Craft: jewellery making part 7

This was a little bit of a fail week.  To be honest, I think I’ve had a bit too much luck with experiments recently and it’s probably about time I had a disaster to bring me down a peg or two.  There’s a very good chance I got a bit too carried away with carving without thinking too much about how the shapes would work.  Do you know what?  I’ve learnt from my mistakes, know how I could make things better, and most importantly I don’t feel bad about any of it.

I managed not to stink the class out completely with the weird burning fish smell, only a little bit.  This did raise a few eyebrows but nothing that couldn’t be laughed off.  I don’t know if the outcomes made reactions better or worse.

Pre stalk removal it kind of looked like I’d created a load of weird magnifying glasses.  And a rock.

Post stalk removal we have four questionable rings, and a rock.  The rock was supposed to be a super multifaceted piece.  I didn’t use enough silver or have enough definition in my mould.  Ah well.  If this one had worked, it would have been crazy heavy and not practical at all as a pendant.  As for the rings, I don’t quite know what to say.  To be honest I don’t hate them as much looking the day after.  They aren’t all perfectly lined up, but I do (theoretically) know how to make this work next time.

I think my plan going forward from here is to attempt cleaning the rings up and see if they can become remotely passable as jewellery.  The rock is going straight back in the melting pot.  Right now, I think there’s a high chance everything will end up back in the fire and in a (hopefully) more successful fish.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

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Craft: jewellery prep, cuttlefish

I think I’d mentioned in my last jewellery post that my plan was to try and spend the next session (hopefully not) becoming the most hated person in class by stinking the place out with a batch of cuttlefish.

I’ve done my best to try and take advantage of being able to prep my moulds outside of lesson time. I was honestly never this prepared while I was actually at school. Not entirely sure where this studious attitude has appeared from.

Taking advantage of the pet shop around the corner, I made myself look like a crazy bird lady and stocked up on as many fish as I could fit in my bag. To be fair I didn’t have the biggest bag with me, but thought any more than five seemed a bit excessive. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Luckily, the weather has been nice recently. As much as I love the fact this can be done at home, it is pretty messy and I don’t think my rugs would appreciate the dust. Sat outside with an old wardrobe base as a makeshift table, I found a pretty perfect work space.

Chopping and smoothing was the easy part. I found myself having loads of ideas while doing this first bit of prep, then predictably all the ideas disappeared once the craft knife came out. A couple of beers and a night in the garden helped break through the creative block. Guess which ones were done after liquid inspiration.

I’m not completely convinced by all of these designs, or whether they’ll actually line up properly. Fingers crossed they will. But, if they don’t work out they can always be melted down again. I also have no idea what I’m going to do with the final products if they do work out. Hopefully, I’ll end up with lots of pretty things that will speak for themselves.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

Craft: jewellery making part 6

I may have found my new favourite way to cast silver. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. The method is called cuttlefish casting. I’m quite happy to have a little brag and say I’m very happy with my first attempt.

Here’s the starting point. Bought from a pet shop. Intended for little birds (I think). Not a place you’d traditionally think jewellery comes from.

I missed getting photos of the next steps, but in a nutshell: chop in half, grind to get smooth surfaces, carve a shape, melt silver, pour. Nice and simple. Slightly smelly.

How cool does the burn out look? I somehow managed to melt just enough silver to fill the space, very lucky.

I’m not too sure what it’s supposed to be. Maybe a weird little cartoon moon? Hopefully all the different textures will really stand out once it’s been polished up. Pretty happy with the results. Especially for a first attempt. My favourite thing about this method is the fact the cuttlefish can be prepared away from class. There’s a high chance of me becoming the most hated person at college next week by creating a batch and drinking out the class. So many fish to buy and shapes to create.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

Craft: silver mushrooms

I may have mentioned (once or twice) how much I love the jewellery course I signed up for at the beginning of the year. I love it. It might turn Wednesdays into the longest days every, bit it’s worth all tiredness.

My latest obsession is delft clay casting. Not too complicated (once you kind of have the hang of it), makes use of my ridiculous stash of old buttons, I get to play with the big fire torch, and they look pretty. One of the other ladies on the course joked about my enthusiasm and the mission I seem to have been on the past couple of weeks. It might be time to try something new before I become the weird clay girl in class.

