Brooch Project – Part 3

I’ve been playing around with samples. Below are some of the techniques I’ve been using. The main brooch frame is sterling silver which I have partly oxidised. I have created a domed top using copper which I have pierced out a geometric shape from. I reticulated pieces of silver on top of the copper and then domed it. I’ve used this top to place over the final samples.

Enamel

Here, I have created enamelled panels which can be swapped out for different colours or patterns.

 

Score and Fold, Reticulation & Textures

Here, I have used the disc cutter to create the base circle. I used a ball pein hammer to create the texture before cutting out the circle (so not to distort the circular shape) then domed it to fit the brooch frame. I then cut out a square pattern from copper. I placed pieces of silver on top and melted them creating this reticulated effect. I then scored and folded them in different directions and soldered to the copper dome.

 

Stone Setting

Below I have set an unusually shaped, synthetic stone. I cut out the base circle using the disc cutter and copper, I then flooded some silver solder on top to give me an idea of how it all would look together in silver, although, I was also contemplating oxidising the base black. I cut some 3mm copper wire and sawed it into 3 equal lengths. I soldered these to the base disc assessing the distance between the 3 pillars by eye and using the stone to gauge how close they should be to hold the stone in place. This was surprisingly pretty easy. I used a triangle needle file to saw into the wires (all at an equal height), just enough to pop the stone into place. Using my flat nose pliers, I pulled back one of the prongs slightly to insert the stone into the grooves and then moved the prong back into place. The stone is nice and secure.

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Score & Fold, Oxidising and Resin

I again, used the disc cutter to create the base of the brooch. I cut away a geometric shape to add detail to the back and also to allow the wearer to look through all the layers. I then pierced out a square pattern I’d created with a geometric shape attached. I used the score and fold method to bend these squares into the desired shape and soldered it to the circular base. I oxidised the inside of the square forms and then added a layer of resin which I gave a yellow pigment to onto the geometric shape.

 

Blog on final piece to follow.

Stevie

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Flush Settings

Below is a video and images of a ring I made to practice flush settings with.

Part of the mandatory course work is to do 5 flush settings. I managed to put my 5 attempts into one band. We were given some thick, silver wire to practice with which is what I have used above. I bought some hand stamps a while back and decided to have a little fun and decorate the band with a star embellishment and then set the stones in-between them.

I have used 3 black, 2mm C.Z’s and 2 yellow, 2.5mm C.Z’s for this band.

 

  • I stamped the stars into the metal then created the ring shank.
  • For the 2mm stones, I first drilled through the band with a 1mm drill bit. I found I was having trouble taking the 2mm burr far enough through the metal which ended up being because I needed to go through the band with a slightly larger drill after the first.
  • So I then used a 1.5mm drill bit through the 1mm hole previously drilled and then the 2mm burr had no problems cutting through the metal. (I also applied some oil before burring into the metal).
  • I burred into the band slowly, stopping often to check if the stones girdle (table) was flush/in line with the metal (almost disappearing into the metal). I don’t want the stone sitting above the metal as it cannot be set and if it’s too low it won’t work properly either.
  • Once I’d burred to the correct depth, I placed the stone in the space and gently using my burnishing tool, pushed round the stone. This should press the metal over the stone to secure it in place.flush2

I used the same method with the 2.5mm stones. However, for the drill bit, I used a 2mm drill and then a 2.5mm burr. My lecturer also showed me how to create a ledge to have the stone ‘pop’ into it using a heart burr but I was not brave enough to attempt it. I may give it a go next time though!

Below is the burnishing tool I made to help set the stones using an old drill bit and handle.


RECAP ON HOW TO FLUSH SET STONES

~ 2mm Stone (C.Z)
~ 1mm Drill bit
~ 1.5mm Drill bit
~ 2mm Burr

~ 2.5mm Stone (C.Z)
~ 1.5mm Drill bit
~ 2mm Drill bit
~ 3mm Burr

~ Place stone into the snug fitting which should be sitting with the girdle (table) of the stone almost disappearing under the metal.
~ Use burnishing tool to push the metal round the stone to secure it in place.
~ A Vernier Gauge can also be used to measure the stones and drill bits before use as on occasion, sizes can vary slightly from what they are supposed to be which can affect this setting method.

