The Street – Final Pieces

I had to design, develop and make 2 pieces in relation to the brief ‘The Street’. With ‘The Streets’ brief I found I was bored rather quickly and unfortunately very uninspired. There was certainly a lot of opportunity with this brief, I could have gone down the Wabi Sabi route or even taken a trip down memory lane (which actually would have probably been the best route for me) as it was such an open brief but I think I rushed into the beginnings with it and got stuck using a concept I wasn’t interested in (silly me!). I took ‘inpiration’ from the city I’ve grown up in, Edinburgh as it’s where I know best and was the best option to obtain primary sourced research. I looked at the old town; the texture on these buildings which inspired the sampling of reticulation of silver on top of copper, the shapes within the stone and the cobbled streets. I found the streets dull and of course, old (probably why I lacked inspiration here – no colour), with moss greens, burgundy and brown stones. I took interest in the colour yellow in my final brief of last year but chose a different colour in the end to match my piece, so I wanted to really work with yellow this year. Despite purple and blue/greens being my favourite colours, I certainly wasn’t finding them in Edinburgh in the old town, yellow however, was used to mark the roads and in road signs which made it easier to go with. This formed the foundations which led to the outcome below.


Piece One – Brooch

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PROCESS

I made the square clusters in two separate parts using 0.7mm silver sheet adding one, random, geometric shape. I used a square stencil to get the shapes accurate and pierced them out. I had finalised this design using a copper sample so knew what steps to take. I used a ruler and scribe to mark where I would score and fold and then used a triangular needle file to create the space to fold. Before folding the pieces into place, I used needle files and emery paper to clean up the shapes after piercing them out. Once I cleaned up the silver and marked the areas to score and fold I used my mini pin wheel which I attached to my hand motor and brushed this over the silver, creating a lovely texture and satin finish. A favourite of mine.

I then scored the pieces and soldered the two separate sheets together using Hard solder paste. I used 1.5mm square, silver wire to create the brooch pin. I filed down the end half to narrow it and create a point that can piece through a jacket/jumper e.t.c and created a score and fold at the top so that the piece would sit nicely against the pin then soldered together using an Easy solder paste. I filed an angle into the bend of the pin just for extra detail as I didn’t want it rounded but instead more angled to suit the overall design. I also gave the pin a scratch effect using a needle file and emery paper. I didn’t want it smooth and flawless looking.

Once pickled, I used the brass brush to clean off excess pickle. I had to get inside the closed over centre so gently peeled open a couple of the squares. I couldn’t get this as clean as I’d have liked as I didn’t want to pry them open too far that they weaken and snap off. I could have oxidised the inside, however, this wasn’t something I wanted to do so cleaned it up as best as I could get and gently pushed the shapes back over into place.

I then positioned the pin on a flat surface at the correct angle using blu-tac so that the one, geometric shape was facing up. I mixed up a small amount of resin and added a tiny amount of yellow pigment mixing thoroughly. I carefully, bit by bit added drops of the coloured resin to the shape until satisfied with the coverage and let it cure for 24 hours before the piece was finally complete. I purchased a sterling silver brooch pin protector for the end of the pin.

THOUGHTS

I am a little disappointed in the finish of this one. The main issue was cleaning the inside (as mentioned above), it was quite difficult to clean properly. I also noticed after the whole cleanup process some tiny lumps of solder that mustn’t have melted completely between the two sheets. These are pretty minute and I attempted to clean these up using tiny hand motor tools but to not much success. I should have heated the piece up again to re-disperse the solder, however, by the time I’d noticed it was too late. Other than these little hiccups, I do like the design and am pleased with the piece.

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Piece Two – Ring

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PROCESS

I continued with the square cluster theme here but added two, geometric shapes in this piece. The base of this ‘box’ I’ve created is a large, angled shape with another, smaller one on top (seen in the top left photo) with the rest being squares as well as the angled base being folded squares. I pierced my geometric and square shape out of 0.7mm copper sheet and cleaned it up using needle files and emery paper. I repeated this process for the square base except using 0.7mm silver sheet. With the silver base I marked in the areas to score and fold using a ruler and scribe and then used the pin wheel on the hand motor to give it the texture I wanted before continuing to fold the scored areas and then soldering to add some extra support to the structure.

