A Musical Symmetry?

'Symmetry' Pendant - Artist's Impression

Sterling Silver ‘Symmetry’ Pendant

I had been puzzling for a while about how I could make a pendant to compliment my ‘Perfect Symmetry’ collection of rings.  Initially, I wanted to create something based around a circular design in recognition of the rings’ shape, but I could find no pleasing way of  incorporating the symmetrical scroll elements whilst also maintaining a true circle form.

Eventually I decided to just take a straight piece of round silver wire of significant diameter, taper the ends sufficiently to enable me to create the scrolls, and then play around with this and a pair of half round pliers until the metal took on an interesting shape.

Tapered Silver Wire in 'Symmetry' shape

Tapered Silver Wire in ‘Symmetry’ shape

Tapered silver wire and bezel with Iolite gemstone

Tapered silver wire and bezel with Iolite gemstone

After a good deal of bending, hammering and annealing, a good shape seemed to present itself.

Continuing with the twining tendrils theme, I added a further piece of scrolled wire to the top of the pendant to create a bail.  I am really pleased with this small detail which enhances the overall effect of the piece.

'Symmetry' Sterling Silver Pendant

‘Symmetry’ Sterling Silver – a work in progress

The bezel will be filled with a 6mm round deep violet Iolite stone, the companion to that used in the ‘Symmetry with Iolite’ ring.

On seeing the design sketches for this pendant, a colleague commented that it looked a little like a musical treble clef symbol; it’s not quite, but I’m now thinking how I could use that idea for a future design!

'Symmetry' Collection - Iolite Pendant and Ring

‘Symmetry’ Collection – Iolite Pendant and Ring

Of Silver and Ice

'Fossils in Silver' Pendant with Ice Blue Topaz

‘Fossils in Silver’ Pendant with Ice Blue Topaz

Having achieved a more three dimensional effect by shaping and doming the etched fossil shapes to make the cufflinks, I wanted to play around a little bit and see what other pieces this design could work with.

Having etched and pierced out the spiral fossil design in two sizes, I thought I’d start with the small piece (a little more tricky to work with as the detail is finer, but less to lose if all goes awry) and adapt the design into a pendant. Although I now know it works and will no doubt be tempted to make a plain silver version, I wanted to enhance this piece with a small gemstone. I chose an ice (or sky) blue topaz, only 4mm in diameter, but which I thought would provide a good focal point.

'Fossils in Silver' - early steps with the pendant

‘Fossils in Silver’ – early steps with the pendant

After some careful preparation of the piece with files and emery paper, I constructed a bezel to fit the stone from bearer wire and drilled holes into the pendant where I wanted to place both the gemstone and the bail. Before marking out and piercing the hole for the bezel, I used a doming block and punch to raise the design into a convex form.

'Fossils in Silver' Pendant - raised design element

‘Fossils in Silver’ Pendant – raised design element

Above you can see the result of forming the metal. Once the bezel was fitted and soldered and the bead bail soldered in place, a thorough cleaning and finishing had to be completed before the stone was set. A final buffing around the bezel to remove any inadvertent setting marks and a good polish and the piece was complete.

The finished pendant is now with the Assay Office for hallmarking and I’m ready to tackle the larger version for which I’ve reserved a stunning 7mm round London blue topaz – can’t wait to see the result!

The Artist by Snowhawke

This beautiful piece is for anyone who is passionate about their own and others’ individuality and creativity; it expresses so eloquently why the light shone into the darkness by art and artists of all persuasions should be rejoiced in by all. In a fast dimming world, Snowhawke’s words are a beacon of truth and offer hope for a better tomorrow.

The Animist Druid

I attended a graduation ceremony this past Saturday at the Maine College of Art, in Portland. I found all of the speakers deeply inspiring. They spoke of the value of the artist and the art they create. They also spoke from experience about the power of exploration and creativity, reminding me not to worry about the end result but rather focus on the process of finding inspiration and letting it flow. As someone who views Druidry as a religion of creativity, so much of what was shared rang through with beauty and truth.

After the ceremony concluded we went to a view the senior thesis works at the Porteous building. I have to say I was blown away with most everything I saw. The sheer newness and beauty and truth in the artworks on display was greatly heartening – so much courage on display! It was a good reminder that…

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Simple Elegance in Silver

‘Deco’ Collection – Artist’s Impression

This collection is still very much a work in progress.  I felt these pieces had an ‘Art Deco’ feel to them, hence the collection’s title.  They are hand crafted out of sterling silver sheet; there’s a lot of piercing (sawing) and filing to be done to achieve a professional finish here, so the pieces are rather time consuming to work on, but all the more satisfying for that.

I am attempting two finishes on the surface of the silver with these – as there is a three-dimensional effect created by cutting grooves into the sheet, one side will be polished to a mirror finish, the other given a matt satin texture to help emphasise the perception of depth created by the design.

'Deco' Pendant ~ Design Sketch

'Deco' Earrings ~ Design Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I anticipate making  a couple of different sizes and weights in the pendant ~ one to complement the necessarily lighter and smaller feel of the earrings, the other a larger and more substantial piece; it’ll make something of a statement all by itself, though could still be paired with the earrings quite successfully.

Progress is slow but steady and I am hoping to have these ready in a week or so.  An update will appear here when they’re  completed.

