Press Form Practice #7:

I got the acid out today and etched some little studs to test the textures.

I matted them afterwards for nice, washed-up-on-the-coast feel and had a play with finishes:

These are patinated black and left matte:

I like it on the earrings but I think it might be a bit too much when you get up to the brooch scale …

The form in these pieces is really important and in a way I think that having such a strong etch might have taken away from that.

I’ll take some pictures over the weekend of the plain frosted ones and the etched ones together and see how they compare …

Press Form Practice #5 – Britannia Silver

I bought my first piece of Britannia silver yesterday:

Britannia Silver

– it’s a lot like Sterling silver but while the Sterling stuff is 925 parts per thousand pure silver (the rest being an alloy of copper etc) Britannia is 958 parts per thousand pure silver.

This means that Britannia is a little softer than Sterling and much more suggestable. It stretches where Sterling might have cracked and is more cooperative for things like ambitious silversmithing and spinning.

So Britannia seemed just the thing when I was struggling to move my pressforming from beautiful, stretchy copper into unyielding sterling silver …

In terms of cutting, annealing and polishing I really can’t tell the difference between the two alloys but for overall stretchiness Britannia wins hands down.

Here’s how I got on with it:

It’s my first silver piece on the new press forms and I’m really pleased with how well it’s come out, now I just need to make some etching/finish decisions and I might have a range ready for the spring!

(blogged at Brewsmiths)

Press Form Practice #4

So, where was I with my press forming?

Ah, yes – earrings:

I’ve played around with the balance and hang of the larger piece a little more and I think I’m finally settled. I much prefer slightly asymmetric shapes to the precise structure of symmetrical ones – these look a little more like the fish/boats and sea of the coast that inspired them. I’ve got some new etching patterns in mind to decorate them too.

So far the range is shaping up like this:

though there’s at least another large brooch form already cut and waiting to be sampled on my bench …

Friday, more flotsam experiments …

Friday, a week into having an independant studio to work in.

Being alone is turning out to be pretty damn inspiring. I’ve had a chance to get ideas down on paper and develop them gently through the day. It’s been one of those weeks that’s made me happy to be a craftsperson and reminds you why you scrimp, save and work dingy part time jobs to pay for the time to play with metal.

I got my bag of driftwood out of storage when I moved and went through my beachy photos. Looking back at my last trip to Wales and the drfitwood spoons I made then I realised again how great a combination wood and silver can be – so I’ve set out to make some more ‘found object’ pieces. Here’s an almost complete picture of one of the necklaces I made today, following a quick sketch:

Flotsam Salvage Necklace (in pieces)

Then I found, in amongst the stash of driftwood, a really nicely coloured section of wood so I went a little crazy and made some brooches too:

New Salvage pieces in progress

and another necklace. Then I dropped them all at the Assay Office on my way home. More pictures when I pick them u next week!

*Good Day*