I cut up little pieces of silver sheet and placed them on top of the copper shape. I heated this until the silver melted and created this frosted look and then pickled the piece. I scored and folded the copper piece into its open box form adding a little Hard solder paste to the inside to hold the form in place, again pickling the piece after. I then used Hard solder paste to solder the box form to the silver base.

I used the same 1.5mm square, silver wire as I did for the brooch pin in piece one, again giving it the same filed finish. I scored and folded it into the angles I wanted and used Hard solder paste to hold its form. I filed the ends to the right angles to make it flush with the silver base, then used Hard solder paste for this. I filed the bends on the ring shank like I did with the brooch pin, taking away the curve and adding angles in its place.

I pickled the piece and peeled the box form open slightly to clean the inside thoroughly prepping it for the dreaded enamel step. I closed over the form back into place. I applied gum solution to the inside of the box using a tiny paint brush so that when I sprinkled on the Ochre Yellow enamel powder it would stick to all the correct places and I would just wipe the excess off the unwanted areas before placing in the kiln for approx. 30 seconds. But alas, as expected, the enamel had burned away at the edges and looked messy. I cleaned up the entire piece and decided that wet enamel would probably work best as I could apply a thicker coat. I used Lemon yellow applying with a paint brush over the areas I wanted (or not) enamelled and let the enamel dry (thanks for the tip Chelsea-anne!) before placing in the kiln for approx. 30 seconds. I pickled the piece and cleaned it up removing extra pickle with mop heads on the hand motor. Again, I didn’t want a high shine on this piece.

THOUGHTS

Well, this piece was a disaster! Enamel has never been my friend and that’s ok as now I never have to work with it again. I feel the piece would have worked miles better if I had used resin in place of the enamel, however, unfortunately the rules were that to pass the outcome, at least one of the final pieces needed to incorporate enamel. I possibly left the piece in the kiln slightly too long making the enamel deteriorate from the edges. I feel the soldering between the silver base and the copper box form would have been better also if I had been able to use a medium or easy solder. Instead I had to solder the entire piece using hard solder so that it wouldn’t fall apart in the kiln but this affected how I soldered the pieces together. I had to  be really careful and didn’t push it as I was worried the lot would fall apart. That said, the piece is securely held together but it could have finished much neater if I hadn’t been so cautious of this. I like the overall design and it’s comfy to wear despite the angled shank but unfortunately I’m disappointed with the finish.

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CONCLUSION

The pieces certainly could have been finished to a much higher standard and I am a little disappointed in myself as they are not as good as they should be but I have really tried to push my boundaries. Since I began the NC I always ended up making something rather complicated for a final piece. I don’t want simple pieces with a perfect finish as I feel I will learn nothing this way. I don’t want to play ‘safe’ in my work when it comes to the briefs given, I want to learn and improve and feel the only way to do this is to push my work to its limits and then grow from there. So although there are negatives; the finish isn’t as good as it could and should be and the enamel didn’t work for me. There are also positives; the pieces have depth and structure, it’s not something I could have produced in the NC, therefore my abilities are expanding. I will probably aim to make something more simple for my next brief and aim for a better, overall finish. Time will tell.

Stevie.

 

 

The Street – 5 Developed Designs

The Streets brief stated that in order to complete and pass the brief, a minimum of 5 designs were to be explored. I had many ideas and explored and developed many designs and here are 5 of those pieces. I was swayed between brooches and rings for the most part, however, within my sketchbook are pendants and earring ideas also.

 

First Designs – Ring
I explored how to integrate colour and shape by manipulating the ring shank and thinking of enamel, resin and porcelain materials. I had made some shank samples but in the end was not impressed with the aesthetics.


