desk!

Given the type of jewels I like to make it is important for me to have two desks, one clean and nice desk for enamelling and one grubby desk for cutting/filing and soldering.
Recently a desk I had been borrowing returned to its owner so Me and Dan took on the challenge to make a new desk for me and I’m quite pleased with the results!

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Hitting things to solve problems

So, Im very stressed about little Beatrice, still waiting, still hoping as things seem to get worse.
Yesterday I decided to take a break from worrying and go hit some things.

So heres what I did yesterday :

bar

Stage one: Bar stock, cut into 180mm lengths

links

Stage 2: A little pile of links, forge welded closed.

chainyay

Stage 3: A chain of seven links, all forge-welded closed, in varying states of “round”

This is the start of something very special for Doris but I will update about it seperately and properly, when Im less stressed out.

Silver smithing class or: how I made my first stake

I’m doing a silver smithing course on Monday nights taught my amazing and supremely talented friend Mary Hackett who I studied my masters with.

Mary’s Blog

This class has managed to be both a huge challenge and a joy; it’s amazing how after a long and often tiring day at work hitting bits of copper makes me feel so much more in control and balanced.

In the class we are learning raising. The basic process of raising involves repeatedly annealing and then forming the sheet metal over a series of stakes by hammering.

Primarily we have been working on making small copper bowls and what really surprises me is even though each student was given the same size copper disc to work with our work is in the process of being so very different.

Here is a family picture of our vessels and spoons in progress

 silver smithing class

and here is my piece, I am trying to form it into the shape of a Kina ( a species of sea urchin common in New Zealand) so very round, chubby with an overhanging lip at the top, this is proving very difficult, here is a progress shot

 kina

The problem is I couldn’t find a stake that was the shape I was after and then I would be stuck in a loop of making a dent then trying to get it out then denting it and so on.

Being as Mary and I are practical sorts who also are very involved with Blacksmith Doris, we decided to have a stake making day, we drew out the shape I was after and I was able to forge a bit of steel into the required shape, as it was a curl I welded a bit more steel onto the back to steady it and began the long process of grinding it down to be perfectly smooth.
Mary made a couple of stakes to fit the work of the other students but by this stage we were too proud of our success and were busy drinking cups of tea rather than taking photos.

Here is a image of my initial pattern shapes and the sketch on metal I had so I could match the hot steel against the pattern as I was bending it.

  stakebuild

And here is an image of the stake after it had been polished to within an inch of its life in class, behind it is the bowl Im making that is now much easier to work on.

 shiney

 

A rainy day ring.

The last few days everything I have tried to make has been a bit of a failure.
There was melted metal right through to a cake that seemed like lava.

When I cant make things, I get frustrated.

So today I decided to just make something pretty to cheer myself up.
I bought a pair of cute little ceramic moons a while ago, today I decided to make one into a ring.

 

How cute is it?

phase2

The band has the phases of the moon going around it, which meant I also got to play with my new disc cutter.

phase 1

 

The setting isn’t perfect but as it’s just for me I don’t mind one bit.

Blacksmith Doris

I should probably have posted about this a long time ago, but there is something pretty amazing that I do in my spare time, I’m learning to blacksmith, but the part that makes it so wonderful is that I’m learning to blacksmith as part of a group of amazing, Talented and Inspiring women.

Blacksmith Doris is a collective of women who are interested in learning about blacksmithing, we now meet monthly and learn the skills and techniques required to complete our own projects.  The women are all from different backgrounds  though mostly comprised of makers, there are scientists and people who just want to get stuck in to the process as well as people who are interested in the history of this art we find ourselves embracing.

I am very much still a learner but I love the action of it, the heat of the forge and the sheer joy of hitting hot metal.
I  love making curls of steel, the way  if you heat the metal enough you have complete control as you bend it to form curling tendrils, and as  you can see I get plenty of practice at this.

 curls

I have made a selection of decorative hooks to keep my various work aprons out of my way, one is so out of the way I cannot seem to locate it.

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My latest project involves an elderly chair frame I felt sorry for at uni, so when I finished my year and cleaned out my studio I took it with me, I have made a couple of curls to sit and act as back support and for my next trick Im going to make some supersized  jewellers rivets (hand hammered of course!) to hold the curls on, then It will be a simple matter of cutting a base from wood, padding  it and covering it with fabric (that I am yet to get)  and then I will have the perfect little studio chair.

 chair frame

 chairback

As Blacksmith Doris grows and evolves into something larger I get more excited about the possibilities it presents, and what it represents to the individuals that make it so special, I have a lot of hope that Doris will only go from strength to strength as I know it has an important place in not only maintaining but introducing women to an overlooked art, where women are shockingly underrepresented and often ignored..

I feel tired already! But I also need to post about my perfect studio desk, which I am also making!

Brooches. Better late than never.

Still super busy round here.

Here are my brooches from the annual RMIT fashion and textiles show this year titled “Graphica”

These brooches are a new trial of mixing a bit of everything.

Techniques: Sashiko embroidery, gold & silversmithing

Materials: cotton thread, hand-dyed cotton and silk, sterling silver, enamel

japanese brooch 2

japanese brooch 1

 

In these brooches I aim to combine the Japanese embroidery technique Sashiko, meaning “little stabs”, on stunning hand-dyed textiles with jewellery making techniques such as enamelling to create wearable works of art

 

 

Shaping.

Back at uni, changing supervisor this year is exciting.
I’m trying something new.

Shaping sheet copper into domed vessel forms as mushroom cups before enamelling.

For the forms I’m just heating and bashing it on a bit of wood to get the shape, then using plasticine to hold the piece while I get the surface right.

Huge challenge, lots of work ahead.

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Cute little domey-dome shapes.

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