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Posts Tagged ‘ring’

I’ve been upcycling jewellery recently and having a lot of fun putting bits and pieces together to make something from nothing. I had a small lot of vintage 1970s silver tone ring blanks which were crying out for some nuggets of sea glass.

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Then I used freshwater pearls and seed and bugle beads in a variety of shades of green to create a set of sea-themed dangles for my Mermaid’s Garden dangle ring. The centre is finished with a piece of ‘coral’ I beach-combed from Claigan Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye as a child in the 1970s. I always thought it was actually coral, but according to the internet it’s ‘desiccated and sun-bleached algae’ which is much less attractive sounding!

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Then an assemblage piece – Ship’s Wheel Locket. The original vintage goldtone locket had a slight depression in the front so I shaped a piece of polished broken abalone to fit into it and then added a lovely ship’s wheel charm on top of that so the sea green swirls of the abalone can be glimpsed through the spokes of the wheel.

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Lastly I reverted to embroidery for the Cottage Garden pendant. This gold tone pendant had a pierced pattern around the edge which was just begging to have some sort of thread added. I chose a heavy Caron cotton thread in lovely muted cottage garden shades and added a simple row of slanted stitches, following the pattern of the holes.

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Then it occurred to me that I could do a sort of back-stitched spider’s web around the champagne coloured diamantes and turn them into flowers, which worked very well.

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Always good when a plan comes together.

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Back in May we had a goldwork initial workshop with Brenda Scarman and I started to work a letter ‘O’ for a birthday card for my mother. As it was her birthday a couple of weeks ago I can finally reveal something I’ve finished!

At the end of the workshop I had got this far:

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I simplified the scrolls in the middle due to the thickness of the double couching thread and added more chips of silver purl, silver seed beads, turquoise bugle beads and french knots to the border.

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Not happy with the squashed spiral on the lower left, so I restitched that.

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Carried on beading and french knotting…

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…until it was finally finished.

And then I decided I preferred it up the other way!

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Simply framed with grey card to become a special birthday card. And a finish!!

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I’ve also upcycled an odd clip on earring front to make a beaded brooch

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…and turned some of my huge collection of sea glass and china into rings.

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Loads more projects still to get stuck into though!

 

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Thank you all for your comments on the green quartz vintage necklace. I was leaning towards number 4 myself, so it’s good to know that other people liked that one too. In the meantime I’ve been playing with some more upcycling. First, a vintage brass ring which was just crying out for some embroidery in the centre.

Desert Rose ring 1

I measured the centre of the bezel, drew an appropriate sized circle on vilene and filled it with a mixture of eyelets and French knots in a variegated blue and copper coloured cotton thread.

Desert Rose ring 2

I cut it out, stabilised the back with Modge Podge and prepared to add it to the ring. It was too big. By some way. Back to the drawing board. This time I changed my mind as to the colour. The copper didn’t work with the soft gold of the ring, so I went for an old gold and dusty crimson variegated thread. (And I measured the circle more carefully this time…) In progress…

Desert Rose ring 3

…and finished and mounted in the ring. I’m so pleased with the colour this time. I’ve called it Desert Rose and put it into my Etsy shop here.

Desert Rose ring 4

Then I found a vintage brooch with turquoise/blue rhinestones around the edge but its central stone missing. I ran up a blue silk ribbon rose inside a wreath of feather stitch on some hand dyed silk dupion and mounted it over a dome of vilene to replace the centre.

Blue ribbon rose brooch 1

Blue ribbon rose brooch 2

That can be found here.

And finally I took the sad and sorry remains of a vintage brass and glass bead necklace apart and put it back together with some vintage copper/turquoise faux pearls, modern glass beads – turquoise rondelles and tiger striped ovals…

Turquoise drop necklace 1

…hand made glass beads with amber nodules on the surface…

Turquoise drop necklace 2

…and a fabulous hand made green/turquoise glass focal bead I’d been saving for such an occasion…

Turquoise drop necklace 3

…to create this:

Turquoise drop necklace 4

Which is also in my Etsy shop here.

To celebrate my little burst of creativity and the run up to Christmas, (and hopefully encourage some buyers!) I’ve created a discount code.