Second Designs – Frame Brooch

I looked into using square wire as a brooch frame, making a piece that was interchangeable using tabs to hold separate pieces in place. I was very much set on casting chunky, hollowed out distorted cubes and even sampled this using porcelain but I again, changed plans here as I wasn’t pleased with the designs as I felt it was all too flat and opaque. I loved the cube idea as I intended to fill these with yellow resin, however the porcelain was unable to be fired and I was not ready to cast.


Third Design – Brooch

I then thought about using the wire not as a frame but an extension to connect separate clusters of pieces. I thought about pinning in enamelled pieces with tabs and soldering on wire grids filled with coloured resin. I really liked this concept but just couldn’t get the designs flowing to a point where I was happy. I tried sampling with some 2mm round copper wire which I changed to a square shape using the draw plate and would layer my enamel and resin samples onto these but came to a dead end.


Fourth Design – Brooch

I would layer different sized squares on top of each other and in all sorts of directions to create random, square clusters. I happened to love this concept and spent a lot of time sampling this. I seriously thought about taking this forward as a final piece but decided against it as I didn’t want the final piece made of copper. I was wanting to create the frosted effect I achieve when melting pieces of silver onto copper. I thought about making the large brooch in two/three parts, having some in silver with a satin finish and others in copper and reticulating the silver on top and then thought about riveting or soldering them together. I also thought this would make a great 3D effect. I decided against this idea, unfortunately in the end as I did not have enough silver sheet at this time, nor the funds to buy any in time to complete for the deadline. It’s something I will potentially go back to however.


Fifth Design – Ring/Brooch
I continued the square layering/connecting but in smaller forms which let to the thought of small and dainty pins or a ring design. My first ring sample of this I fell in love with but continued developing and finally it led to my final ring piece. I looked at riveting the layers together and thought about using keum boo instead of resin, however, I had only practised keum boo once and could not afford to buy a sheet to find that I may actually be terrible at it! I would love to try keum boo again though.


Sixth Design – Brooch
I loved the shapes that I was creating in the previous designs and really wanted to go with a brooch. I continued the layering parts idea and still found it was a bit flat, I wanted more depth to the piece so started scoring and folding samples into almost cube shapes (in keeping with my square and geometric shapes) and ended up very pleased with some of the results until I found the right fit which I then carried through to my final design.

 

Final designs have been completed with a post and evaluation to follow.
Stevie.

The Street – Finalising Pieces

I was loving where I was going with the squares connecting and distorting in different directions but decided it needed a little more depth as I didn’t want my pieces to be flat. I spent a lot of time trying to get the right shape and would test these by cutting out papers and folding them. It took a lot of time, a lot of repeating and a ton of paper (sorry trees!) to get the shape I was satisfied with.

I then began sampling with copper, not just the structures but potential final pieces also. I do like the direction I have taken with these and am really looking forward to making them. I am worried they may be too complicated to finish as cleanly as I’d like, however, if I keep them simple I won’t be happy with myself.

I was originally going to have two brooches with just a slight change in design, however, I changed my mind last minute and decided on a brooch and ring. Let’s see how this goes!

After doing a few brooch samples, I am finally happy to begin the final design in silver. I will also be adding a pop of colour using resin and mixing in some yellow pigment. As for the finish, I’ll be using a frosting wheel, an old favourite of mine. I love a satin/matt finish.

It was my random ring design and sample that changed my mind on two brooches. It’s weird and quirky and I’d really like to give it a go. This piece will be the one I use enamel on (however, I am absolutely dreading this!). I haven’t had much success at all with enamel and it began as a love hate relationship which has slowly fizzled into an area where there is no love. I’ll be using silver square wire and making a silver base, however, I love the reticulation silver gives on top of copper, so I will be creating the ‘box’ shape of the ring using copper and reticulating silver on top. The inside will be enamelled. Complicated I think but going to try at least!

Stevie.

The Street – Continued Sketchbook Work

More sketchbook work, narrowing down ideas and finalising. Looking at rings and brooches and the little details for them – Ring shank shape and detail. I’m using square wire for this. Brooch details such as a single stem pin or something more sturdy for a larger piece. I am between a couple of designs for the brooch. Sampling is underway in order to finalise.

