These two pairs of flower earrings are my version of a project in Joe Silvera's book, 'Soldering Made Simple' that I bought to help me with my soldering. The ones in the book had posts but I changed the design to these long earwires which I soldered to the back of the flowers.
Thank you so much to all those fellow jewellery makers who commented on my last blog and encouraged me to go in a new direction with my jewellery making. Since my last blog post, I decided to take the plunge and bought a whole load of new jewellery tools to enter into the world of sawing, piercing and soldering (and I discovered that along with that comes filing, sanding, more sanding, more sanding and finally polishing!).
I have taken on everyone's advice and spent a long time watching different online tutorials, bought a wonderful book called 'Soldering Made Simple' recommended by Tracy of Cinnamon Jewellery (thanks Tracy) and also followed some guidance from my husband. He is not necessarily 'artistically minded' but he has experience of soldering metal and he always encourages me to 'just have a go' and learn from my mistakes. So I am!
I thought I would show you some of my attempts so far:
Petal Trio Pendant
This was my second attempt at piercing and sawing - the first attempt had too many angles and I am realising my limitations at the moment with dexterity with the saw. Curves seem much easier to negotiate and I have only broken three saw blades so far! I am also pleased with my first attempt at a hidden bail. Whether or not my method is the correct way to do this I'm not sure but the bail held strong and looks okay when you turn the pendant over.
Textured Circles Pendant
This pendant turned out completely different from my planned piece which was supposed to be a rectangular pendant with hammered circles 'sweat soldered' on to the surface. Making this was definitely a learning experience as everything was going smoothly until I tried to solder on the middle circle and then foolishly re-heat it to move into the correct place. Too much heat resulted in the silver circle starting to melt and the surface of the pendant starting to become textured. I have since found out this is called 'reticulation'. Once I realised there was no going back to my original design, I then went on and reheated the whole pendant to add more texture. I quite like the result. It is 'interesting' (as my husband described it!). I might play around with texturing silver this way another time but I know I need to focus on my soldering skills at the moment.
Hand sawn flowers
These flowers took ages to create and did make me wonder why I didn't just make them out of silver clay. The main time was spent filing and sanding however I do like the way a flat piece of boring silver can be changed with work and I also had a go with my new dapping block to shape the flowers. I am going to turn these into earrings by adding little balls to the centres and soldering earwires to the back. This is similar to a project in the book I mentioned above by Joe Silvera who explains things really clearly, step-by-step and I like the way he repeats important technical information during the different stages of a project.
So what next?.... Having had a go by myself, I have realised I still need guidance in a more one-to-one setting, so I have just enrolled onto a local silversmithing course for one morning a week for 11 weeks. I am so excited as I think this will be a perfect way for me to learn new techniques and practise them at home ready for the following week's lesson. I am really looking forward to it.