Tag Archives: Fine Silver

Spiralling out of Control…

A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.

I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.

Triskele Pendant

Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.


Steampunk Butterfly Part Three

Well, I’ve finally finished my Steampunk Butterfly, having had a wonderfully productive day in the shed with Sally.

I finished the final components, a cog to screw onto the back so that it can be worn as a brooch through a buttonhole on a coat or jacket (it’s way too heavy to be pinned to anything lighter) and some loops for a chain or cord so that it can be worn as a pendant.

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So now it was time to rivet everything together, first a wing, then the body, then the rest of the wings…

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So, I proudly present my Spiny Sharkly Steampunk Butterfly in all it’s glory! Just need to make a chain, I am working on a sympathetic design at the moment…

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Triangulation

My poor Beardy has been suffering with his back somthing rotten this last week, and just when he thought it was passing it’s laid him out again today. So I stuffed him full of painkillers and let him doze in front of the rugby while I bashed this together.

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It’s a crappy photo, but it was dark when I emerged squinting from the shed, so it’s the best I have for now! A triangular cabochon of amethyst is set off beautifully in textured fine silver. Time for similar, bedtime xxxx


Spiralling out of Control…

A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.

I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.

Triskele Pendant

Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.


Incy Wincy Spider…

This enormous purple stone has been glinting at me for quite some time now, I made it into a ring once, but didn’t like it so I recycled it into this cute little spider.  I love making bugs (click here for a previous post!) and he seemed just perfect for this time of the year.  We live in a semi-rural area, and have had some enormous spiders wandering in to the house, which is hilarious when the big beardy biker I share my life is turns into a screaming girly when he sees one – he was tidying up some shoes in the hall the other week, and picked up one of our lad’s plastic spiders, only to realise it wasn’t plastic… I think they heard the screams in the next valley!

I made Incy’s head using a small piece of black Murano glass that I had made in a glass making class, silver clay and eight 1mm white CZs for his eyes – that was a fiddly job, with much swearing 😉  The bezel was soldered to the legs, the shank added, and finally his head popped on – so many joins needed some really careful heating on a very makeshift jig made from copper nails bashed into my fire brick.

 

So after a nice warm bath in the pickle, he was polished up and oxidised, repolished and ready for setting the stone.  I’m really very fond of this one, and by sheer coincidence he’s just my size, but if you’d like one, just give me a shout!

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A Very Happy Customer!

We’re big lovers of nature and finding things when we are out and about here at Spiny Sharkly Things, and a particular favourite haunt is the beach at Llantwit Major, in South Wales.  It’s a fabulous stony beach with a very sharply defined set of dinosaur footprints in some petrified mud flats, and there are many other fossils to be found – from ammonites embedded in rocks the size of a VW Beetle to more manageable fragments of dinosaur bone, shellfish and plants.  I regularly go down there with my husband and eight year old son to just mooch about – “fossicking” as we call it in these parts.

It was on one of these outings that I found this lovely nugget of seaglass – it just glinted at me from amongst the pebbles, so I just had to pick it up.  I gathered a fair bit of driftwood that day too, and when I was back home and rechained to the kitchen sink, I decided to create a ring inspired by the finds of the day.  This was back in the days when my workshop had to double up as  kitchen (or was it the other way around?) and I was only using precious metal clay instead of the sterling bullion that I work with mostly now (in the shed).  I love the way the clay can be easily textured, and until I get a rolling mill, it’s the only way I can get texture into silver that isn’t hammered.  I took a mould of an especially nice piece of driftwood, and made the ring shank from that.  It oxidised beautifully in the liver of sulphur and really gives the feeling of the wood on which in is based.  In my opinion, a perfect combination, and I was really pleased with the final result.

It’s been languishing on eBay for a few months, but that never fazes me, all our creations are individual, unique, and just waiting for the right person to stumble across it and fall in love…  I’ve not been silversmithing for all that long, not even a year yet but I really think I’ve discovered my vocation in life.  I just love working the metal, it whatever form it takes, and what craft gives you chance to hit things with big hammers as well as twiddle about with fine details and create something beautiful, wearable and above all, SHINY!  So everything I make has a lot of myself put into it on the blood, sweat and occasionally tears front (often quite literally!), and it’s usually quite a wrench to let something go.  I’m always happy when they go to a loving home!