Stevie.

Inspirational Jewellers

Since beginning my jewellery studies at college 2 years ago, we have been reminded often to look at other jewellers’ and their work, how they work, what it is about them that inspires us and so on. I personally never took too much notice at other jewellers’ work, not thoroughly anyway as I was and still am finding my own feet and direction in the craft and didn’t want to be too heavily influenced by someone else’s style. I wanted to find my own first. However, it is hard not to notice the work of others. It does help with inspiration when I’m feeling a little stuck and now that I’ve found a few techniques, shapes and materials that I like to work with I’m going to look a little deeper into the work of a couple of jewellers I have come across to analyse what it is about their work that I’m drawn to and inspired by.

 

Ruth Hollywood

Ruth combines silver with resin and creates very intricate designs by 3D printing and casting. She also uses recycled silver and she tries to keep her work and packaging as eco-friendly as possible.

I love the shapes Ruth uses in her work. Her more recent collection has a lot of triangular shapes involved which is also beautiful, however, her hexagon-like work is my favourite. She doesn’t use a high polish finish in her work either and adds vibrant colour with the use of resin.

I’m drawn to her work because of what I have mentioned above. I began my personal jewellery journey using resin which is what pushed me towards studying jewellery and I’ve loved incorporating this material into my work when using silver. The way I work with resin has changed so much from when I began using the material 3 years ago thanks to the college course and I am now using Rhino software to create 3D pieces that will then be cast in silver and have tiny compartments to be filled with resin. This is a personal collection project I have been working on outside of college.

Ruth creates statement brooches as well as tiny stacking rings and studs. No matter what the size of the piece is, the bold colours and intricate designs really make the pieces stand out. She also hand mixes the colours, combining them to get new colours. I have been experimenting with resin pigments but am now looking into mixing pigments myself to get the ideal shades I want. Ruth’s work is truly inspiring. I have also discovered a few other jewellers’ with a similar style to Ruth in terms of using coloured resin, Quercussilver is one of them.

 

Misun Won

I discovered Misun’s jewellery originally in 2014 when our lecturer Eilidh took us to an exhibition in Edinburgh. I had noticed her work then but never looked into it further as I suppose it didn’t relate to my own work at that time. I recently attended the Elements exhibition in Edinburgh this month and found her work again where on this occasion it really stood out to me. She works with silver and 24ct gold foil. She works with soft, circular shapes and takes inspiration from Jogakbo, a traditional Korean patchwork.

Although originally I did not connect with her work, I have recently taken great interest in her minimalism which makes such a bold statement. The pieces are simple in design but really catch your eye and I love the three dimensional layering she has in her work which also looks really clean. She adds a tiny pop of colour (which I know is a complete contrast to Ruth Hollywood) using the gold foil and occasionally coloured cord.

I suppose her work has particularly caught my eye recently because I have been layering the same shape over one another trying to achieve a more three dimensional piece? Although my colour choice for my theme is yellow this can be adapted to a gold as I have been looking into goldlfeaf and gold foil. I also use goldleaf in my personal work now with some of my resin pieces. As much as I love small, clean pieces of jewellery, I do love a big, sculptural piece of jewellery too which I feel Misun achieves with her work. (Below left – pendant and earrings. Right – brooch).

 

In conclusion to this research, I feel between these two jewellers, Ruth and Misun, all the boxes are ticked for me; small and simple, big and bold, lots of colour and clean with not too much texture. In my own time I make a lot of random, spur of the moment pieces because my tastes in jewellery change dependant on my mood (also because I’m trying out something new), which I suppose is the case for most people. However, this is also why I think I’ve found it difficult to stick to a colour, shape etc for college as my tastes change quite rapidly. I am persevering with this though, as it’s something I want to be capable of achieving as I believe it’s vital to being a successful jeweller.

Stevie.

