Thursday, 29 October 2015

Item # 96

Long, Slim Pendant

I have been trying to get the number of items in my shop up to 100 before the holiday shopping season starts. This just became number 96. I'm getting there.

I liked the first long, slim pendant I made (see below) so decided to create another version.

I had a strip of reticulated sterling on my bench (I guess my Scottish ancestry demands I find uses for the leftovers – in the kitchen or the shop), so decided to build upon it as the accent and bail. For the actual pendant, I cut a long (2 1/2 inch) narrow strip of sterling.

End Result 

Counting Down the Days

Almost ready for the christmas season!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

What Now?

A Ring? A Brooch? Pendant?

I ran the cast silver weed through the tumbler (only way to polish all those tiny bits). It looks great but the question now becomes, what does it want to be?

It would be neat looking as a ring but I figure it would snag on your clothing, table cloths, towels, other people's clothing.... Maybe not practical!

Suggestions welcome

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

October 20

Cast  – But Not in Stone

Have I ever mentioned that I love casting silver? I have done cuttle fish castings (see post of October 6) and lost wax (see my Tiki Pendant below). This month, I took a botanicals casting workshop. Fascinating.

Burn, Baby, Burn

When you cast lost wax, you encase a wax model in a plaster-like substance in a steel flask, then use a kiln to melt the wax out, leaving a cavity into which you force molten silver. I love melting silver. It's pure alchemy.  To cast bits of plant material, you encase twigs, leaves or other plant bits in the same plaster but, when you put the flasks into the kiln, instead of melting, your "model" burns — leaving a cavity that exactly reproduces it when the silver flows in.

Out of the Mold

Left: a photo of my casting after washing the plaster investment away. At the moment, it sure doesn't look much like silver, does it?

I chose to cast a sprig of cedar and a clipping of a strange, fleshy weed that loves my vegetable garden. A sort of vengeance, I guess, to incinerate something I've been fighting  all summer!

Both items were attached to a single sprue (the "pipe" that the silver flows through) so, once I got the casting  onto my bench, I had to cut them apart.

I ended up with the two plant bits in silver and a strange silver sprue that looks like a tree stump — sort of appropriate.

This is all part of a long-term project for next spring's BC Gem Show. The Creative Jewellers Guild has chosen "botany" as our theme for 2016.

My plan is to mount some tiny stones on the cedar sprig.What to do with the weed is still eluding me!

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October 6

In Private Hands

I am getting ready to ship this custom made item to the lovely client who asked me to set the stone for her. To follow the steps in making this, see my blog of September 18. I started thinking of the things I have made to order — or for myself, friends or family. So here are some of them.

Debbie's Iolite Pin

That pretty purple stone is called iolite. This one was mined in Australia and hand cut by a talented artisan. The stones are also found in India, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Brazil.

At 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, iolite is not a stone suitable for use in rings. Somehow, this one seemed to be saying "pin" to me. I came up with this design to provide protection for the emerald cut stone while admitting as much light as possible to enhance its wonderfully deep color. I used reticulated sterling so the silver brings its own sparkle to the piece. Besides, the client and I both like that textured look.

And Her Pendant

Here is the pendant I made for Debbie's zircon and beryl. Our fondness for reticulated silver is evident in this piece, too.

My post of July 23 shows the process involved in making this item. Debbie and I both wanted these two stones to pair up in a pendant. The yellow-green of the beryl is intensified by the pure white of the zircon set above it.

You may not know what beryl is, but I bet you know its deep green variation, the emerald, and its greenish-blue one, the aquamarine. It can also be found in pink and, rarely, red.

Earrings in Blue

A couple of years ago, I made this pair of earrings for a returning customer. The blue stone is apatite.

Some years earlier, I "beached" a lovely aquamarine for her as a brooch (below). It was a near-match for one she bought from my shop as a gift. She was, by the way, my first etsy customer.

That setting is cast by carving the shape in cuttlefish bone (yes, the same stuff you put in a cage for your bird to sharpen its beak on!).

Finally, here is the lapis lazuli set I made for myself and a rectangular cuttlefish cast pendant I did for my daughter-in-law.