Stevie

Brooch Project – Part 2

I’ve had a few ideas for the brooch project and some of those ideas are pulling me away from my normal materials which I like. As part of the assessment I need 4 Manufacturing Technique samples so I’ve been considering a handful:

  • Reticulation
  • Keum Boo
  • Enamel
  • Stone Setting
  • Adding Cast Elements
  • Patinas – with platinol, liver of sulfur and ammonia
  • Roll Printing
  • Concrete

Although I’ve done a few samples with brightly coloured enamels, this brooch is particularly aimed at men so I feel using neutral tones and earthy materials would be the best way to entice a man to wear it. Below are a few ideas I had at a random moment when I had no sketchbook!

sketch1

~ The first sketch I was thinking about doming copper. I also wanted to add chips of silver to reticulate on top, leaving an interesting texture on top. I am considering oxidising over the reticualtion using platinol and brushing it all little so that the colour has a worn grey effect. I also wanted to add a strip of keum boo down one side to add a touch of colour and class.

~ The second sketch was a quick and random idea. Pierce out the shapes, dome it and enamel it. Nothing exciting and not something I really like, it was just a quick fire idea.

sketch2

~ Above, I was looking at 2 pieces as one. The top layer would have a geometric shape cut out, it would all be reticulated silver for a nice texture and I would also dome it. The second part would be a flat disc that is secured underneath by the top piece. It would be enamelled dark or oxidised grey. I would create a geometric ‘cup’ that would be filled with a pigmented resin, perhaps a yellow to compliment the grey? Also, I feel yellow is not too bold a colour for a man to try out! I was also considering adding some goldleaf flakes. If that were the case however, yellow would not be the main colour in the cup.

sketch3

~One flat layer. Oxidised disc with a worn grey effect. Solder on a geometric ‘cup’ and fill with cement, securing a tube setting with a stone in place as the cement is drying. The dark, oxidised base, with a pale grey cement and just a little sparkle from a stone I think would look great.

 

Samples to follow soon!

Stevie

Brooch Project – Part 1

I am making a brooch (for MEN!) as part of the Manufacturing Techniques brief. I need to experiment with at least 4 different techniques and the final piece should include 2.

My lecturer made a brooch frame and then had is cast multiple times and handed these out to everyone in class with the aim of this Man Brooch project frame to have interchangeable inserts. I absolutely love this idea and have seen jewellers’ do this with their own jewellery in many different ways in the past and it is something I’d love to try myself at some point with my own, personal line of work. So this is a great way to get some practise in. Thankfully the cast frame has been made to fit a circular disc which can be cut from the disc cutter in class, making the ‘interchangeable‘ part much easier.

Below are a few experiments and samples of ideas. I’m still however, working on the ‘manly’ part, although I love the idea of men stepping outside their comfort zone and wearing something outside of the ‘stereotypical norm’.

Reticulation
Here I have used the disc cutter to cut out some copper. I placed small chips of scrap silver over the copper and began heating until the silver pieces melted and ran and bubbled over the copper surface, creating a lovely texture. This looks slightly rose gold in colour with the copper shining through the silver. I then domed this slightly to fit neatly into the brooch frame.
I would like to try and place a strip on Keum Boo down the piece, however I am unsure whether the keum boo will adhere to the surface securely with the undertone being copper? I feel it is unfinished though, so if keum boo will not work I’d possibly add a stone using a tube setting, or perhaps a cast element? Currently, the piece reminds me of the moon, unexpected but very happy with it.

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Cast Elements
I used the disc cuter to cut a copper circle and then again to cut out a smaller circle, slightly off centre. I used the same ‘reticulation’ technique and domed the circle again to fit snugly into the frame. I looked at inserting cast elements that fit nicely inside the domed piece. Here I looked at setting a stone into the centre of the cast element and then popping this reticulated, domed piece on top, ‘framing’ the cast element. (Excuse the blue-tac stain, was still experimenting with placements).

8


Enamel
Using the reticulated and cut out frame, I looked into adding a pop of colour. What better way to do this than with enamel (haha – Not!) I managed to get lucky with the enamel this time after a few attempts on scrap copper. I used a Mustard Yellow, Blue, Mint Green and then mixed two different shades of purple to create a deep Plum colour. The mint green peeled at one side and turned black but I like this effect even though I cannot explain how it happened. These enamelled discs were cut using the slightly smaller circle on the disc cutter with the larger, domed disc holding them nicely in place.

Score & Fold
Using the previously made samples above as a base, I designed and cut out from copper square forms. As it’s just a sample, I reticulated some silver over the surface of the square form to give the illusion of silver. I then used the score and fold method to angle them in different ways. I have been testing out the placement of this form over the domed circle and adding coloured discs underneath.

 

These are just a few samples and ideas and looking at other techniques to sample, such as Keum boo, Patinas and adding texture using hammers and the rolling mill.

Stevie.

