Saturday, October 30, 2010
My friend gave me a bead that she got from a music festival over the summer and asked me to do something with it. I revisited the wrapped wire frame design that has figured prominently in my previous work.
I created seven loops to attach the spike details. All of the wire and findings are sterling silver. I really rather like this side of the piece as one can see the carved detail of the bead more clearly as it is not obscured by the coloring of the stone.
I opted to use a graceful "S" clasp design to add more interest to the back. I can't wait for her to see what I have done with her bead!
Monday, October 25, 2010
A friend sent me a piece of red coral and gave me creative carte blanche to make a piece for her. It was a sizable chunk, larger on one side than the other. As I mused over its form, it seemed that on its side, the shape was evocative of a heart. So I decided to utilize some of the new skills that I had learned at Bead and Button this past spring in Susan Lenart Kazmer's class - Relics, Riveting, and Staples. I would mount the piece on a back plate with a head pin through a silver disc which would hold the coral in place and would also serve as a decorative element in the pendant. I also decided to do something totally new for me and put a word onto the pendant. I chose "amore" to reflect upon the heart shape, but also because this person is such a warm-hearted, passionate person, it just really seemed to resonate through and through.
I took a plate of sterling silver and after determining the dimensions, I used my new jewelers saw to cut the piece to its designated size.
Safety glasses are always sexy.
In this picture, I am filing the sharp edges of the metal plate and rounding the corners.
So now at this point I have my blank plate, and a head pin that I created with my torch. It was critical to get the properly sized gauge wire that fit the hole of decorative disk for a secure fit.
In keeping with the organic nature of the coral, I hand chased the surface with hammer-struck punches to create visual interest and a natural visual transition.
I didn't take pictures of the process of stamping the word "amore" onto the piece. It required my full attention to properly place the letters.
It was also an adventure getting a small drill bit to create a hole to fit the the diameter of my wire. Fortunately, I got some advice to pick up metal drill bits locally at a welding supply shop which are used in that trade for cleaning welders. They worked brilliantly! And it was totally a bonus that they were inexpensive and I could support a local business.
I then oxidized the silver part of the pendant, wire, chain, and clasp prior to putting the elements together. Liver of sulfur would have damaged the delicate coral.
After I designed and assembled the necklace, I methodically polished the surfaces to get a soft luster.
Red coral pieces really complemented the focal point of the necklace.
This is a close-up of the clasp of the necklace.
The pendant turned out beautifully. There is also a signature secret stamp on the back of the piece.
The necklace is a vibrant, completely unique piece. It was such a pleasure to have someone trust me to create this special, timeless treasure.