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.

 

 

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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

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

Stevie

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.

final1

  • 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.

final2

  • 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.

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.

1


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).

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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 – Finalising

In the last post I talked about the geometric frame ideas I had and the earring concepts I’d been working on. However, I was loving the square fold forms I’d been working with in the previous brief and have tried to incorporate them now into this brief. As much as I love the designs I’ve had earlier, I feel I need something more.

I’ve started to combine both the geometric frames I’ve been playing around with as well as the square forms from previous block. I’ve come up with some brooch designs, using the geometric shapes as a wire frame and filling the frame and adding depth with the layered, fold-formed squares. I was originally going for squares on squares (as seen in left image below). I loved this effect but it was using up far too much silver. I thought about using copper and oxidising it, or reticulate small pieces of silver over it but I wasn’t too impressed with these ideas. I loved the frame idea but when sampling, I thought it was all a bit too flat.

sketch3sketch1

After more designs and contemplation I decided to add a frame to the structure, creating more depth. Looking at the Fuerteventura rock faces overlooking the sea and their textures and forms has really helped here as the forms I’m creating by folding the squares are giving a nice, visual effect and towering over the frame.

20161108_17491720161106_103130

Further development below, (attempting to draw) some 3D frames to give the square forms more height and depth like the cliff face in the pictures above.

sketch2

I’ve been sampling using the shapes I’ve found by tracing over pictures from Fuerteventura and Iceland, creating frames. I’m liking this idea very much and looking at possible materials.

sample2

I’m thinking 1.5mm square wire for the frame and 0.7mm silver sheet for the squares. I’m looking at connecting the two parts using either solder or rivets. Although the clean up with be very difficult if I solder so I am pretty sure rivets will be the route to go down. I’m also considering adding a little resin to add a pop of colour or perhaps a little stone setting. I’d love to add my cast piece of lava rock which I found in Iceland, so will continue finalising ideas. Almost there now!

Stevie

 

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.

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-18-18-50

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!

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-18-22-52

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

Scrap Silver – Nugget Rings

Not college project related, but here’s a little video making what I call ‘Nugget rings’ (not the most creative name I know!) I had some scrap [pieces of wire, not long enough to make a ring shank and I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. That’s how this ring style came to be. Waste no more scrap silver! 🙂

More college project related videos on the way soon!

Stevie

Experimental Techniques – Shapes

I haven’t done much sampling as of yet as I was still trying to determine what my shapes/colours would be. I did have a look through my previous makes over the last couple of years (I talk about this in an earlier post here) and concluded that geometric, angular shapes was where I’d been heading towards the end of the course and I continued to play around with that concept over the summer. I also had a cube theme going in last years CAD class so I have decided to combine these shapes. So below are some rough samples and how I’ve been playing around with them. Looking forward to having correctly enamelled pieces to get a better idea of what different colours/textures work best together.

I spent last weekend creating resin-filled cubes and cuboids. I made the shells from copper and then melted and reticulated tiny chips of silver over the copper. I love reticulation and this is a technique I always use when I’m working with copper as I love the icy, silver texture it produces. Plus I don’t need to use a lot of silver to get this finish. I’m still to master this with silver by itself however. After the shells had been created, I filled them with resin which I’d mixed with a yellow dye and let them cure for 24 hours. (Last year, Colin showed me a bunch of coloured dyes where you only needed a tiny amount to colour the resin. I took away a tiny amount of a few colours to sample my favourites for my final piece which is when I fell in love with the yellow. I bought a small tub from Cooksons for about ÂŁ7, but the tub will last a very long time)!

After bringing them into class this week, Colin sliced a thin cube from one of the pieces for me. (This could be a quick and efficient way to get many at one time, making a cuboid and slicing it up with the band saw). I’m loving these resin-filled pieces!

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I have been making jewellery with resin for a few years now and out of all the alternative materials I have worked with resin is by far still my go to material. I love the idea of enamelling but as mentioned before, it does not love me. I love seeing what others can achieve using acrylic and wood but I cannot happily or skillfully use it in my own.

I am loving my shapes though. I’m looking into distorting the cubes a little but I don’t want a big clash of angular shapes, at the moment I feel a little cube detail is quite complimenting to the geometric shapes. Will be sharing sketchbook snapshots soon!

Stevie.

 

 

 

 

Videos – The Next Level?

Colin made a very interesting point last week; taking pictures of your hand made creations is just not enough anymore. The next stage now seems to be little videos, a speedy version of the making process of a piece.

I love this idea and have wondered for some time now how it is done after last years lecturer Lisa showed the class a video of a jeweller making some wooden jewellery pieces. It turns out a simple video/pic app is all you need! So I did a little search and found an app called PicPac with good ratings so decided to give it a go. I ended up loving this app as it’s so simple to use (so far!) so decided to give it a go. Maybe when potential customers see a video of the process they can appreciate the price more.

Here I am making some simple, cactus pendants. They are not quite finished, as they need more polishing and I’d like to add some liver of sulphur.

This is the result of my first attempt at making a little video; Making a cactus pendant.

This video is about 50 seconds long. This isn’t too bad, I can upload it to YouTube and Vimeo and Instagram has extended their video play to 60 seconds. Perfect fit! Could work on the angles but balancing a camera around your workbench and whatnot is rather tricky. Looking forward to making the next one!

Stevie.