 

 

Sense of Place -Final Design Possibilities

Here are my A3 boards of potential final design outcomes.For the first brooch ideas I was looking at layering fold formed square patterns on top of one another to create some depth. I pierced out a lot of copper samples but after a lot of thought, I decided it was just too much silver in one piece for a poor student! I contemplated cutting out a layer in copper and oxidising it or reticulating small pieces of silver on top. I decided against these ideas and continued my development.

brooch1 slides

After further development on the brooch designs, I looked at combining the geometric frames with the square forms. This would save a lot on the amount of sheet silver I’d be using and also brings the two directions I was taking back together. After sampling a few shapes and layering, I found it was all too flat and after more development I created a frame with some extra structure to layer the square forms over. I looked at adding some coloured resin to give the pieces some colour.

brooches2 SOP

I began designing with earrings, looking at square wire frames and how they’d be created. I attempted to design a frame in Rhino and then 3D printed it. I used the model to create a rubber mould which works pretty well but feel maybe the frames are perhaps a bit bigger than I’d like. I then continued development on the earrings concept, looking at casting elements to incorporate and then moved on to the square fold forms once more. After some paper samples to decide on my favourite layout, I attempted a copper sample and was very pleased with the outcome. In the end I decided to incorporate some cast lava rock to the final earring design.

earrings

Final pieces will be in the next post!

Stevie.

Sense of Place – Research & Development Boards

An upload of A3 boards I created in Photoshop displaying my research and development process which of course has lead to my final designs (a new blog will be uploaded for this).

 

The first board is just to show my trail of thought. I was looking at places I had good memories both from childhood and recent years, people, books/movies/music, a personal journey, the feeling I get from a certain place/environment and transferring this into something tangible. And so on.

SLIDE 1 - SOP

This board is just to show that I was taking colour seriously. Having chosen to go with a ‘feeling’ as a sense of place and that place being a state of freedom and escapism, it was important to not only pick colours that reflect my own personality, but colours that relate to triggering those feelings. Within my sketchbook I’ve looked into many colours and what feelings they are supposed to provoke in us and also looked at how they connect to our Chakras, bringing it back to that spiritually free feeling. These are the colours I narrowed my decisions down to and why. Not only are they best suited to me personally, they represent exactly the feelings I was hoping to resonate with.

Slide 4 - SOP

The following slides are my research and development boards. I looked into the travels I’ve taken – New Zealand, Fuerteventura and Iceland. These places have all triggered that incredible feeling and it’s often because I am out in nature and by the sea.

Slide 2 - SOP copy

Slide 3 - SOP

I found a way to translate that feeling into physical  inspiration from these memories by tracing shapes out of the lava rock, the ocean waves, cliff faces, pathways and walls. This is demonstrated in the next few slides, incorporating  sketchbook images into the A3 boards.

Slide 5 - SOP

Slide 6 - SOP

SOP - Slide 8

I went on to sample some of my favourite designs. I looked at some earring designs and thought about adding colour with the use of resin. I looked at possible manufacturing techniques such as creating frames with square wire, or by 3D printing a frame and casting it, or creating a rubber mould for repeat casting. I also looked at other elements I could use within the piece to bring it further to that physical place. I ended up creating a rubber mould using a piece of lava rock I brought back from Iceland. This mould happened to work fantastically and so I continued to push designs further here to try and incorporate this element into at least one of the final pieces.

Slide 7 - SOP

I also looked into brooch designs. I focused mainly on the geometric shapes originally and eventually started to incorporate fold form squares into the frames. Again, looking at square wire and piercing out silver sheet and looking into adding resin again for that pop of colour. These were all looking a little too flat however so developed further to add more structure and depth to the potential finished piece.

SOP - Slide 9

These are the research and development boards. A new blog will have the A3 boards of possible design outcomes.

Stevie.

Creating Rubber Moulds

Last year I created some 3D models using Rhino. These were then 3D printed in wax and then cast in silver. After getting them back this year I used them to create some rubber moulds in order to produce multiples of the same piece. The rubber mould, if made correctly, will produce wax replicas of the original metal master. When the rubber mould has been created successfully, I can use the wax injector to fill the rubber cavity with molten wax. After a few minutes the wax will solidify inside taking the shape of the original piece, that is, if enough wax was injected, to gauge the pressure right it can take a few goes. When the wax replica comes out correctly I can then sprue it up and cast multiples in one go.

  • The first step is to solder a brass sprue to an area on your cast piece, preferably a flat area so no detail of the original is obscured or damaged. If the piece is made of plastic or other material then it can be super-glued to the brass sprue (although, sometimes can drift from the piece). Add a brass ‘cone’ to the end of the sprue creating a channel for the wax to flow through later.

