Graded Unit – Boards

The brooch has been named ‘Eldfell’ which is Icelandic for ‘Mountain of Fire’. The main frame was inspired by an Icelandic mountain I photographed on my travels, therefore the name seemed appropriate. I wanted the squares to drape and tower over the frame, an idea which was inspired by the towering lava cliffs in Fuerteventura, overlooking the ocean. The yellow ties in with my overall theme this year, however, it also symbolises ‘Happiness’ and promotes positive energy, which fits well as I wanted the piece to reflect not only the places I visited and was inspired by, but the feelings I also had being in these beautiful, scenic countries. The following boards are an overview of the entire process.

Summary of Research

research board - Stevie

Summary of Development

development board

Summary of Final Design

Eldfell Final Board



Graded Unit – Eldfell

After a long design process and a few hick-ups which meant designs needed to be re-visited, I finally got a finished piece! I know my finishing of my pieces definitely needs work and it’s rather frustrating that I have not quite nailed that yet, the design however, I am happy with, despite the set backs.


  • 2mm Square wire frame.
  • 0.7mm silver sheet used for square forms and support for cast element.
  • Cast element with 3 resin-filled compartments. (I attempted to set a 3mm citrine stone, however, with this being a new stone setting method it unfortunately didn’t go to plan. As I was chiselling out metal to make a ledge for the stone to sit in, the supporting wall which would be used to secure the stone in place kept crumbling away. Very disappointed with this but there is nothing I can do about it now).
  • I mixed a yellow resin paste to my resin mixture and applied this to the 3 compartments and the odd geometric shape with the square forms.
  • I cut little cubes from the 2mm wire and added this to the frame.
  • I used tube which I sliced into to create the decorated rivet effect.


  • Steel wire has been used for the brooch pin.
  • I added a silver wire beam to form the squares over, adding more depth and stability to the piece.
  • I coated the back of the geometric shape and the sheet silver in yellow pigmented resin also, as I wanted to add an element of interest to the back as well as the front.
  • The square forms were given a satin finish using a frosting wheel as I’m not fond of a high shine finish.


Sense of Place – Final Pieces

I’d taken inspiration from a ‘Feeling’ of place rather than a physical place itself. I wanted to use that feeling of freedom and escapism and translate that into a piece of jewellery. On my adventures, I discovered that this feeling was at its strongest when by the ocean. My favourite moments of my Fuerteventura holiday were when I was sitting up on the edge of the rocky cliff face overlooking the sea. There was something very peaceful about this followed by this overwhelming feeling of getting lost that I felt inspired to pursue this with my designs. I looked at the contrast between the harsh lava rock formations that towered over a peaceful ocean and began designing from here. I traced shapes from photographs I’d taken of the cliffs, lava rock and patterns I’d found in the waves, ground and other surroundings, finding shapes to begin designing with.


Although the brief asked for just one final piece, I have created two (and just finishing a third!). Here they are:


These are made with silver and resin.

The first piece is a pair of earrings. I created a fold form of squares with an odd, geometric shape. I covered this shape with a thin layer of resin which I’d given a grey pigment. I used the frosting wheel to give the fold form element some light texture and a matt finish. I used square wire for the stem and for the stud element I used a piece of cast lave rock which I sawed into two parts. I’m overall very pleased with these. I’ve added depth, texture and a pop of colour. They are comfortable to wear but also sit nicely and are just the right length. I still need to work on my square piercing and filing technique, along with folding them so it’s a nice, clean fold with no bending in any other areas. I feel for this piece I did that well.




Made using silver, resin and steel.

My second piece was quite challenging. I created a geometric frame which I then added an extra piece of wire to for added structure as I wanted to create a towering effect (like the cliff face in Fuerteventura overlooking the ocean). I pierced out my square form and after cleaning up with emery paper and needle files I gave it a satin finish and some light texture using a frosting wheel. I then used the score and fold method to give the piece some dynamic. I mixed resin with a grey pigment and coated the two geometric shapes hiding amongst the squares to add a pop of colour. I riveted this square formed piece to the frame. I used some fine square wire to create a claw setting, holding a piece of cast lava rock into place, which I oxidised with liver of sulphur. I used steel wire for the brooch pin.


A third piece is currently being completed.



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.


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!


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.


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



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.


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.


Piece Two – Ring



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.


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.



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.




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.

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!


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.


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.


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!?


Reticulating onto copper & Using Resin

A quick video demonstrating how I make a little series of pendants, earrings, rings e.t.c. Here I reticulate silver chips (not solder) onto copper and also use resin and dyes to colour it.

I wanted to pick up on a technique I  have been using since starting the NC course; Reticulation. This technique creates a texture I love however back in the NC I could only melt the silver, not actually reticulate it. Working with metal was completely new for me then so there was a lot of experimenting, learning and figuring things out. I ended up combining silver and copper, melting the silver over the copper, hiding the copper almost entirely with just a very small amount of silver being used and leaving a stunning reticulated finish. I fell in love with this technique and have continued to use this in my work throughout the last couple of years both in my college pieces, as well as my personal work.

Below are some close-ups of the results of this technique. I am contemplating whether this will become part of my final designs’ texture. It does seem to relate to a lot of textures I’ve found in stone walls and pavements so can easily relate to The Street brief. More development is needed in my designs first however before making any decisions.


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.