The Street – Sketchbook Development

I’ve been back and forth between loads of different designs from rings to brooches. I spent last week out of the country on a holiday with the family (bad timing indeed!), and although I couldn’t do any sampling, I did take my sketchbook and made some decent progress and feel I am very close to final designs now. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

I continued playing with the square cluster idea and I really wanted to keep the geometric, angular shape involved, at first by thinking about angular ring shanks and brooch backs, but then by adding them in random places amongst the squares. (I also decided to keep the squares neatly squared rather than off kilter squares as it was looking a bit messy – although my drawing doesn’t really help there!).

Below I was looking at adapting on the square wire frame I initially made with the square wire (In my interchangeable blog). I was really liking the wire structures but never really put much thought into materials and the detail attached to the wire, so I quickly moved on.

I then attempted to mix my square cluster ideas with the wire frame and played around with this look for a short while.

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After all this I still wasn’t satisfied with anything. After arriving back home Saturday evening I started sampling with copper and layering images with tracing paper to spark more ideas. I made this mock up sample below about a week before last and felt like I was really onto something with this design. I made a few miniature versions before leaving last week. Now that I was home and had the pieces in front of me I could play around some more and started layering them on top of one another.

When I was on holiday I took some photos which were very inspiring because they related to the path I’ve been taking with this brief in terms of shape. The square patterned wall you see below was one of these and gave me the idea of keeping the square clusters the same size rather than altered sizes.

wall

I then began tracing and layering these sketches and happen to love the direction I’m going with these! On Sunday I made a mock up ring idea. I actually love the squares being the same size, it’s keeping the design looking neat. I also like the layering of the individual pieces, they are slotting together nicely keeping the piece flowing and I’m getting a nice three dimensional look from this. The geometric shapes will bring in the pop of colour, this could be with enamel, resin or keum boo (I’ll need to have another practise at that!). Colin suggested I could use some gold sheet in my work which I like the sound of so keeping that in mind also.

I think the main structure will be made from sheet silver, however I won’t get the same reticulated effect I achieve when melting silver onto copper. I don’t want to use copper though so am thinking about my options on finish. I don’t like a high polished look personally so I will most likely go down the route of a satin finish or using a frosting wheel as I love this look. I’m also looking at whether the pieces will be soldered or riveted together. I’m really looking forward to pushing these designs to their final outcome in the upcoming weeks! Maybe I should go on holiday more often!?

Stevie.

The Street -Interchangeable Brooch Designs

I’ve made an off-kilter square frame using square silver wire Colin gave to the class (thank you!). After a couple of weeks of thinking about how to use this, and although Colin recommended we stick with circles for simplicity, I made up my mind and went with my gut. I could have done a circle but that has zero relation to any work I’ve produced over my 2 years of study. I like angles and off kilter shapes so I felt this would be the right direction to go down. I didn’t want a perfect square so angled it all oddly and I like the extended ends also. I thinned down the 2mm wire slightly using the draw plate as I wanted a slightly thinner wire. Although the draw plate offers many shapes to change your wire to (Triangular, Oval, etc) I love square wire and this matches well with my current street theme.

I wasn’t able to do much over the October break as I lacked copper to sample with and do not have an enamelling kit at home but managed to put a few ideas together after getting back to class yesterday. I am just playing around with this interchangeable brooch idea which I love, however I don’t think this is the route I will be going down with my final pieces. The parts would be held in place by tabs and I have a few more sketch ideas on this but below are the ones I was able to put together quickly.

Here there is a piece of copper I enamelled yellow with a sprinkle of ‘cherry red’ as I was wanting a burgundy-type effect and a piece of copper with cut out squares which has been placed in a liver of sulphur patina turning it black. I also cut out a group of overlapping squares, scored and folded them a little in different directions and then enamelled the piece yellow.

 

Below are some quick sketch ideas and notes of other ideas I have had for an interchangeable brooch idea. However, as excited as I was about this idea, I have quickly gone off it.

Stevie.

