Friday, July 26, 2013

Wedding Jewelry!

Here are the first batch of photos from the photo-shoot we did last week.  Thanks to Cara at  F8photostudios for doing such a good job!

Pretty Blue Cloisonne Hair Comb w/ Blue Topaz

Roman Style Necklace with Peridot

"Bright Wing" Tiara

"Moonlight" Tiara

"Violetta" Necklace with Earrings

Dragon Necklace.  (I Love this pic!!!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

"Bright Wing Tiara"

This is my very first tiara.  I can't believe it took me this long to make a tiara, and now that I've made one, there will be many more to follow...

My design was fairly simple, just pretty angel wings with a heart shaped filigree centerpiece.

I used fine silver wires, but added 24k gold wire circle accents.  Just for fun!

My color palate was shades of baby blues and opal whites.

After the first firing.  These are still hot- you can tell because the colors are green instead of blue.  As they cool, they settle into the proper color.

Why make just one?  I'm making a whole wedding party!

Here's my filigree wire laid out on paper.  I used some double stick tape to hold things in place.

I started out putting the solder carefully on each joint...

But by the end, I was winging solder left and right like a pro and just using my pick to keep things in place.  

Here's the final product.  Perfect for weddings and crime fighting!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Three Musicians

I made this enamel piece for the cover of James Olin Oden's upcoming album.  The concept behind the piece was three good friends playing music around a campfire in the evening.  There was some talk of a nice forest, and maybe some wagons, but in the end I choose to focus on the three figures.

Here's the sketch I came up with.  Although it looks like a lot of different colors, I tried to keep the palette pretty restrained (for me anyway).  It's mostly browns, oranges, and blues.  Originally, I was going to do a cobalt blue sky, but I felt that take the punch away from the browns and oranges, so I went with a clean opaque black for the sky.  That would allow the other colors to really pop.

Next, I made my wires.  I decided to use 24K gold wire for the fire and environmental elements and silver wire for the figures.

 Then I created the base using 20 gauge fine silver.  I cut out the top, then fused it to another sheet of silver:

Before any wires get fired into place, I counter enamel the reverse and put a nice coat of clear enamel on the front.

Then I fire the wires in place.  I do this in several stages.  I put down some 24K gold leaf where the fire was going to be.  Just for some added sparkle...

Finally time to add some color!  I did a couple of layers of the foreground and the figures before adding any of the opaque black.  I didn't want the black to seep in under the wires or contaminate the adjacent cells, so I waited until later to add it.  It's easier to clean up bits of black specs from the top layers of enamel.

After many layers of color, I did the first grind.  It's so easy to accidentally grind off all the enamel because you want it to all be smooth.  I could see that this was going to need some filling in with more enamel, so I resisted the urge to overdo it.

I actually did several coats of enamel to finish building it up to the edges.  You can see that I've added some more opaque black in the sky and clear enamel over the fire and the figures.  It always looks like a mess at this stage...

Ready for the final polish!

I had already soldered a loop on the back so it could be worn as a pendant, but I wanted to fabricate a setting for it so it could also be worn as a pin.  I used sterling silver and cut out some moon and stars.  Reminds me of a spaceship...

Then I just attached it to the back using the four prongs I created:

And here's the final piece.  I'm taking it to get photographed this week, so check back soon for the glamour shot!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Serbian Enamel Pin

 I finally got around to making the setting for my Serbian kilt pin.  My goal for 2013 is to really work on getting my silversmithing skills up to a decent level.

The setting is a combination of sterling and fine silver.  I had thought I might want to try fusing those little swirls in place, but after trying some samples, figured it would be easiest to just solder everything in place.  I started with the scalloped bezel wire using hard solder, then did the square outline frame using medium.  It's far from perfectly even, so I made the swirls to fit afterwards, and used medium solder again.

The matching cuff-links used the same scalloped bezel wire, but they were so large already, I didn't want to fuss them up with swirls.  I think they match pretty well...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

24K Gold Wire

Man, if I could afford it, I would do all my wires in 24K gold.  It's like working with pure magic.  Seriously, this is $300 worth of gold in my hand.... 

 So I warmed up with a pair of earrings.  These will be ruby red...

Then moved on to a large Griffon Necklace. 

Then, as my gold finale, I made this.  It's going be a present for my friend Jovan and will ultimately be a kilt pin.  He's got the McEwen tartan, but I'm honoring his Serbian heritage here with the crest.  The little fleur-de-lis will be matching cufflinks.  It's going to be a surprise, so don't tell him!

I've got some silver wire to bend tom morrow,  but hopefully I'll be able to start enameling these this weekend. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bending wires this week!

I like to warm up with the easy ones:

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