New shapes ….

I’ve been sketching new shapes for a while now and have finally had a little time before my holiday to put them into metal. I’m pretty happy with the initial experiments and I’ll set to work on them again when I’m back …

Reticulated texture

While my workshop was open over the weekend I used the opportunity to make a batch of my new seaside pieces for a couple of galleries. I find, when I have multiples of one thing to make, that I easily get into a good working rhythm and gain some good working momentum.

I’m fairly new to reticulation though and I have to watch these pieces like a hawk to avoid melting them! Lately I’m getting a better feel for how the surface textures of the silver changes, and how to spot the warning signs of over heating – but when  started out it was all rather trial and error.

So, you start off with your nice, shiny wire:

and get heating, with a nice, gentle, feathery flame. I use charcoal bricks to support work that I’m reticulating – it tends not to stick to the charcoal and the heat reflects really nicely (which helps to keep the temperature even through the metal). There’s a brilliant tutorial on Ganoskin which takes you through the process and a quick video of me reticulating the wire here. With this being the end result:

Going back over the piece with a slightly more intense flame, right at the end, seems to even out the surface really well too. Once it’s all pickled clean for the final time it’ll look something like this:

these polish up beautifully into a texture that proves to be  wearing ever so well:

All set for Open Studios:

I set the workshop up today for the Centrepiece Open Studios:

It was nice to have a bit of a spring clean, blow the dust off the lamps and lay out my wares in the workshop again. I had a few visitors this afternoon (we trialed an evening opening this year which I think worked quite well) and hopefully there’ll be some more tomorrow. Drop by if you’re in Birmingham to see me – and the 30 other Centrepiece members and guests who’ll be opening their workshops:

Centrepiece Jewellery Quarter Open Studios Map

Centrepiece Open Studios map – Click to enlarge

 

Serendipity #2: making …

I set to work bright and way too early this morning on the piece with those coral stones from yesterday:

Cutting forms (carefully numbered so that I get one of each half … )

Then soldering, filing and sanding to shape.

and it’s looking most promising.

I’ll put the final finish on soon …

Silverware for 2012 #3

so, back at the bench today and fitting the base on this little beast proved rather a tricky manoeuvre. What works in card and sticky tape does not always work in metal and it needed a lot of shifting, filing and re-measuring to eventually get a neat fit.

With all the pieces lined up:

I bound it altogether, though I’m running out of the good, thick binding wire that I bought in uni so this is rather a Heath Robinson affair:

and the nice recessed base looks super:

I think I’m getting there with this piece, it’s a really cute size, so I’ll let it hang around the workshop for a day or so while I think about it, tweak it and draw etching patterns on it in sharpie!

The disc cutter from Albuquerque

Albie

Meet Albie, my Christmas present to myself.

Too long have I perservered with a cheap, ineffective and badly made disc cutter which ruins a good 15% of the blanks it cuts.

Well, no more. I have finally given in and Albie, an American immigrant, arrived in the studio last week. He came from RioGrande, the Cooksons of the USA, and I had to restrain myself from buying a lot of the other lovely clever tools they have too.

He cuts perfect circles and will be assisting me soon in the making of some new Flotsam pieces, plus a few other ideas that I’ve been mulling over for a while …