Stuff for people who are still a bit untamed, young at heart and full of dreams.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Dabbling with Copper

There are so many different techniques when it comes to making jewellery. Sometimes it feels like being in a big play room with loads of toys!

I always wanted to experiment with precious metals: I was wondering how to bend and hammer them and how to set a stone and solder. I just never had enough courage to tackle it. But as always, all of a sudden the time felt right. Although, sterling silver or even gold have become far to expensive to make the first steps.  Therefore, I had my playtime with copper. And I liked working with it very much.

A friend asked me recently whether I could make something that could be based on spiral jewellery of the Norse or Bronze Age people. I did not immediately agree to make the necklace but I thought, it was a good start to fiddle with my copper wire. I formed the spirals, hammered them, crafted  jump rings and a clasp and finally added some coloured jade. The result is a little necklace that I really liked. So did my friend, and I'm now working on the next version of it.

Little necklace with an ancient touch

At the same time, I was trying to learn the art of cutting copper, soldering and setting a stone. I ruined about five saw blades until I had the hang of doing it right. But finally, I managed to cut out the shape of a dove. It had cost me a few sore muscles in my right hand, and I definitely enjoyed  the time I had to spend on filing the edges smooth. I found it almost a meditative act. Next thing was making a bezel. Getting the size right was one thing, but soldering the metal strip onto the bird was a series of try and error. But in the end, I got it right, and putting the stone into its little 'nest' was the next step. And, tada!, here is the little dove with its green malachite eye. It's not yet perfect (I'm still waiting for a setting tool, I have ordered to smooth the edges around the stone), but I like it. And then, my hubby gave me a letter punching set. Since my dove reminded me of Picasso's peace dove, I decided to punch the word 'peace' onto it. At the same time I just had to try out my tiny doming block. So the bird got a bit of structure around its tail.

First attempt at copper smithing

Meanwhile, the top of the hills are covered in a light dusting of snow and the temperatures have plummeted. Storms are are raging over the island and we're back to roaring fire places and hot chocolates!  And for the next few weeks I will curl up in front of the fire place and knit 1,5 kg of beautiful Irish tweed wool into a sweater for Fred. A race against time! But I still find some time to have look on etsy. Found some magical stuff there:

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