5 Cast Elements – Ring Series

Part of the course brief was to cast 5 of the same element and make some jewellery with them. This could be 5 in 1 making a bracelet or pendant, or could be a few different individual pieces. I decided to create a series of 5 rings using my cast faceted element. Below are some sketches of the ideas I had.


I designed the faceted pod in CAD and then 3D printed this at home, working out the exact size I was after. Although the CAD program tells you what size the piece is as you’re deigning it, I seem to work way better with the program if I can have the physical copy instead of trying to gauge it with a ruler in my hand and visualising the size. At the time I was experimenting with this, the college 3D printer was broken and I’d already 3D printed a couple of designs from the college printer which I didn’t like. However, using my printer doesn’t give a great finish. It’s perfect for what I need it to do but a lot of clean up is needed before or after if using the piece for casting.

I super glued a brass rod to the plastic piece to create the wax injection chamber then proceeded to make a rubber mould so that I’d be able to cast multiples (as I need 5 identical pieces). I then wax injected the mould which turned out great and sprued up my tree and had it cast.

 

 

The castings were in pretty bad shape, purely because of the 3D printed texture on them. However, using a vice and large file, I pinned the facets into the vice one at a time and filed the surfaces flat which made the pieces look miles better. I then began making my series of rings.

I originally wanted to set some flush settings into a couple of the rings with black and yellow 2mm and 2.5mm C.Z’s, however, I’d only done 5 of these previously and didn’t feel confident doing this without a backup ring in place. Also with time running out, I decided to leave this idea for now but may revisit it later down the line. My other thoughts were to oxidise areas and keum boo others. I’m not a fan of keum boo though so felt this was taking me down a style that didn’t fit my own. My final idea was to set pops of resin to the rings but I didn’t want to rush this with the exhibition approaching and decided for the sake of time and wanting the rings displayed at the exhibition, I’d give them a polish and leave them clean and simple. I’m happy with the results, I think the rings are a lovely design but would like to add a pop of colour later on.

I also granulated some silver then filed these to have a faceted appearance. I soldered these to a couple of the ring shanks. The ring shanks and stems were all given a hammered texture finish also using a ball pein hammer. Below is a little video of 4 of the completed rings in action.

Stevie.

 

 

Sense of Place – Iceland Inspiration

My latest adventure took me to the land of fire and ice, stunning Iceland. This was a surprise gift from my mum and sisters to celebrate a ‘special’ (and terrifying!) birthday. My hotel was situated right in the heart of Reykjavik, with my hotel just across the street from the iconic Music Hall, The Harpa! Needless to say, my 3 days spent here were highly inspiring and I found countless photo opportunities to incorporate into my new brief.

It was easy to get inspired with so much natural beauty surrounding me. My first day was spent exploring the cities sweet cafes and obscure restaurants, followed by a Northern Lights boat tour. The second day I explored the snowy, city gardens and quirky little shops and art studios, followed by the most luxurious experience at the famous Blue Lagoon. We entered the Lagoon around 7:30pm so by this time it was dark and you could see the steam from the warm water rise into the cold air and the stars lit up the sky, looking like a connect the dots puzzle, with Orion’s belt glowing strong and the odd shooting star flying by. The last time I’d seen the sky lit up like this was around 10 years ago in a rural town called Te Akau, in New Zealand. The final day was the most inspiring when my mother and I took the express tour around the Golden Circle. I would have loved to stay longer to truly absorb the beauty but we had a flight to catch that evening and made it back just in time! We stopped to walk between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, then moved onto seeing the Geysers in Strokkur, followed by the stunning Selfoss, Glacial Waterfalls with an abundance of snowy landscapes in-between.

Below are some pictures I collected on my trip which has provided inspiration for designs and samples to soon follow – Shapes within an art studio mirror (the artist apparently works on the Game of Thrones set!), the blue lagoon paving, rocky cliff faces and the Harpa music hall windows. Along with the beauty of nature – Geysers and waterfalls. I also love the mix of colours in the picture of the geyser; a pleasant mix of yellow, grey and blue.

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Whilst exploring Iceland, I found a lot of lava rock which I also found a lot of in Fuerteventura. I decided to bring some home (on both occasions) in an attempt to make my own little souvenirs. However, today I decided to create a rubber mould from a tiny piece I collected from the Reykjavik shore. The lava rock is very porous and honestly I thought the attempt would be a write off but I am very pleasantly surprised by the results and am now designing to potentially incorporate this into my work!

lava

The pieces look a little weird in this picture and I will have to take a higher quality image to show the details better but I love how organic the wax injections look! Further design work to follow shortly. Thank you Iceland for an inspirational escape! I will see you again one day.

Stevie

A little video extra of the glacial waterfalls. (Had we gone just a few days earlier on the Golden Circle tour everything would have been green!)

 

 

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.

Experimental Techniques – Materials

Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with a number of materials. Although I am not done yet as I still want to experiment with concrete, etching and water casting. My torch at home is great but doesn’t work so well when it comes to water casting (unless it’s tiny pieces of silver), so this is something I’m looking forward to attempt in class. I have also purchased a small amount of pewter to melt down and experiment this technique with.

Materials I’ve experimented with so far:

Enamelling – This is the main material I have been getting to grips with, mainly because it needs to be incorporated into the final pieces for the Street brief and secondly because I am not all that good at it. I’ve also come to the conclusion that although I love how enamel looks in other jewellers’ work, it is not something I like to use in my own. I am looking forward to saying “Sayonara!” to this one!

 

Resin – A fond favourite of mine. I recently discovered dyes to add to the clear resin I am used to working with and it allows for many options. I’m really enjoying sampling resin and have sketched out and played around with a few ideas so far. (below I have riveted a piece of resin onto a hammered, silver ring shank. The rivet has been neatened up since taking this picture. I created a cuboid shell using copper and then melted tiny chips of silver on all sides to achieve this look – a great way to use up scraps, add texture and is an inexpensive way to use silver. I filled the cuboid shell with dyed resin and let cure for 24hrs. Colin was then able to slice some thinner pieces off for me using the band saw).

 

Porcelain – I’m at the very early stages of using this material. So far I have only shaped little bits into my desired elements and I’m looking forward to adding colour to them and cleaning them up. I’m unsure as to how I could attach them to a piece, perhaps pins to hold in place or glue some of them together? I’ll experiment some more when these pieces have been fired and coloured. So far I really like this material and am very excited at the possibilities!

2

Wax Carving – I love wax carving. There is something very therapeutic about it and the way the technique works, going from a wax carving to a solid silver piece is so fascinating. I have carved out some pieces from scraps of a block I had stored away (how handy!) and will cast these as I think they could possibly make an interesting element to my final pieces. They need a little tidying up first!

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I still have a lot of ideas to experiment with so continuing on in the sketchbook!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casting – Wax Injecting Practise

I’m really looking forward to having my own designs cast. Making the rubber mold for these pieces sounds pretty difficult but it will all be worth it for the end result and having a few molds that will last for some time!

I had a play around with injecting melted wax into some ready made rubber molds. The first couple of attempts were off, I hadn’t injected enough wax to fill the mold completely. However, after a few practice runs they turned out pretty well. Casting is one of my favourite techniques to use and I have a couple of ideas I want to get round to trying out including some organic things I’ve accumulated. Looking forward to this!

Stevie.