Tag Archives: PMC

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.

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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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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.

 


The Claws are Out

In amongst all the post that awaited me when I got home from my mum’s was a book on stone setting I had completely forgotten I had ordered.


So I put on my “how hard can it be?” head, and as usual, realised that the answer is “very”… No change there then.

There was an 8mm labradorite cabochon knocking about, so I thought I’d have a go at a claw setting, as up until now I’ve just done rubover settings.  I didn’t want to risk wasting any silver, and copper goes nicely with labradorite, so I used that.  The results aren’t perfect, but for a first attempt at a totally new technique, I’m quite pleased!


Button It

I’m totally obsessed with buttons. One of our favourite weekend sans enfant activities is to mooch around the junk shops of places like Hay-on-Wye, and Beardy loses the will to live while I spend hours fossicking through baskets of buttons looking for inspiration, ideas and things to spend his money on. One of my favourites is an old five-hole jobbie I found in the soil on my allotment a few years ago, so I made a mould and cast it in silver… Cracked bakelite buttons don’t look much in the flesh, but turn them into metal, and they are quite something – it’s the texture that does it for me. And of course all those holes are just begging for something sparkly…

I think it’s rings I like to make best of all, and buttons are just perfect for that, a little bit of whimsy on your finger goes a long, long way. I’ve been mixing silver with copper, making shanks from hammered silver, woven wire (well, my mum did that bit, years of plaiting horses’ manes and tails certainly came in useful!) and plain copper with a silky satin finish.

I’ve made some copper buttons too, so will be busy over the next week turning them into something wearable too – as well as some wonderful vintage mother-of-pearl buttons which are begging to become bracelets and pendants.

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Fiddly.

I finished my fiddliest project to date today, a pair of Victorian inspired silver earrings with lovely big blue spinel stones for one of my aunties.  Normally when I make these, I use 7x5mm or 8x6mm cabochons, but these spinels are a whopping 11x9mm and faceted to boot!  So rather than make a bezel from sheet silver soldered to the central oval of the earring, I cut it out entirely and made a mount from wire.  Quite tricky, but worth the effort, I think.  🙂


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