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Posts Tagged ‘leaf’

I’ve been asked to make a tunic and hooded cowl for a friend who is just starting Live Action Role Play (LARP). The cowl will need a fastening and it occurred to me as I was clipping seams and struggling to turn things inside out, that instead of communing with my button box, I actually now have the skills to custom make a metal button!

After consultation with the friend and a bit of a mooch on the internet for outline images, we chose two leaf designs, one oak and one maple, and I scribed them onto a piece of annealed brass.

Leaf buttons 1

Then I set to with the piercing saw. Cutting shapes so small (about an inch across) and so intricate was a real challenge, but much to my delight, I managed it with the loss of only one blade.

Leaf buttons 2

Next, the fun bit: finding a suitable hammer in the garage and using it to texture the leaves.

Leaf buttons 3

It hasn’t given as crisp a hammered look as I can achieve with the tools in the workshop, given that it was a domestic tool against the metal end of the workbench vice, but I actually like the rougher look just as much.

Leaf buttons 4

Leaf buttons 5

Then I measured, marked and drilled the holes with one of my new drill bits which is supposed to be resistant to breakage, and actually managed all four holes with a still intact bit which has to be a first as well!

Leaf buttons 6

Both buttons, start to finish in under an hour. All they need now is to sit in the barreller for an evening and they’ll be ready for the recipient to choose which one will be the finishing touch for the cowl.

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Now I’ve started to get the hang of reticulation, it’s actually quite hard to get the holes I was intially looking for, so when I produced this (mostly unholed)piece, I decided to cut shapes out and find ways of working them into jewellery.

Beaded leaf 1

My first idea was to cut circles and use them a bit like shishas, but the strong fan shape at the top was too tempting to resist, so I cut that out too.

Beaded leaf 2

A bit like half a leaf.

Beaded leaf 3

During the long drive home, I started to play with ideas involving using the metal as one side of the leaf and having the other side embroidered. To give a solid textured finish, I went for one of my favourite embroidery stitches, detached buttonhole stitch in hand dyed mercerised cotton on dark green silk dupion.

Beaded leaf 4

With the barrelled and polished brass section.

Beaded leaf 5

And with the stitching completed.

Beaded leaf 6

Long bullion knots had worked very well on the Volcano pendant for holding the metal in place. Here I thought they would look like stylised veins on the leaf.

The green thread worked well and was very forgiving over such a long distance and then I had a brainwave of going for a mirror image effect by using gold thread over the detached buttonhole stitch.

Beaded leaf 7

Using the gold thread was pretty nerve-wracking as it was stiffer and a lot trickier to pull through layers of fabric and thread while keeping the wraps even. It also made a horrible noise as it came through as if it was stripping the metal off the core, but in spite of that it also behaved remarkably well.

Beaded leaf 8

And laid down much more neatly than I expected. Seen this close up there seems to be an awful lot of the yellow silk core showing but it looks a lot more sparkly and evenly covered in real life.

Beaded leaf 9

At this point I was really pleased with the effect and moved on to cutting out a matching leaf shape from some Vilene and covering it with the metal and embroidery.

Beaded leaf 10ame

The same silk as the background was used to cover another piece for the back.

Beaded leaf 11

But I didn’t like it. Without the green silk surrounding it, the leaf looked and felt chunky and blocky. It definitely needed some sort of border or edging to set off the central embroidery. I didn’t want to have to undo it all and add in extra fabric, so I went for a simple line of seaweed green seed beads around the edge and worked a border of light green beads accented with metallic dark copper into that.

Beaded leaf 12

It was exactly the finishing touch it needed, offsetting the heavy embroidery of the centre and lightening the whole thing.

Beaded leaf 13

Not quite finished though. It’s actually only 4.5cm/just under 2 inches long. Is that too small for a pendant? Would it be better as a brooch?

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