The ear and after…

Three lovely, happy customers and six beautifully adorned ears :-)) IMG_1401_2 IMG_1400_2

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Thank you Amy, Rachel and Jenny Wren for making my earrings look so fabulous :-))

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Making a little bird pin for the ‘birdhouse’…

Yesterday I had the challenge of soldering the tiny cast bird onto a silver wire – to make a pin. The idea being, to give the illusion of  a bird ‘flying’ out of the window of the cast house ring.

Am wondering if silently repeating ‘don’t melt, don’t melt, don’t melt’ in a mantra-like fashion and holding my breath count as technical notes at this point…

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First I needed some silver wire and the aforementioned little bird (designed by my own fair hand… and a computer). Then I had to bury the wee bird in charcoal to protect it from the heat of soldering – thanks for that tip Lisa. It worked really well! Wee bird came out a bit mucky but none the worse for wear – and, most importantly, not in the least bit melted!!IMG_0990 *breathes again

First I made a protective charcoal nest for the birdIMG_0991

then wrapped it up tightIMG_0997

held the the wire and solder in placeIMG_0998

and applied some heat, et voila – a bird on a wire (albeit a bit of a wonky wire – but nothing a gentle tweak with a pair of pliers won’t sort out).IMG_1001

Next I had to decide on just the right length for the pin…IMG_1003 too long I think….

bit shorter here but still a bit too long…IMG_1004

just right IMG_1005I’d say

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My work here is done ;))

Well, apart from making the rest of the installation that is… Watch this space…

make a little birdhouse…

Today I mainly worked on a CAD ring that will become part of an installation that I’m making (for the Handmade by Machines Exhibition at The Lighthouse at the end of June). Although, the ring itself may well make an early guest appearance at our end of year show first depending on its state of readiness.

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(Am also hoping the piece may count towards my final unit: advanced jewellery manufacturing techniques too… as it definitely demonstrates several advanced techniques… as required… right?… Colin?? ;))

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I started the day with a little silver house, which I designed several months ago, using CAD. The design is very much based on my handmade house rings – only much more symmetrical ;)) I also designed the wee bird on CAD at the same time as the house and handmade the round ring shank more recently.

IMG_0927The wee bird had a fat sprue, which had originally attached it onto the casting tree. I spent most of the morning filing this into a narrower, more elegant (I’d like to think) wire.

Next came the soldering…

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I often love the unfinished, soldered pieces almost as much as the cleaned, final versions… maybe even more in fact. I love the pale green colour that appeared on the back of this house after soldering. I can just imagine some of my other house rings spray painted or enamelled to give a lovely distressed finish at some point. That’s the plan anyway. Although, I shall probably allow this one to remain clean as I do love the finish that it left the casting machine with – reminds me of a wooden hut or a clapboard house.IMG_0938

I pickled the house (somewhat reluctantly ;)) to begin the cleaning process.IMG_0941

Then filed off the edges of the newly soldered base and packed it away for the night with some of its housemates (I know!) ready to work on again in the morning.IMG_0943