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The Street -Sketchbook ideas

I have been reluctant to share my sketchbook work, firstly because of my drawing skills. I’ve tried to portray my ideas as best I can with my level of drawing ability (don’t laugh!) but secondly because I’m not really happy with what I’ve designed and developed thus far. I have to kind of come to a conclusion very soon as there are two pieces to be made and not a lot of time to do them in!

I have really been playing around with brooch ideas and ring ideas but again, nothing I’m particularly pleased with. I’m a little anxious about whether there will be a chance to cast some of the wax elements in time for final pieces that I’ve been using a lot in my designs or if I should rule out the idea altogether. For now I’ll just roll with it and see where my favourite designs are at and narrow down final plans and development and worry about it when final pieces have been decided and what date I’m at by that point. Colin did say time for casting should be fine so I won’t worry too much at the moment. So some sketchbook work…

Initial ideas and structures. I have been going down the line of squares/cubes but love the distorting, off-kilter look. I have continued that through my drawings and porcelain and wax carved samples. I also layered lots of squares of all sizes to get some interesting silhouettes which I cut out in copper and enamelled to see the thoughts come to life. I’m still playing around with this idea but loving the depth these pieces are creating. I’m also thinking of how the piece will come together; soldering, pinning, rivets?

I’ve been doing a lot of quick sketches just to push simple parts of an idea forward, such as a ring shank. As I’m using angled shapes I’m thinking of how to keep this running nicely through the entire piece, not just an element of the piece. All still ‘up in the air’ ideas.

Development on the quick sketches, building on top of the frames and shapes I’ve been jotting down. Loving a simple, clean brooch idea with little elements of colour but also loving some crazy ring ideas too. I’ve been jumping around ideas to find a satisfying conclusion but nothing yet. The ring ideas have me looking at box style rings and also open frame ideas. Of course I want my two pieces to go well in a sense that you can see the resemblances and I could do two brooches and change very little detail keeping them similar and not taking up too much making time, however I can see myself doing two different things!

Going to continue playing with ideas and sampling as I’m still very undecided in which route to take. Hopefully I can come to a conclusion shortly! Time is of the essence.

Stevie.

The Street – Sketchbook/Samples Progress

I have made some decent progress in my sketchbook, however there’s still a LOT of development work to do. I’m not happy yet with any designs. I like bits from one design and bits from others. More time will be spent over the weekend trying to find something I really want to sample.

I have been sketching cube shapes and ended up distorting them getting some weird but nice results and think this will be a feature in my final pieces. I am loving this idea so decided to go ahead and start prepping for casting.

I spent a good portion of my college day carving wax. Luckily I had saved the scrap wax from a medal carving I had done last year (You never know when something might come in handy!). These carvings are of distorted cube shapes. The idea is that these will be little elements I can solder on or pin in to a piece and the gaps are there to be filled with resin.

I’m hoping to get these cast in silver along with some experimental pieces I have.  With luck they will go as planned and can be used in my final jewellery pieces.

Stevie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Street – Direction

I have taken inspiration from the town I’ve grown up in, Edinburgh. After taking pictures around Glasgow and looking down memory lane; travelling round New Zealand and my home London, Edinburgh is what I’ve known longest so it made sense to me to use this as a base.

There’s a lot of interesting shapes and textures in Edinburgh which I’ve captured in some pictures. The cobbled streets and the old stone detail around Edinburgh Castle. I made a few enamel samples using shapes found in the many cobbled pathways.

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With these enamel samples I used yellows, pewter, cherry red and duck egg green. The colours used were inspired by the Autumn leaves I found in a puddle (picture below).

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Yellow has been a prominent colour within the pictures I’ve taken along with green and deep reds/browns. I’m not a fan of green or red personally and have been drawn to yellow for some time so it’s felt natural to take this route. I’ll play around with blending colours in my next samples. Thankfully this batch of enamelling worked! This duck egg green has come out more blue however so don’t think it will be the best combination with the yellow (too bright for my liking?). I am thinking a burgundy/brown will look great though. I may not want more than one colour at all, so still experimenting here. To be continued!

Stevie