Ever since last year when I did a silversmithing course and I made a little silver pendant and thwacked around some brass and copper, I’ve been wanting to make jewellery. I’ve slowly been gathering the things I need to work with metal at home. It’s one thing to do it all in a workshop where all your needs are met; it’s a totally nother thing to do it at home when you have to buy a lot of expensive equipment up front.
I did enroll in a course that was then cancelled so I was left a bit bereft. There is nothing like learning in a supportive environment how to do something and to gain confidence.
You need somewhere to work, all the tools: cutting, shaping, filing, holding, clamping, sanding, stamping, soldering, pickling, polishing. And THEN you need the materials you are using – and that includes the metal, any findings and solder and flux and wire.
As it turns out this is a LOT of money in the initial set up, also it’s hard to know what you want or need if you don’t know you want or need it. If you don’t have the next tool for the job everything comes grinding to a massive halt, which has been what I’ve found – a bit of progress followed by a massive halt until I purchased the next ‘thing’ and then I had to wait till I was able to work on something again.
I have made oh, OH so many mistakes.
I got some nickel alloy (Nickel, copper, random other stuff) which looks silver and isn’t something that tarnishes easily, to practice on. I drew up designs and cut them out. That is of course when I discovered I had the wrong type of saw blades.
I cut out, snapping many a saw blade on the way! filed, then sanded. I ran the pieces through a metal press with various gauges of woven wire I had to impress them, wish I’d not done that at all now. I tried stamping in some words and I really also wish I’d not done that now. I had a grinding wheel which turns out I need polishing pads however I did have a polish attachment for a drill, so I used that with some polishing compound leftover from someone else’s project.
My efforts over a few months of not working on it very often is this: 4 dinosaurs, a brass stylised bird, and a little David Bowie head with a lightening strike in brass soldered on. I have not included a dinosaur with another failed soldered bit (sigh) and one I dropped at one point and so I have not finished:
The bowie pendent I mounted on some beading wire and seed beads and have given it to a friend (actually I think she gave me the seed beads from a project of hers!) after texturing the background with a hole punch to try and hide the bad filing. It’s very much a prototype, I messed up big time some stuff on it – too much solder that seeped out and then I had to file it back and that left gouge marks in the metal.
I consider this a prototype for things I will make later. It’s cute though, and recognisable.
The dinosaurs I tried stamping with stuff and it looked stupid so I turned them around and put them on a necklace:
Looks quite nice against a plain top. I will wear them. I will happily reuse some of these designs.
The other dinosaur turned out ok – I threaded a bunch of vintage plastic and freshwater pearls I had and I wore it the other day and I got a lot of people thinking it was cute, before even knowing I’d made it. I think more in this style only in silver and bit smaller, would be good. Like, three days after this I did a pearl knotting course (will be a future post) so that is good too, I learned something there.
So yeah, it’s a start. I am still making mistakes and deciding what to do, and that’s ok.