Friday, 30 November 2007

Three necklaces

A trio of very appealing necklaces were made by Alan Reynolds. The first used some of the fine silver recovered from scrap (see tutor's site) was melted and cast into a couple of ingots; these were then rolled into sheet. Alan rolled some of this sheet down to about 1mm in thickness, with a layer of copper mesh between the fine silver and the rollers.


This imprinted a mesh pattern. Then he hammered out a series of discs from this textured sheet, in sizes ranging from about 5mm - 18mm. Each disc was domed by hammering carefully into the appropriate depression in a doming block, and then came the tedious bit - drilling a 1.8mm hole in each dome. Finally the domes were arranged onto a carefully-chosen sterling chain with jump rings. Two of the domes were used as ear rings. Unfortunately the photo is a little out-of-focus, partly the problem of coping with the contrast between the black velvet of the presentation case, and the fine silver - sorry Alan!
The second necklace was made from a collection of American nickels he had brought back from the States; we were uncertain of the composition but felt they may have been zinc-rich. At any event, they didn't behave well under a jeweller's torch! They were domed in a doming block then polished in a rotary tumbler - in many instances this revealed a coppery tint round the periphery. Finally they were centrally drilled then strung back-to-back in pairs on a chain.
The last necklace made use of some bought Pozzuoli volcanic spheres, and some ceramic beads made by Alan; after firing to biscuit, they were glazed with matte black with a central portion of mirror-black 'pewter' glaze. The volcanic rock spheres (which are very light due to the amount of air in the structure) were threaded on a chain with alternating ceramic beads, using jump rings as spacers.

PMC - Precious metal clay

PMC is the name given to a product originally patented, marketed and named by Matsubishi Industries, consisting of fine pure silver powder obtained by reclamation of silver from the photographic industry. The powder is mixed with an organic binder and water, and sold as a kind of grey putty.

It can be shaped by most of the same processes as any other plastic medium. After drying, it is then made permanent by 'sintering'; in practice, this means baking it at a dull red heat for some time (the time depends on the grade of PMC and can be as short as a few minutes or as long as an hour or so). The leaf illustrated here was made by Sarah Cohen, (I think) a post-doctoral bio-chem lab worker; seen here modelling it as a pendant. This low-tech method of sintering produces fine silver which is light and strong enough for jewellery, but cannot compete with the strength of fabricated silver.

Moonlighting with a purpose

The picture is of a ring made by Abby Bentinck. She was attending the class with a friend, Tamsin Silvey; both were studying for their BA History of Art at university, and temporarily working at Earls Court over the summer period. During this time they attended one of my evening jewellery classes, and Abby came up with what seemed to be a nice but fairly unremarkable carved wax. However on casting into silver and polishing, it really turned from duckling into swan.

Variation on a theme...

The picture on the left is of a sterling silver pendant designed and made by Beth Simpson. She made a variety of things including the sterling silver dragonfly, centre. However she fell out of love with the pendant and it hung around in the studio for a couple of years. In a mood of mischief, I rolled it much flatter, then used it as an exercise in setting 4mm cubic zirconia, as on the right.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Electro-etching and other texturing

The picture in the middle is of a copper pendant, formed and hammer-textured, by Dr Sian Renfrey. She also has some recent work involving electro-etching of a sandwich of copper and silver sheet. An early example is shown on the left, also as a pendant. The picture on the right is a wedding ring in white gold with a leaf-texture pattern rolled into it, neatly soldered along a diagonal edge and with a legend stamped on the inside, by Merrin Jensen.