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Posts Tagged ‘acorn cup’

After having stitched the next section of ribbon for the glazing bars of the Temperate House at Kew down with stab stitches, it was clear that the original blanket stitches had to come out. Much better.

This has made it less bulky, so I decided to take Rachel’s (VirtuoSew Adventures) advice and run the bars right across the background.

Next I need some white thread for the thinner vertical bars, but there is white and white, as I found out a few years ago when I stitched a whitework piece and discovered that the threads I thought were identical under artificial light certainly were not in daylight! So I’m leaving the thread matching for a day with good natural light.

I’ve just added this sweet little upcycled sea glass brooch to my Etsy shop. It was one of those satisfying moments when after having trawled through a large pile of sea glass finding pieces that were almost but not quite right, I picked up this gorgeous green oval and it clicked into the vintage brass brooch setting like it had been made for it.

As if I didn’t have enough projects on the go, this week I’ve started a little or nué design of an acorn. I painted it onto some indigo dyed calico, left over from the Persian Chandelier piece with my Inktense sticks, which I love.

Then I started couching down the gold threads, using Pearsall’s ‘Gossamer’ thread. It’s so thin, it’s literally like stitching with spider’s web, so perfect for the job. It was a bit challenging to make the gold thread turn as tightly as possible at the ends , but so far, so good.

As I approached the edge of the acorn, I realised I hadn’t made things easy for myself. I was going to hit the acorn at an angle, rather than straight and this was going to potentially make it more difficult to get the shading right.

However, considering the amount of time it had already taken me to get this far with the gold, I have decided to keep on and see what happens. If nothing else, it will be an important lesson and remind me to do a bit more research before I blithely jump into a brand new technique!

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Some time ago I cast a very flat acorn cup in silver with the intention of using it to hold embroidery as the bezel of a ring.
Silver acorn cup ring 1

Silver acorn cup ring 2

I turned the rest of my scrap silver into a flat sheet and cut a section for the shank of the ring which I textured with lace before cutting out the shape I’d designed for the shank.

Silver acorn cup ring 3

The shank formed and soldered.

Silver acorn cup ring 4

I don’t know if it’s me, but the silver seemes more ready to melt and reticulate than the brass I’ve used for most of my work and the solder joint actually fused and reticulated slightly.

Silver acorn cup ring 5

So there was a fair amount of cleaning up to do…

Silver acorn cup ring 6

…before I could get to this point.

Silver acorn cup ring 7

I managed to clean up the mess at the back fairly successfully so was extra careful when soldering the cup onto the shank. It was looking like a textbook solder…when the back of the shank suddenly slumped and I ended up with another fused reticulated mess, and one that is going to be less easy to sort than the back. :o(

Silver acorn cup ring 8

It was literally half a second and by the time I’d pulled the torch off, the damage was done.

Silver acorn cup ring 9

Luckily I’d always intended that this was to be for me and the ring still fits nicely, the fusing being hidden when it’s worn.

Silver acorn cup ring 10

Silver acorn cup ring 11

A learning experience and the end result, although flawed, is still unusual and wearable.

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My tutor is keen for me to start working in silver but at the moment, as I’m not selling any of my jewellery, the cost is a bit of a worry. However, I do want to move into silver and also take advantage of the opportunity to try different techniques on my course so the other week I gathered up some scrap silver (broken jewellery) I’d got and decided to try some casting.

Some while ago I picked up these wonderful flat acorn cups…

Acorn cups

…and inspired by their flat frame like shapes, made some tiny embroideries to put into them.

Acorn cup spiral embroidery

What if…I could cast one in silver to become a bezel for a ring with embroidery inside it?

It took most of the evening, learning how to hammer the Delft clay solidly into the mould and make channels to let the silver in and the air out, marvelling at how incredibly the clay, which is more like a mouldable sand, holds the finest details of the acorn cup.

Then melting oddments of silver in a crucible on the hearth with the biggest blowtorch. Fighting the blinding afterglow in the centre of my vision to swiftly tip the contents of the crucible into the mould with everything mentally crossed that after two hours work setting the mould up that it would work when we opened it. It was pretty intense.

And the delight when my perfect silver acorn cup emerged from the charred clay was worth it all.

Silver acorn cup 1

With the original. I can’t believe the fine detail inside the cup.

Silver acorn cup 2

All that’s been done is I’ve cut off the excess silver from the back and it’s been polished in the barreller.

Silver acorn cup 3

Trouble is, I’m not sure I want to put some embroidery into the cup and hide all that fine detail now.

Silver acorn cup 4

Oh well, another one for the creative subconscious to work on while I get stuck into all the other projects clamouring for attention.

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