Ana

A Challenging Valentine’s Commission

It’s a truly happy day for any artisan when they receive, completely out of the blue, a request for a special one-off piece.

That happiness, however, soon turns to anxiety and a mild feeling of panic when you find yourself faced with a design conundrum – the bespoke item you’ve been asked to make is something you’ve never attempted before. Aggghhh!!

This is exactly the situation I found myself in a few weeks ago. I was asked by a loving husband if I could make a beautiful, classic silver bangle for his wife for Valentine’s Day. His wife had seen this particular piece in a jewellery shop window, but alas it had been made with white gold and, with a price tag of over £700, was a little out of reach for my romantic client! He wondered if I could possibly design something similar in silver.

Now, as you will know if you’ve read some of my early posts, I am still very much a journeyman on the jewellery-making road and, although I have made a wonderful wide cuff bangle for a friend in the recent past, this piece was something very new for me – even with some design adjustments to make it truly unique.

As he described the bangle to me over the telephone, I doodled something down on paper and then e-mailed it to him to see if it was something close to what he had in mind. After a little toing and froing, we agreed on the design below.

Split bangle design sketch

Split bangle design sketch

By this time I had come to a decision as to how I would attempt to construct this piece.  I dismissed my first idea, which was to cut the design from silver sheet of the right thickness (approx. 2mm), drill a hole along the centre line and then proceed to pierce the centre split out of the sheet.  I am sure this technique would have worked effectively, but my concern was the time it would take me to true up the edges of the cut sheet after piercing out the outline of the bangle – I could foresee many hours of filing and emerying to get flush, smooth edges.

Instead, I decided to work with rectangular silver wire.  After cutting two strips of wire to the desired length, I fastened them tightly with binding wire and then soldered both ends together to a distance of a couple of centimetres, effectively fusing the ends to form a single piece.  This left me with a narrow split down the centre of the two pieces which, on bending to begin to form the finished bangle’s shape, opened fractionally, allowing me to insert a wooden wedge.

On fastening the bangle between the rubberised jaws of a vice, I was able to hammer the wooden wedge further and further into the split, thus causing it to open to gently form the navette shape that characterises this bangle.

The squared ends of the bangle then had to be rounded off with a hand file and the whole surface finished using graduated grades of wet and dry paper, tripoli and, for the final polish, rouge.

 

Split Bangle

Split Bangle

Eh voila!  The finished bangle.

I am thrilled with the result and I am pleased to say that my client is too – it now just remains to be seen whether his wife will be as happy when she receives it tomorrow …I’m keeping everything crossed!

By the Light of a Silvery Moon

Well isn’t January just flying by?

At long last I’ve managed to grab a little “me” time to get a couple of new jewellery ideas down on paper. I’ve been rather too fascinated with pendants as neck wear for the past twelve months, and so these two little gems are going to be a bit of a departure for me – and somewhat of an experiment in the making of a complete necklace design.

The inspiration for the first necklace came over the holiday period when we had a particularly clear, beautifully cold and crisp, and exceptionally dark night – I found myself mesmerised by the ghostly crescent moon – she was barely more than a couple of days old as she made her journey across the night sky. I knew I had to pay her homage in crafted silver, and thus the idea for this design began to take shape in my mind.

Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon - to be pierced from sterling silver sheet

I started simply, with a fluid crescent shape to be pierced from silver sheet.  To this I wanted to add a gorgeous array of sterling silver round beads, reminiscent of the moon when she is at her full glory.

I think somewhere in the back of my mind I held this image of a beautiful Celtic Priestess, holding this necklace aloft as she whispered the words of an ancient incantation to the Moon.

Crescent Moon Necklace design sketch

Crescent Moon Necklace design sketch

The Celtic theme was still pulling strongly at my psyche and from that came another, similar, necklace design. This one though will be a little more complex to make than the Crescent Moon piece.

Starting with a sterling silver disc, I plan to etch a celtic knotwork design, punctuated in the centre by a bezel set cabochon of black onyx.

Celtic Knot Necklace design sketch

Celtic Knot Necklace design sketch

Once again, I want to embellish the necklace with beautiful silver beadwork and heavy gauge belcher chain – it will have a weighty and substantial feel to it when complete – a stunning piece against a black sweater.

Celtic Knot Necklace design sketch

Celtic Knot Necklace design sketch

The finishing touch will be the central setting of an 8mm round black onyx cabochon and an oxidised finish to the silver of the celtic knotwork pendant element.

Celtic Knot Necklace design sketch

Celtic Knot Necklace design sketch

Work on these pieces is progressing well – watch out for further news about them here over the next couple of weeks.  I so hope you’re going to just fall in love with them as I have!

A Pendant called Kalea

KALEA is an elegant handmade sterling silver pendant comprising circles within circles, bezel set with a 9mm round cushion-cut faceted Teal Blue Topaz gemstone. The split bail design is simple but adds interest to the piece.

The outside circle of silver is approximately 30 mm in outer diameter and 2.4 mm thick, the inner circle approximatley half that diameter and 2 mm thick. The Teal Blue Topaz gemstone, being cushion cut, catches and reflects the light beautifully.

The piece is quite large and is designed to be worn high up around the neck, at the throat. It thus comes with an elegant solid silver rigid wire choker, with a decorative ball & hook catch. The silver choker is 1.5 mm thick and 42 cm around.

A statement piece that will definitely become a talking point!

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