Pictured is a silicon-bronze chess piece cast by Jason Visser on my previous jewellery course, then a cast sterling silver ring. Although both were made in the August course, I only got round to tumble-polishing them when I got back from holiday, just in time for Jason to pick up on the new course where he left off. He then finished the enamelled pendent with the silver flower in the centre; the border of this was fretted from copper sheet then rivetted with fine silver wires. The last picture is another casting of the pig by Alan Reynolds, this time in silicon bronze on the lower parts and pewter on the upper. Not intentional; the initial bronze casting failed, the mould was repaired and the fill completed with pewter, with intriguing results.
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
A great deal of student work has passed through my hands over the past couple of months; sculpture, pots and other ceramic forms, casts in resin bronze, jewellery in sterling silver, fine silver, silicon bronze and pewter, some with enamel. The works of Barry Denman and Jacqueline Watson are illustrated in the right-hand column.The pendent (left) is fine silver, sawn from sheet (which incidentally was earlier prepared from sterling scrap by refining, casting and rolling), roller-textured and finished with files, sandpaper and finally a tumbler machine, by Halina Panopoulos. The chain is threaded through a sterling tube on the back of the pendent.
Since I have no better forum for her work, I have also illustrated Mary Winchester's latest horse, here seen (left) as unfired & fired stoneware clay. My involvement was mostly limited to advice over drying and firing. See the paragraph on her work below in older (previous) posts.
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
The jewellery workshop classes chose to have some rings and pendents cast in silicon bronze, because I recently took a shipment of some reasonably cheap silicon bronze rod. This is in contrast to the increasing difficulty of getting my usual art bronze (a leaded tin bronze known as LG4). The item shown left is my small gas furnace for melting silver or bronzes; the burner is on the far left, the thin rod in the foreground is a small thermocouple and the woolly hat is a home-made ceramic fibre blanket 'lid'.
Left is a silicon bronze pendant made by Wendy Mitchell; next an etched sterling-silver oval pendant made by Kathryn Crooks; a silicon bronze ring by Anna Stevens; and finally a pewter pig made by Alan Reynolds (still with sprues and crucible attached). All except the etched pendant were made originally in wax and cast with the lost wax process.
Thursday, 21 February 2008
But before then it is necessary to burn the waxes out from their entombment in ceramic shell, which I hope to do in a couple of days time at our new workshop. This new location was not chosen with the needs of metal casting in mind, so I am somewhat nervous about burning out about twenty wax shells in the open in a new (and predominantly residential!) neighbourhood.
(As it happened, I found the burning-out to be quite straightforward, with the advantage that I was not restricted to week-ends as formerly).
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
The necklace consists of ten domed and patinated silver discs alternating with bought glass beads (some black, some white) and utilising bought sterling chain and findings. The matching earrings use a single disc each. The patination is well sealed, otherwise it could leave unwanted marks on light clothing.
As you can see, Alan understands the importance of presentation! The white satin-lined case makes an excellent contrasting display setting.
The silver was patinated by suspending the discs for about 30 minutes in a sealed container with some ammonium polysulphide solution in the bottom. This liquid emits fumes of hydrogen sulphide, which demands good ventilation to avoid health problems. It is also quite caustic since it contains free alkali, so gloves and goggles are also necessary. The result should be that the silver turns dark and somewhat iridescent (although the rainbow colours are greatly reduced on sealing). It is washed, dried, then sealed with a conservation-grade hard wax.