Monday, 1 May 2017

Silversmithing, the beginning of something wonderful (I hope!)

Okay so it's been a while, life is just so busy at the moment between family, work and my latest passion Silversmithing.  I'm only just beginning to learn silversmithing, actually attending a class, which is something big for me as I usually prefer to self learn through practice, trial and error, but when playing with fire and expensive materials I thought it was probably best to go and learn how to do things properly.

So how is it going you may ask?, well I am only a few weeks in and still getting to understand the basics, building my tool kit and practicing what I have learnt so far, but I think this is definitely something that will grow and grow and I hope to carry on doing for a long time.  So today I thought I would show a step by step process for a new bird design I have been working on using some of the new techniques.  The plan was to take some basic shapes, oval and circles and create some bird designs keeping the 'waste' to a minimum, so this is how it went....

1. Cut an oval from copper.  I used a die for this.  Mark out an 'S' shape to create 2 bird'ish' shapes, then cut. I have used my trusty metal scissors but you could use a piercing saw (I haven't used one of those yet lol!)
2. Get to work with the files. I used small needle files to refine the shape and to create a small beak
3. I hammered one of them for some texture before refining and just sanded the other as I wanted to solder that one.
4. I then cut some wings, I used Sterling Silver 0.5 sheet for this and again used a die to cut the circle, marked up with an 'S' to create the wing shapes
5. I then sweat soldered the wing into place for one design.  I used tiny pieces of solder for this to try and keep it as clean as possible, then hammered this piece for texture after pickling and cleaning. For the second design I embossed the silver with a leaf design and used a sterling silver rivet to hold in place
6.  I next drilled some holes and used sterling jump rings to hang from sterling silver chain, then cleaned, polished and they are ready to go.

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your interest.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Soldering - Learning more every day

No idea what happened to February, I blinked and there it was gone! I almost missed my monthly blog and just scraped in by the skin of my teeth with 2 days left in the month!

So what has been happening here then.  Well I have continued my love affair with copper and solder and been teaching myself (with the help of my hubby) to solder.  Hubs used to repair video cameras before he retired so is a whiz at soldering, so when I asked him to teach me off he went up to the loft and brought down this beastie.
Needless to say it scared the heck out of me, but I pulled my big girl pants up and after watching him for a while I had a go.  Took several attempts to learn the technique without getting burnt, over melting the solder or making a big mess lol!.  and eventually we found that this kit was a bit overkill and instead swapped to his pyro pen which gives off a more gentle heat and you don't actually need to touch the metal with it. 

I used basic lead free solder with 4% silver for now, which is fine for what I am doing as it's not actually on the outside of the metal and only being used to fuse the pieces together.  I'm hoping to progress onto silver though once I'm actually brave enough to use the proper flame!  Once fused I just clean and take my hammer to it.

The top right hand square became some pretty components with linear hammer texture. After sanding cutting and drilling they were used in these earrings, paired with turquoise tube beads.

Being able to fuse metal together now has opened up a whole new world in terms of design so I have been busy drawing designs on my i-pad for future projects, this is one of my favourites that I made this weekend

Using the same basic design I also made this one, thinking of calling it the bubble collection as I can see me making several things in this design, already have another three things with this design on my sketch pad.

You can see these and other new designs at my new Folksy Shop Max Pring Jewellery (link is just up on the right hand side of the screen) which I set up last weekend.  Paper, Chains & Beads will continue to run but will be mainly for Scrapbooks and Art.

Thanks for stopping by, now what shall I try next?

Friday, 6 January 2017

My New Obsession, Copper, Silver & a Hammer

Happy New Year, may 2017 bring you health, happiness and contentment.  It is my New Years Resolution for 2017 to blog at least once a month, so here we go with the first one.

Santa aka my hubby gave me tools for Christmas, what a gem he is. I have been dying to try them out and finally got a full day at my workbench this week to see if I could create some of the things I have been sketching as ideas for 2017.

My current love is for anything made with metal and gemstones, so have been working with sheet copper and silver and lots of lovely and unusual gemstones, it feels great to be making something from scratch and every piece feels like a little work of art.

Here's a step by step look at one of my new pieces

Step 1 - cut out basic shapes for the design, Copper, Sterling Silver and those fab beads are Kyanite

Step 2 - drill some holes, I have an archemedes drill as I prefer to do this by hand

Step 3 - add some texture, I used a ball hammer on some, and embossing plates on others for a bit of variety, also slightly domed using a doming block to add interest
Step 4 - add some patina, these all took a bath in some liver of sulfer, then I polished them
Step 5 - Assembly.  I used Sterling Silver wire and jump rings and copper chain to finish, click the pic if you want to see more details.

Here's another I made shown alongside the sketch, click on the pic if you want to see more details

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found it interesting to see the my making process, I will be back next month with another show and tell.