I still had my locket as piece of work in progress from the summer term last year. This has probably been the most challenging piece I have made at class as it involved making the domed front, a matching flat back, etching it with a design and then hand making a hinge. This has all been created from a piece of flat silver sheet.
This is the front and the back before I finished the hinge. It is hard to see the front but the design is actually an etched deco line pattern.
It is really hard to photograph my silver work, the reflection is very strong.
On the back I have soldered two half rings so that I can attach a chain behind the locket. My plan is to hand make the chain...watch this space. I have made chains before and they are very challenging but very interesting to make.
You will be pleased to hear that I finished my locket.
This hinge was one of the most challenging things I have attempted. I am not sure I will be making a whole series of lockets!
I am pleased though that I kept going as there were so many silversmithing skills I gained from making it.
The next project our tutor set us was to teach us some new skills in shape making by press forming using the bench press. This is a very mean, heavy looking piece of equipment.
We looked at various hollow shapes to get some inspiration.
Here is the bench press on the left. We were told to decide on a hollow shape we would like to form.
I chose to make a bean shape as it would test my skills more that making a symmetrical one. I had to draw an outline and then cut it out in perspex.
The brass templates was then stuck to the perspex template and the 2 had to be filed smooth together so that when the piece was formed in the press there would be no sharp edges. I spent some time filing away until the shape was ready for press forming.
A "sandwich" was then formed with the pieces put either side of a piece of flat copper together with some padding. It was put into the press, the handle was screwed down and out came................
A press formed bean
You could make a reverse of this, cut them out and then solder them together to form a hollow shape but this was more an exercise of a new skill rather than making something
Another new technique we were introduced to was cuttle fish casting. Yes honestly you use a cuttle fish to cast with. This is one of the oldest forms of casting and was used way back even in Egyptian times. Luckily one of our students had recently been on holiday and had picked up lots of cuttle fish "bones" from the beach so we did not have to buy them.
Cuttle fish have a soft texture on one side and you are able to carve into this to form a shape. You then bind this tightly to a flat piece of wood and carefully pour in molten pewter (silver can be used but is obviously much more expensive).
This carving I made created a pretty flower shape. I may at some point make it into a brooch.
This is the shape I carved to create some cuff links for my Hb. The spiky lines out at the sides are air vents to allow the molten metal to "flow" and any air to escape. The brown area is where the molten metal poured in burns the opening to the mould. It is pretty interesting handling bubbling metal, not for the faint hearted!
I had to make 2 castings and then filed the shapes carefully to remove all the surplus pewter.
I then bought some cuff link backs which I attached them to. I
put the finished cuff links into my Hb Christmas cracker. He really thought they were great and of course quite unique!
Here they are in their finished polished state.
They are quite hard to photo but they almost have a primitive effect which I really like.
Our next project (Spring Term) is to create a setting for an usual shaped stone. We have used rub over settings in the past, Liz wants to stretch us a little further this time. This is the stone I have bought, a very pretty piece of agate with a flat back.
Bye for now,
(P.S please remember I have a free giveaway running at the moment with 2 prizes. To take part just look at this post. Remember to leave your comments there by this Monday, 24th January, this will be my last post before it closes. Good luck!)