gosh I have had a busy year so far...so busy that I have not had time to write blog for like FOREVER!
So I have been making making making for lovely clients every month. rings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, anklets, earrings, brooches, lapel pins. A pretty long list.
I was recently commissioned to make a breast milk stone and then set it into a sterling silver ring made to a clients design brief. This client wanted strands of her children's hair set into this ring!. I processed her breast milk and created the stone in slow cure epoxy resin.
I also have been commissioned to create memorial jewellery for a client. I created a heavy weight sterling silver pendant and set her late Sons ashes with fire red opal into a channel I carved into the piece when I made the model in wax.
I have been really enjoying opal inlay or inlay pieces in general and this has been a real skill development.
so just some of the new things I have been working on. I finally have got my full Hallmark sorted. Everyone should know that hallmarking is your guarantee of quality. A lot of people think that a 925 is a hallmark. It is not! That is a stamp - you can buy them on line and stamp any thing yourself. A hallmark is shown above. It is traceable and has a makers mark. you can see mine above has the RMH mark. this is traceable back to me should it ever end up on the antiques road show in 100 years, the owner will be told where is was made, where it was assayed (London) and the date and who by! it guarantees the quality. I love that I have a hallmark. I love that I send pieces off to be assayed. I love that it has my mark. I love that when people commission from me they know they get British standard quality silver. It comes at a cost though unfortunately it is not cheap. as hobbies go it is costing me a fortune but it is oh so worth it.
I made the sterling silver tassel above FINALLY. Have been threatening it for MONTHS! This still needs assaying as does the chain it is on - over 50 grams of silver in this one piece but boy is it pretty - even if I do say so my clef. More experimentation tomorrow with a different style of tassel and I think it is time to do some more carving and casting. Keeps me out of mischief.
The bracelet featured was commissioned as a birthday present. It was a challenge even though it looks pretty simple. Its very pretty on. Think I might have to make myself one. I am going to need a bigger jewellery box. Tomorrow I have a gorgeous ammonite stone that I want to sent in a chunky hammered bangle or ring - have not quite made up my mind yet. I know I am going to run out of time. Wish there were more days in the weekend but the day job calls Monday and it will probably be a whole week before I can get back in the studio again.
Got to finish off a commissioned spinner ring tomorrow too to be assayed before it jets off to Ireland. Hopefully to a very happy owner.
You have to love happy customers:
So I finally managed to get the commissioned pieces through the casting process without getting damaged. I had the moulds cast directly from the wax which is not the normal way but at least protected the wax and I got metal cast pieces to clean up. They are heavy and now polished looked great. Now get to get them hallmarked and strung onto the bracelets before they wing their way to their new owner.
so on the left are the masters from which a mould was made. Then 2 pieces were cast from each piece. This feels revolutionary to me! already thinking next steps are collections...LOVE IT even with the risks of losing wax pieces if things go wrong. it is WORTH IT!
well since getting back my fist ever cast piece, I have been busy carving....there have been ups and downs with that process. I have been commissioned to make two bespoke heart charms these have taken me a fair amount of time but have provided me with fantastic learning opportunities. I carved these ready to be cast I also decided to make two additional pieces to have cast. A little puffed heart AND on a lunch date out with a good friend a mirror caught my eye that made me think that would make a good pendant or brooch! so I cracked on with that too. I also made a crucifix in metal as a master and had this cast and a mould made. All in all it was all very exciting. I sent them to the casting company.
Then....a call sorry Mrs Hobson by some of the pieces you sent we had an issue where the metal did not flow properly and the waxes you made are ruined. Can we have more waxes. The down side of wax casting is something goes wrong....its back to the beginning! This tested my commitment - BUT back I went to the wax and started again!
So i finally plucked up the courage, boxed up the wax and sent it off to be cast. This is all new to me and I felt nervous and excited but had prepared myself for it not being great. After all I am new to this kind of medium. It takes tonnes of practice. I sent it off and they cast it last Friday. They sent me to the bill and once I paid they put it in the post. We went for an early morning walk Saturday meaning I missed the postman so had to wait 24 hours to pick it up from the depot. Well what a surprise and it was worth the wait. Yes it needs tidying up, yes it is a little wobbly in places BUT overall for a first go I am proud of this. I feel like this has oped up the possibilities and I am not super excited. I am already working on my next wax model - this time it has been commissioned. I am also cleaning up this piece ready to have the master made and have 4 of the same piece cast.
Again I was also brave and rang the assay office to ask them about the hallmarking procedure, the costs and what are my next steps. My makers stamp is being made now and I have asked to have that sent so that I I do not hallmark the lighter pieces of silver then I can at least use my Makers mark from the assay office as a signature. It is all new and all exciting and all the while I am learning. This is a great hobby. LOVE IT
well today was exciting. I got home to pink wax sheets, wax wire, a spirit lamps, new pliers and scalpel blades along with a straight burnishing tool. What is not to love about that? The shoes, dresses and handbags can take a back seat.....I also managed to pluck up the courage to package up my first wax ready to send for casting. It may turn out to be rubbish but in order to succeed you have to fail fast and fail forward (thanks Will Smith). I want to start on model number two but i think first I need to wait and see what happens - what the first looks like and what I need to do to that once it is cast! Watch this space.....
feeling very enthusiastic right now...got all kinds of ideas. waiting for the deliveries of new wax working tools, a book, some PMC and a new optimiser. Cannot believe how excited I get when I know tools are on their way. It used to be shoes I coveted now its hammers (though i am still partial to the odd trainer for bootcamp and heel for the races- its not all files and saw blades just yet)
Made a wax model yesterday of a feather - today had to fix it as I picked it up to look at it and promptly dropped it on the floor goodbye sprue - hello me getting the kit out to fix it! my clumsy nature and butter fingers strike again!
Started making a sterling silver cross today - again think I need to be more patient and draw it first. remember that bag of scrap - its a it bigger now!
Hubby is away so i will occupy my mind with cooking (gonna try out a vegan diet my sister has given me as part of bootcamp) and make jewellery - oooh a making kind of day. LOE IT. For now though my 5 am get up is catching up with me and I am pooped. Off to dream about silver, food and silver and food!