Tips and Information about making jewelry

With this blog, I hope to share my knowledge, successes, trials and errors, student's work, tips, and information about making jewelry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Critical Eye on your Jewelry; How do People Really View Your Jewelry?

Janet Alexander
Instructor Janet Alexander

Click on the photo to enlarge
I was looking at this cool photo of a painting and I realized something about it. At first it looks like a nice painting of a man on a horse with a pack horse walking behind it. Kinda nice.
Then as I examine it more closely I notice other things about it. There are hidden faces in it! Actually there are 11 faces in it.
Now I no longer look at it the same way. All I see are faces!

So, my question to you jewelry makers out there, how do people look at your jewelry? Do they at first look at the overall beauty but then upon further exam do they find the tiny flaws or the unfinished finishes? After viewing these, how do they now see your jewelry?

Its something to think about!
Notice the flaws around the bail
A good way to look at your jewelry with a fresh eye is to take a closeup photo of it. The camera never lies! Then go back and fix what you didn't see!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Low-Down on Forging Sterling Silver Metal Clay

Janet Alexander

Can fired sterling silver metal clay take the brunt of a hammer?

Design Template
Spoon Plank
I made two spoon planks rolling them out eight cards thick, and lightly texturing the handle areas. I fired them per Mitsubishi's instructions in the kiln.

I hammered the first spoon using a steel dapping block, which was too deep to support the metal correctly. I promptly put a hole in it.

With the second spoon, I wanted to use a wood block but didn’t have one the correct size. So, I made one out of a stump of firewood I found laying outside the house.

Carved wood
First I traced the bowl area’s outline onto the end of the stump. Then I used a 10mm ball bur and my rotary tool to carve out a shallow area.

I hammered the bowl area with a rounded raising hammer on the carved stump.

After I got it somewhat domed, I annealed the metal.

Time to anneal

Using a dapping tool
I carved the hole in the stump deeper, and since my hammer was too big to fit where I needed it, I used a dapping tool and a rawhide mallet to forge the spoon’s end into the stump.
It worked fine so long as I stopped regularly to anneal the metal before pushing it too far.

Front side of hammered spoon
Back of hammered spoon
Success! Fired PMC Sterling can be forged and the spoon is ready for refining and finishing.