My mission has been quite productive. They will all look prettier after they’re all cleaned up, but before, they look like weird little mushrooms. Possibly drunk, not quite perfectly formed mushrooms.

Am I the only one who finds these little guys pretty cute? I feel like they’d be the base for some simple sketches. Imagine arms, eyes and expressions added on. Doodle mushrooms. Sounds like quite a good photoshop break to me. Especially if it gives me just the right distraction to figure out what to actually do with the cleaned up fellas.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

Craft: jewellery making part 5

When I first started this jewellery making course I was adamant I wanted to stick with base (cheap) metals until I was a master at everything. Yes I was this big headed to think I could become a master jeweller in 16 weeks.

Last week changed this idea. To be clear, not the mastering part, I was well aware after week one becoming an expert would be a long, long journey. I got the chance to try casting silver. This may be my absolute new favourite.

As usual I was wildly unprepared for the class, but luckily everyone else on the course is super lovely with no reservations to help anyone. I borrowed a gorgeous old button, bought some scrap silver and was ready to go.

The process was basically fill a form with this sand thing, press in what you want to cast, fill the other side of the form, pike some holes through, get the silver crazy hot, pour and hope for the best. The level of detail in the burnt out sand was amazing.

I was so impressed with myself at how my first attempt turned out. All the detail came out beautifully. There were just a few knobs on the back that needed sawing off and filing down. That was a fun job.

After my fingers were numb from holding and filing then a good hour or so in the barreller, I’m so happy with the result.

Not too sure what I’m going to do with this now, I’m thinking maybe a pendant. Don’t really know how to do this but I’m sure it’ll all be fine in the end.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

Craft: mini jewellery part one

Playing with metal, fire and pliers is definitely my new favourite past time.

I bought a couple of different thicknesses in copper wire and wasn’t too sure what to do with them at first. While I was playing around with another idea (this should be finished very soon) I realised how much of a difference hammering makes. The fine wire is pretty flimsy on its own, but if you whack it enough it becomes a bit more rigid. A pretty therapeutic process really.

After smacking all my tension away, I had to figure out how to fix these sticks together. Holes would have probably been the most logical way forward, but I don’t have a small enough drill and I think at my skill level the bars would just split. Instead I decided to go with soldering little jump rings on the back and hoping for the best.

So, my rings went a little wonky. Definitely more practice is needed but that’s what experiments are for, right? I love the colours that the heat gives the copper. Technically I should probably clean up and polish these bits but I think I’m going to leave them as they are. A bit of time later and quite a bit of faffing with jump rings and chain, I have a necklace.

It could definitely be a bit more even but I kind of like the whole skew-whiff effect. That’s the story I’m sticking with anyway.

Seeing this all come together relatively quickly has given me a great little creative boost. There are so many ideas running through my head of what I can do next, I just need to make sure I push myself to experiment more and not stick with the same techniques.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx

Craft: jewellery making part 4

This is currently my longest running jewellery project. I think I started this about 4 weeks ago, but now it’s finally finished. So proud. The brief was to create a linkage system and the aim was to practice soldering.

For so long this project was a pile of slightly differently shaped rings. We had to make these ourselves using various metal stakes and then sawing them into individual pieces. This took forever. At this stage I didn’t have much of a plan (what’s a plan?) all I knew is I wanted a mix of shapes and sizes.

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After quite a bit of messing around, I came up with this set up. There’s something pretty satisfying about a repeat pattern. Especially when you have just the right about of rings. This was my first prolonged experience with soldering and what a faff it is. At college we were using a sheet solder that has to be chopped into tiny pieces. My pieces were definitely too big so each ring has quite a bit silver section. I’m going to say this is a design feature to break up the colour of the wire.

When I ordered my first set of jewellery supplies I opted for the premixed solder and flux tube thingy. This could be cheating. I was having too much fun turning my kitchen into a workshop to really care.

After a couple of hours in the barreller, this is what I came home with. So shiny.

So, it’s not exactly my style and I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it out but for my first proper attempt at soldering, I don’t hate it.

More practice is needed but I’ve lost my fear of the fire and can’t wait to get some more projects started.

Stay tuned!

Much love!

Hannah

xxx