12

  • The college supplies two different sizes of moulding plates. The smaller one can hold up to 6 layers of rubber, whereas the larger one can hold 8 layers for thicker pieces.
  • I used the metal plate to trace on top of the rubber sheet enabling me to cut out 6 of the correct sized pieces of rubber. I would snip the corners off the rubber to create a snug fit into the rounded plate mould.

4

  • I’d peel off the protective film off the rubber and place it face up in the plate, I’d then repeat this with the second layer. With the third layer, I’d cut out a small triangle-like shape to fit round the metal cone. I’d also cut out areas of this layer to fit around the object or cut pieces out of some rubber to fill any open areas in a design. As the rubber needs to melt and form into the shape of the piece inside, all gaps need to be filled as much as possible. Again, I’d place this layer peeled side up.
  • The fourth layer would be placed peeled side down, with another triangle shape cut out to fit round the cone. The final two layers will also be placed face down.
  • The rubber and mould is then covered by some metal sheet and placed into the heat press and closed tight. For the 6 layer mould I leave it in the press for approx. 50 minutes with the temperature at 275 Degrees Celcius. With the 8 layer mould I would leave it in the press for approx. 1 hour.
  • After 50 minutes, using large tongs, carry the mould over to the sink and rinse under cold water until cool to touch.
  • Remove the metal plates and pop the rubber moulds out of the frame and secure in a vice.
  • Using a sharp scalpel, start slicing through the rubber from each side of the brass cone, keeping the cut down the centre until you get to the piece inside, taking care as the piece could still be hot inside the mould.
  • Continue slicing down the sides of the piece until you can free the object. Then continue slicing through where the object had been, not completely cutting the rubber mould in two.
  • Once the pieces from inside have been removed, create some slices through the rubber, creating vents for air to escape. It should look something like this:

1

  • Test out the mould using the wax injector. After a few minutes check the piece inside has worked. This can take a few attempts purely from trying to gauge how much wax to be injecting.
  • If you find lack of detail in the piece or bubbles it could need more vents sliced through the rubber before attempting again.

lava

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!)

 

 

Sense of Place – Sketchbook Development

I’m really liking the direction I’m taking with the sketchbook, although still LOADS of ideas I’m trying to get down on paper! Here’s a few shots of sketchbook development. I’ve been doing a little 3D printing relating to my sketchbook work. Seeing the pieces come to life really helps with seeing the potential outcome and what does and doesn’t work. Still lots of work to do! I’m currently looking at potential earring or pendant frames as well as some 3D faceted shapes. Excited to keep pushing these ideas further to see what I come up with. I’ve been using CAD software Rhino to create these pieces, I then saved them as STL files and connected the PC to my 3D printer. (The 3D printer isn’t anything crazy, can’t afford that! However, it does what I need it to; gauge the size of a piece and see what does and doesn’t work and what I can change). The print isn’t clean like with a wax filament (the printer uses PLA), however, with some of the designs, I am able to emery and file them down to a smooth surface. I will attempt to create some rubber moulds and test if this works and the small pieces I can attempt to cast, so long as the pieces can be cleaned up enough. If I find a design I am particularly happy with but doesn’t clean up well enough for either process then I can send the file to shape ways to print.

 

I’ve made some mock up frames by hand. First I used 2mm round copper wire, I put this through the draw plate to make the wire square (I love this machine!). I then used a ruler to mark where I wanted to score the meal to create the desired shape. I used a triangular needle file to manoeuvre the metal into shape and soldered into place. I made a few random designs to test out the process.

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I then went on to test this design with silver square wire, gave the frame a satin finish using the frosting wheel, then continued to fill them with resin which I mixed with a grey pigment. I really liked the larger frame design and was curious to see how this would look as a piece of jewellery and if it would sit well e.t.c. Safe to say I am really happy with the silver sample, the way the earrings sit is how I’d hoped. Need a clean up though and would take more care in making the frame and adding the resin. This was all done by hand and quite tricky getting the pair to exactly match (as I didn’t measure properly with the ruler), so again, would spend more time and care on this process. This is a very early design so looking to progress further but a lovely pair to keep for myself!

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Some sketchbook development work below to show my process and how I’ve gotten to this stage.

Taking inspirational images and tracing shapes from them. Giving them more angles and then manipulating them by layering or cutting in half to generate potential pieces of jewellery. So far I’ve just touched on a few pendant and earring designs, but still a lot more to try out along with potential rings/brooches.

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.