Monday, 14 February 2011

Attempt 1 at piercing silver

In case you don't know, piercing metal involves cutting holes into a solid piece of metal using a drill (to make the initial starting hole) and an adjustable saw to cut out the bits of metal not wanted.

I've been wanting to try this for a while and a couple of months ago I ordered two pieces of 1 mm thick sheet silver. The two pieces weren't very large in the other two dimensions - 2.5 cm by 5 cm in fact. I felt these were large enough to give me space to work in, but small enough to make reasonable sized pendants and would not be daunting to work with.

Then, as usual, I couldn't think what to do with them.

Then the UK Jewellers Collective (or the Lars and Ingrid) forum poppped up with a "spring themed charm swap" idea.

So I cut one of the pieces of silver down into a square (mostly square at least). Stuck a sticky label on top of the blue plastic protective film (it arrives wearing the protective film to prevent damage before I get started on it) and then I drew a slightly abstract tulip flower on to the label.

I then drilled 4 holes into the bit of silver sheet. This involved using masking tape to bind the piece of silver to a wooden batten (an old bit of clean wood) and then clamping the batton into a vice. Then using a drill bit that was probably rather too big at 2.5 mm, I used my little hand drill to drill the holes through the silver. I tried to stop before too much of the wood was drilled, but that didn't always work.

Then I took off all the masking tape, and the sticky label, and the pieces of blue protective film from both sides of the silver and then the finishing work started.

(Next time I'm going to take some "work in progress" photos as it'll be easier to explain I think).

Finishing a piece of piercing involves the use of small files (trying to get the edges inside the cuts to look nice - that's still a work in progress on this piece) and micro mesh to get rid of scratches on the surface of the silver.

Anyway, with more finshing work to be done (as you'll see) here is the piece in it's current state:

Because I'm still learning the "art of finishing" a piece of silver like this, I've decided not to use it as my charm to swap in the forum's current swap session - I really don't think it's good enough. Instead I am making something involving beads and wire which I'm much more comfortable with.

In the meantime I plan to finish this charm for my own pleasure and wear as soon as I can.
Until next time, when I'll hopefully have done some more finishing on this piece


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Lots to tell you today

Having not posted anything for a few weeks, I now find that I have a lot to tell you.

I had some time off work this week so on Monday I visited the British Museum and I took some photos of some jewellery that was made using lapis lazuli, carnelian and gold - Mesopotamia 6000 - 1500 BC was the room I took the photos in. Here are a few of the photos - the ones that came out in focus that is.

Sorry about the reflections etc - but hey, ho, that's what happens when taking photos of jewellery inside glass cases.

On Sunday I  had spent time at the NEC in Birmingham at the Spring Fair, mainly in hall 19 where the jewellery sellers were. I picked up some lapis lazuli and carnelian beads - so I have plans now that I've seen the museum items. Here are some of the beads I bought at the Spring Fair.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to make but I'll let you see it when I'm done.

Until next time