For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Archive for October, 2009

“Argentium Experimentium”

Is there anyone else out there that is trying to get to grips with Argentium silver and not exactly meeting with success??  I have tried to find information on other people’s experiences with it but have come up with very little success so far…but I will keep looking!!

I am a really recent convert to making jewellery with silver so I don’t have a lot of experience of working with the metal to really know what to expect when faced with Argentium!  But I have always been one to have a go and experiment!  I love working with pure ‘fine’ silver…it is just so clean and beautiful to work with….but it is not a very strong metal.  So although I make chunky, decorative chains from fine silver and use pmc with it as well, I am very aware of its limitations. That is why I was very excited when Argentium was finally available in the UK!

I have made earwires and catches with it since July with great success but I thought it was time to get more serious with it…and I especially wanted to see how compatible it is with pmc….so I have been having a play with it this week…  Can I just say that I am pretty new with pmc as well…and am reluctant to commit large pieces of it to experimentation!!

I have had a go at annealing the Argentium with a torch – using the Sharpie trick – and just watching for a very dull red colour change in a darkened studio but found it less than successful…so this time  – after initially trying to wind it round mandrels straight from the supplier and creating a very springy spring!  – I tried annealing it in the kiln…with the door ajar to allow lots of oxygen to circulate…

After allowing it to cool a bit and quenching it – it still looked rather springy…

Trying to get it tight round a mandrel was impossible – although I taped it into place!  See the gap that sprung open as I cut through the rings!!!

Anyway – I persevered…  I have already discovered that Argentium fuses really well…doesn’t even need a flux…and amazingly it goes silver again as it reaches fusing temperature!  Can you spot the difference between the fused and non fused rings here!!!

And here is the difference between the colour of the fused rings (right) and the smaller rings that I cleaned up in pickle…

So now we have my little pmc additions.  I have previously tried attaching stars and holly leaves to elongated Argentium  jumprings using pmc slip with some success and discovered that  if the attached area is too great it causes the Argentium to distort alarmingly!   So I have been very careful of the way I have attached them this time.  The rings were real experiments where I literally only attached the rings to the back with 3 or 4 little spots of pmc slip…just to see how strong a bond this would make!

Well – you can see by the results that the rings have distorted pretty dramatically  here so obviously the Argentium has adhered pretty well to the pmc even with a few dabs of slip!!  I am still pretty shocked by the extent of the blackening of the Argentium though – considering how bright it was after fusing it!  It is so thick it is actually pinging off the surface in little flakes!!

So I plopped them all into pickle after they had all cooled down a bit! and they came out looking lovely!

But as I gathered them all together I felt a horrible crunching noise in my hand and—– disaster!!  The ring from the ivy leaf – which had distorted so much in firing had snapped!  And as I manipulated it more I discovered that not only had it snapped but that I could break the rest of the Argentium off of the pmc leaf just using my fingers – and worse still…it snapped just like a piece of dry spaghetti!!

But I plodded on with my plans and popped a bit on enamel onto the pieces that were left…only to get distracted at the vital moment and ended up leaving them in the kiln for much too long…so that wasn’t much of a success either!!  A bit of a bad day all in all!!  (And it does get worse!!)  But look again!!  …why has the Argentium not blackened this time?  I fire my pmc and my enamel at the same temperature 820 degrees C – so why did it go black when fired with pmc but not when enamel firing and accidently leaving it in a hot kiln for the same sort of time??

Having messed these up I left them to cool in the kiln and had an evening with my grandchildren before looking at the pieces this morning….and yes…I couldn’t resist a fiddle!!  I could tell that the wire was just not feeling right…no where near as fragile as the ivy leaf ring was – but obviously not good…and there we go….  A pile of so much scrap!!

The broken wire I have discovered balls up beautifully – so perhaps that is not entirely wasted…but I can’t think how to salvage the pmc!!

I don’t know what I have learned from all this yet…and would welcome any comments!!  Perhaps Argentium isn’t compatible with pmc…not with a physical bond anyway.  I am thinking that the shrinking process with the pmc3 is disturbing the Argentium when it is at its weakest and most brittle state and causing it to shatter all through.  Perhaps it can only fire with pmc at its lowest firing temperature.   Perhaps it is only safe to use it with a mechanical attachment to pmc pieces….