As my regular readers will already know, I have just registered with the London Assay Office so I can get my jewellery properly hallmarked, and this ring went off to be verified and stamped a couple of weeks ago.  Sod’s law struck, of course, and I had an alert come through on my phone that the ring had been sold to a lady in Canada…  Cathy had already been in touch to arrange International shipping and so forth, and explained that she had Welsh ancestry, and she had relatives an many parts of Wales, so wanted something Welsh!  After explaining that it would take a week or so before I got it back from London, and all was fine, the ring was sent across the Atlantic to Ontario.

I just wanted to share this lovely message I received yesterday from Cathy…

Hi Melanie, I wanted to tell you how amazingly beautiful this ring is! I’ve been wearing it since it arrived and it’s incredible — when the light hits it, there is an inner light that shines like a tiny beacon and is wonderful to behold! Also, the surface markings and crenellations are so exquisitely intricate, it’s great to observe how it responds to all light patterns! I’m so thrilled with it and it’s especially dear, because it’s Welsh — Diolch yn Fawr! I used to know quite a bit of Welsh, but most of it has slipped away with the passing of time — my Mother-in-law is a native Welsh speaker and used to be a teacher, so hers is still beautifully perfect. Thanks again for all your help and I do hope that you’re having a wonderful evening. Cathy

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That will do nicely 😉


Not a Cannabis Leaf

When I had my son eight years ago, we bought a maple tree to celebrate his safe arrival and I’m proud to say that they both seem to be surviving my tender ministrations so far!  It has some very frilly leaves which I wanted to transfer to silver, and clay was the obvious choice (until I get a rolling mill, mwahaha!).  A simple disc which I domed and set in a circle displays the texture beautifully.  A little natural oxidation as it is worn means this pretty, natural piece will only mature and improve with a little age…  It moves freely on the bail, just like leaves in the wind.

Think I’ll make some more before autumn!

This one is being donated as a raffle prize for a Welsh Blogger’s event being held in Cardiff next month. Really looking forward to that, watch this space for my report on it.


Bugged

I really love bugs, except for real ones… I like cute, shiny bugs that don’t scuttle, bite, sting or generally move.  Nature hasn’t supplied my world with any of those particular ones, so I have to make my own.  I made my first one back in February as a way to use up some PMC3 I had left at the end of a class, and he came out really well.  Bob (sorry) sits on my workbench and keeps me company in my shed.  I tried making him some friends a couple of months ago, but they all came out a bit deformed and currently reside in a comfortable old tobacco tin for special needs bugs who find it difficult to find gainful employment.

Bob

So bugs went on the back burner a bit, until today.  I dug out my box of dichroic glass cabochons that I had selected as good bug bodies and cracked on.  I use ArtClay silver 650 slow dry clay with glass that has an expansion coefficient of 90 (COE90) and as the clay shrinks, the glass expands and they fuse together.  That’s done with the science bit!

A little spell in my new tumbly machine to harden and burnish the silver, and we have two lovely, shiny bugs – one beetle and a dragonfly.

Dragonfly

Beetle

Dead Dragonfly!


Beloved’s Birthday

School holidays have taken their toll on not just time to be creative, but time to blog about it as well.  It was Beardy’s birthday last week, and as well as a solid silver guitar pick, I also made him a pendant using a leaf from his favourite tree, a small oak in our garden which we have had from an acorn.

 

When I first started working with precious metal clay and did it all by the book, there was a project that involved painting a lots of slip onto the back of a leaf, and firing with the leaf in situ.  But at that stage, I didn’t have enough scrap clay to make slip with, so never tried. Until this month…

 

I chose a few likely candidates to try apart from the oak leaf, namely a couple of maple leaves, ivy leaves and a beech leaf.  Many layers of slip painted on and dried on a mug warmer later, it was time to clean all the clay from the front of the leaves and do a little light filing around the edges, but not too much, because it was so delicate at this stage.  A very smoky five minutes under the blowtorch, and some more filing and tidying, and the finished article emerged.  Beardy was very pleased with it, but still preferred his Ford Mustang seatbelt belt…. Hey ho.

 


Leaf Me Alone…

I just love the textures you can find in nature, and combining them with shiny silver really floats my boat.  This elegant 18mm domed disc pendant on an 18″ sterling silver belcher chain features the impression of a skeleton leaf, the texture of the veins are defined by an oxidised finish.

You can buy it here!

Fine Silver Leaf Skeleton Pendant, £25


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