which used some new design elements that I have been exploring. His band was crafted from solid silver and given a dark patina. Her band was made with silver and rose gold. Both bands were detailed with a wrapping wire pattern.
The other commission I completed was a bit different from my usual style as it was for an entirely functional design. A solid copper hair comb and pick. It was quite a chore cutting through such a thick gauge of metal with a jewelers saw! The piece finished nicely and was a great change of pace.
The 100 Day Project
If you have been following my work on facebook then you may have seen The 100 Day Project I recently completed. Basically participants committed themselves to explore a creative idea for 100 straight days. Each person set their own goals and agenda. For my project I worked on developing and fabricating some more involved designs. In the end I had created the three pendants pictured below.
There were many other individuals that participated and shared images of their projects. Check them out here: http://vimeo.com/128088962 Or maybe you want to be involved in a future 100DayProject. If so you can find more information at the website the100dayproject.com
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