Well, I had made one decision at least … I would make a ring. Great. Fantastic. Now what?
With my background being in law and not, I thought, a creative bone in my body, how was I going to even come up with a design for this ring, let alone actually muster the skills to craft it. Help!
Fortunately, at Flux n Flame, there was no need for me to worry. I was very lucky to have an extremely enthusiastic and talented jewellery designer to guide me (almost by the hand!) through the day. Fran Barker (who is sadly no longer teaching at Flux n Flame) was to be so inspirational and helped me out of a tight spot or two on that first day. I’m not at all sure that I would have caught the jewellery-making bug so badly if it hadn’t been for her! You can see an example of her stunning work below.
After poring over design after design in the books which had been made available to us, I still wasn’t confident that I could attempt any of them. Finally, I decided on a simple plain band ring to be cut from silver sheet. Now the fun was to start in earnest. After measuring my finger and working out what size ring I needed to make, I then had to master the first evil thing that every budding jeweller has to face – the jeweller’s saw and piercing blades. Don’t sound too scary, do they – but believe you me, there is nothing more frustrating when you start out on this path than learning to pierce out a shape in metal – just when you think you’ve got it, PING, your saw blade snaps in two and you find yourself spending the next 10 minutes fighting to fit a new blade into the frame. And it does this again and again and again …aaagghh!!
Good practice though, as you really do need to get this technique under your belt. Having marked up and finally managed to pierce out the rectangular piece of silver that was to miraculously turn into a ring, it was suggested that I might like to add some texture to the surface to provide a bit of interest. I chose to have a go at reticulation, which produces a rippled effect on the surface of the sheet.
Of course, during the heating process to achieve this finish I took things just a tad too far, and ended up melting a tiny hole in the silver sheet. Ruined. Or, if you have Fran’s positive outlook on things, just a minor challenge to be overcome!
“You could decorate the band with some silver and gold balls – it’s great fun making silver balls, and they will cover up the hole so nobody will notice” . Positivity … just what I needed to hear as I hurled all my tools off the beginner’s workbench!
Making tiny silver and gold balls was fun, and I wouldn’t have got the chance to have a go but for my mistake. Always look for the silver lining to each and every cloud. Here’s the finished article – not exactly perfect, but a perfect first attempt.
And so my journey in silver has thus far taken me from there to here:
Where will it lead me next?