At last after such a long summer break my silversmithing class has returned. It was time to get out the trusty tool box. Yes it really is quite heavy and full of my precious tools.Jewellers are very protective of their tools and I am no exception!
I have a heavy tool box where I keep everything.
One of my most recent birthday presents from my husband was a beautiful planishing hammer.
To protect its mirror finish head it even has it's own made to measure stripey sock!
Our last class was at the end of June so it really was a long time ago. Every year the funding at the local council changes and every year I wonder if the class will be stopped but so far it has continued running.
I started my silversmithing classes in 2002 so this will be my 9th year. Many people have come and gone. It is always good to see some of the old faces return and also to welcome some new.
I was unable to quite finish my last term's project which was to make a hinged locket. Hmmmm it really was as challenging as it sounds and took many, many weeks from its beginnings as a piece of flat sheet silver into a locket.
I also tried the process of etching for the first time so the lid on my locket has a 1930s art deco feel to it. To finish the locket I have to pass a 0.4mm piece of wire through the hand made 2 part hinge and then flatten the ends to keep the wire in. That way the locket will open.I will come back to my locket in a future blog and show some photos.
I thought you may be interested to see some photos here of some of my creations over the last 8years......
This is my very first creation, a ring, which I made in 2002. It really is very basic but I treasure it. It is a bezel set lapis lazuli cabochon. It took me a whole term to make it from a piece of flat silver!
This is the very 1st pair of earrings I made in 2003, again very basic.
Here is a chain I made in 2005. It was very time consuming to make as all the links have to be wound, cut and soldered from 1mm round silver wire but I love this necklace and I wear it a lot.
In 2006 we leaned how to cast using delft clay. I had such fun casting real shells in solid silver. I then made a chain and made my own seashell charm bracelet. This piece took a whole term to make, each shell took nearly 3 lessons to complete.
This is a forged bangle made in 2007, I made my daughter a similar one and it is one of her most worn pieces.
In 2008 one project was to design and make a spoon. At home we love having pickled onions at family parties/Christmas etc and we always find it difficult to get the onions out of the jar. So I made a pickled onion spoon complete with a cut out pickled onion on the top. The plaited handle was really fun to make.
There is a little onion on the top and I made feature at the back of the spoon where the handle met the bowl.
Doming the bowl and piercing it was tricky as I needed to keep the holes as I shaped it in a doming block.
This spoon has pride of place on our table when we have family tea/birthday/christmas celebrations. My husband jokes that it the family heirloom!
I had a dabble with enamelling last year. Now there is another whole world to go to.... I made a flower necklace and although my enamelling is a little basic it really is a delightful piece. I have it on a short silver chain and really enjoy wearing it.
I designed the flower and leaves which were cut out of silver sheet. You can see the cloisonne wires between the colours, it was tricky keeping them in place in the kiln. The layers of powdered enamel are built up very slowly and each layer is fired in a kiln which melts them to glass. This piece had several firings and at any time there is the risk of burning the enamel and ruining the piece. Thankfully that did not happen.
I hope that you enjoyed looking at some of my older pieces. My silversmithing gives me a great deal of pleasure although there are times when it would test the patience of a saint. One year I made a claw setting for a beautiful amethyst stone. I was soldering on the last claw and concentrating so hard that I managed to melt 2 of the claws I had already hand made and attached. Needless to say I put that project away for a couple of years but I did actually eventually finish it. I think that was my most challenging piece.
I will update you during the year as my projects develop. At class this week it was the usual health and safety, fire drill etc. Not a lot of hands on work was started but our 1st project is going to be press forming shapes...should be interesting!
Bye for now,