Saturday 29 August 2009

Wedding silver

A family member got married last weekend and I made up a couple of napkin rings for her and her other half. I used .9mm sterling silver sheet, 20cm long and 1cm wide.

I took a few photos of work in progress - from the metal I bought (already cut to size - I'm no fool) . . .

. . . to how the rings (or, as they still were then, strips of silver) looked after planishing . . .

And then I truly discovered how tricky planished silver is to photograph. The camera I was using seemed confused by the throw of light from the differently angled silver. It may have had something to do with my lack of photography skills as well . . .

After the silver was planished, I then polished it as, once formed into shape, it would be difficult, time-consuming and no doubt ultimately unsatisfying to try and do any major polishing then. I decided on leaving the underside of the rings with a matt finish, and leaving the planishing marks on the top side as the play of light on those is always wonderful to see. Plus, a totally smooth and shiny finish easily shows daily wear and those tiny scratches that seem to come from nowhere . . .

And, given the curving design of the rings, the combination of the two textures (the silky grey of the inside (which is sometimes on the outside), and the bounce and glint of the outside (which is sometimes on the inside)) seemed to make the most sense.

After hallmarking, I bent the rings up around a steel mandrel by hand and hide mallet, getting them as identical to each other as I could, and then spent a fair amount of time making them fit nicely against the table surface without any wobbles.

Then a final swish with some magic polishing cream someone lent me, and they were done.

Thursday 20 August 2009

Floral linking . . .

The fantastic Haptree and Me has taken my 'advice' (ahem) and created a wonderful Folksy Mini Treasury on the theme of flowers. Well, it is still summer . . . so the calendar says . . .

Do check out Haptree's great blog and very helpful photography hints.

Geen silver no longer

I rather gingerly tumble polished the green-silver-gold bracelet yesterday, just for half an hour, and not only has it restored the shine (as expected) but it's also removed the green . . .

Hmm . . .

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Green silver?

And I don't mean ecologically sound.

I've heard about jewellery turning your skin green, never meant to be an indicator of high quality metal, but I've not come across jewellery itself turning green before.

This is what's happened to a bracelet I made a couple of years ago.

I've given it a bit of a clean up with a silver-polish impregnated cloth but the greenish tinge still remains. Next I'm going to do some more heavy-duty cleaning which will at least clean up some of the oxidisation.

The core of the bracelet is silver wire, with finer silver wire wrapped around it, and the ends are 9ct gold hollow beads. All I can think is the solder used to fix the beads and the finer wire to the main bracelet was low quality and this has caused the green to appear.

Any other ideas anyone?

Saturday 15 August 2009

Saturday Folksy Listing Frenzy

Well, okay, it's only seven items but it seemed to take an age, as I sat in front of the computer with a tape measure and a clutch of necklaces and bracelets and a big, big mug of coffee.

Here's some photos (yes, taken on my old camera), but not of the big mug of coffee . . .

Click on the pic to go to the item in my shop if you fancy seeing more photos.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Emergency camera blog post!

Okay. I've been trying to figure out just which camera to buy for ages. I can't do it. I've started to dream about it. This can't be good.

So I'm seeking help and advice.

This is the camera I'm looking at right now, a Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ10. It's not massively expensive but my budget is a maximum of £150 so that's a good thing.

This is what I want.
A good macro for taking jewellery photos.
A nifty movie clip facility with as much quality as possible 'cos I've not got a video camera.
At least a 4x optical zoom, although I'd rather have 5x.
Uses SD cards 'cos I've got loads of them . . .

I'm unsure about AA versus the lithium-ion batteries. I've got some decent rechargable AAs that are quite new, but I don't want to go insisting on them if a better camera takes the lithium-ions.

Ooo, it's all so difficult.

I'm hoping to do a photography course later in the year so I don't want anything too basic in terms of settings that can be altered.

So, please, any guidance would be most gratefully received!

Something for . . . me : Rings part 1

I decided to combine a little soldering practice with making myself a couple of rings . . .

I think this a common crafter's affliction, whether you sell your work or not, may be to make things that always end up belonging to other people. I almost start to feel guilty about making things for myself, that the time and material cost would be better off going towards something that will perhaps sell or be a gift.

But I've collected a few small items for myself over the years, things I can't part with because I love them so much, or things I just stand no chance of replicating.

Sorting through my scraps box the other day I found some mangled and twisted pieces of silver sheet that looked as if they just might form rings . . .

Unfortunately I have yet to persuade myself to part with the money to buy a ring forming mandrel. So whilst I've been able to push the thinner ring, in the first photo, into some kind of wearable shape, the much thicker ring is still unwieldy and maintaining its decidedly oblong form that I had to persuade it into to solder it in the first place.

Tune in some time around the middle of September to see what they look like when they're finished . . .

In the meantime I'm working on finishing a necklace for, yes, me. The reason being is it's pretty much a prototype and I've been working on it an age and so this way I can give it a trial run and never have to part with it . . . photos up here as soon as it's finished.