If you enter TOPAZ1 at the checkout from now until the 20th of December 2014 then you can get 20% off any item – vintage, upcycled or handmade jewellery – from my Etsy shop.

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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.

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

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…before I could get to this point.

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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(

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

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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.

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

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Last week was the final session of my jewellery making and silversmithing course in Sheffield and this week I’ve felt there is a definite hole in my life.  

A reticulated hole

I want to continue my metalworking very much, but reluctantly I won’t be rejoining the class in September for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s an eighty minute drive there, meaning I’m actually driving for nearly three hours in total on top of a full working day and two and half hours intensive work in the workshop. Also despite my attempts to drive economically I’m using £20 worth of fuel for each 100 mile round trip, which has added over £300 onto the original cost of the course.

I’m investigating courses in Grimsby and Hull, both within an hour’s travelling time and hoping I can start one of those in the new year. Until then, I hope I’ve stored up enough of the things I can’t do at home to keep me going.

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So last week I had a plan. A ring to finish, a beloved pair of earrings with a broken integral earhook which needed a new earhook making from silver wire and then soldering onto the earring, bales to solder, loads of stuff for the barreller and more domes to shape.

I decided to make some of the domes from this piece of impressed brass.

Impressed brass piece

 

Impressed domes

The doming process altered the texturing from the impressing slightly but I like the effect and it’s nicely different from the hammered domes I also made.

Hammered domes

Should give me plenty to do when I start adding the silk cocoons.

The earring took three goes to solder but is mended beautifully, the pieces in the barreller are ready to be transformed into jewellery and I got two bales soldered. The big project was the ring and it’s almost finished, just a minor bit of tidying up to do. 

More on the ring in my next post.

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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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I adore jewellery and just before Christmas I signed up for a jewellery making and silversmithing course at one of the Sheffield colleges. It’s a six month course with no big qualification attached, just a college certificate, but I wanted to do something  unusual, something that would be a challenge and something where I could explore another creative medium. Quite a jump from needle and thread – not that I’m abandoning my textile work, just widening my skill base.

Like many British women, my opportunities for experiences with resistant materials at school were very limited. I’m familiar with a range of tools because I was allowed to poke around in my dad’s workshops/sheds as a child, but metalworking was all very new. And scary. And fascinating.

The first week we were thrown into the world of pickling, hammering, annealing, shaping and soldering and given a piece of gilding metal (copper zinc alloy) to turn into a ring. To my amazement I not only made one, I went home wearing it.

First hammered ring 1

It has a simple hammered texture that I love and that came up like rose gold on the polishing wheel. The join is wonky where I didn’t cut straight because I was concentrating on not snapping the fine blade of the hacksaw and also not cutting  into the opposite side of the ring.

First hammered ring 2

The gap was too wide and the soldering is blotchy and obvious, but as a first attempt, well out of my comfort zone, I was very satisfied.

First hammered ring 3

The next week our first task was to come in and make another ring straight off, remembering the techniques from the first week. I decided to use a punch to texture my metal but it wasn’t a success, giving only a partial shape which I had to go with. I hammered it as well, just to try to salvage the mess. This is how the metal looks before polishing. A much better cut and join this time, so I am improving.

Punched and hammered ring 1

After polishing. I quite like the partial marks from the punch now; almost like hieroglyphs.

Punched and hammered ring 2

And a much better soldered join.

Punched and hammered ring 3

The second week we also looked at other techniques for altering the metal including oxidising copper to get a wonderful range of magentas and purples. It seems a bit hit and miss – well certainly for me as a novice. I just heated the copper, quenched it and had a look at what I’d got. if I didn’t like it I stuck it into the acid bath and tried again, but this I did like.

Oxidised copper 1

I love the colours and the ringed spots remind me of Kaffe Fassett textiles. And yes, I guess even working with metal, for me, it all comes back to textiles at some point.

Oxidised copper 2

At the end of the evening, the tutor told us to start thinking about ways we could take some of our pieces of altered metal and finish them into items of jewellery. It’s a long drive home from Sheffield with plenty of time for thinking and by the time I got home I had ideas…

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