Our first project is to create a piece of jewellery which uses some sort of linkage system, but something a bit more innovative than jump rings. I had several thoughts in my sketchbook but I really liked the idea of using bookbinding stitches and silk to join the metal and my tentative thoughts became this design for a bracelet.
Plaques of reticulated brass, pierced with holes and embroidered with feather stitch in silk and then joined using french link stitch.
I cut some pieces of card, painted them gold-ish and made some paper templates to pierce them so I could experiment with some mock ups. Different weights of silk.
And the french link stitch, which worked really well.
Then I tried the feather stitch and the french link stitch out on three pieces of golden card to get a feel for how the whole thing would look. Different thread for the feather stitch – rayon cord this time.
I was determined to get the hang of reticulation and with five pieces to reticulate I prepared for an evening at the hearth. It took a bit of doing, but I’m stubborn and I learn quickly and I cracked it! Each piece was slightly better and quicker than the last.
You can tell that the last one was the first piece that I did!
I also had set my heart on having a piece of brass with a melted hole in it. Several other people had ended up melting holes in their brass instead of reticulating it and I really wanted to combine a hole with textured embroidery.
But could I get my brass to hole? Could I hell as like! It took me 45 minutes of heating, quenching, pickling and scrubbing, trying out different sized blowtorches and sweating and swearing in the heat before the edge suddenly vanished and I was able to run the torch up the metal to get this:
Not quite the smooth, molten hole that other people had managed, but I can definitely do something with this. 😮