Perhaps I will just go back to fine silver!!

As I have said above…I would really welcome any comments…and would love to have some information on how you have found Argentium to perform in the workshop…and with pmc if you have tried it!!

A Touch of Magic

Do you ever feel that your self image could do with a bit of positive imput??  Ever felt lost for positive ways to describe yourself?

I have found the most amazing list of words to make you feel totally brilliant!!

 

I just happened to put ‘gorgeous’ into an internet search (Don’t ask…It’s a long story!!!) and came up with a link to thesaurus.com which generated this fantastic list of related words.  Some of them are duplicated a few times…but why not??  Aren’t you doubly gorgeous, triply amazing, multiply pulchritudinous??  Of course you are!!  So have a browse of this list…pick out your words for today…stand in front of a mirror…look into your eyes and say….

Today I Am…..

Gorgeous, beautiful, magnificent attractive, beaut, bright, brilliant, centerfold, colorful, dazzling, delightful, dream,  easy on the eyes, elegant, enjoyable, exquisite, fine, flamboyant, foxy, glittering, glorious, good-looking, grand, handsome, imposing, impressive, knockout, lavish, lovely, luxuriant, luxurious, opulent, ostentatious, pleasing, plush, pulchritudinous, ravishing, resplendent,  splendid, splendiferous, stunning, sublime, sumptuous, superb aesthetic/esthetic, beautiful, artful, artistic, creative, gorgeous, inventive appealing, adorable, agreeable, alluring, beautiful, beckoning, bewitching, captivating, charming, comely, enchanting, engaging, enthralling, enticing, fair, fascinating, fetching, glamorous, good-looking, gorgeous, handsome, hunky, interesting, inviting, looker, lovely, luring, magnetic, mesmeric, pleasant, pleasing, prepossessing, pretty, provocative, seductive, stunning, taking, tantalizing, teasing, tempting, winning, winsome, beautiful, physically attractive, admirable, angelic, appealing, beauteous, bewitching, charming, classy, comely, cute, dazzling, delicate, delightful, divine, elegant, enticing, excellent, exquisite, fair, fascinating, fine,  good-looking, gorgeous, graceful, grand, handsome, ideal, lovely, magnificent, marvelous, nice, pleasing, pretty, pulchritudinous, radiant, ravishing, refined, resplendent, shapely, sightly, splendid, statuesque, stunning, sublime, superb, symmetrical, taking, well-formed, wonderful, comely, beautiful, a ten, beauteous, becoming, blooming, buxom, fair, fine, good-looking, gorgeous, graceful, handsome, nice, pleasing, pretty, pulchritudinous, stunning, wholesome, winsome, priceless, gorgeous, inestimable, invaluable, lavish, luxurious, opulent, precious, rich, splendid, sumptuous, valuable, eye-catching, noticeable, beautiful, , conspicuous, gorgeous, manifest, obvious, showy, spectacular, striking, stunning, glorious, adored, idiolized, divine, august, beautiful, bright, brilliant, celebrated, dazzling, delightful, distinguished, effulgent, elevated, eminent, enjoyable, esteemed, exalted, excellent, famed, famous, fine, gorgeous, grand, gratifying, great, heavenly, heroic, honored, illustrious, immortal, magnificent, majestic, marvelous, memorable, noble, notable, noted, pleasurable, preeminent, radiant, remarkable, renowned, resplendent, shining, splendid, sublime, superb, time-honored, triumphant, venerable, well-known, wonderful, lavish, profuse, splendid, abundant, bountiful, copious, effusive, extravagant, exuberant, first-class,  generous, gorgeous, grand, impressive, inordinate, liberal, lush, luxuriant, luxurious, munificent, openhanded, opulent, plentiful, plush, posh, prodigal, profusive, prolific, riotous, ritzy, sumptuous, swanky,  unsparing,  wildly lovely, beautiful, charming, agreeable, admirable, adorable, alluring, amiable, attractive, beauteous, bewitching, captivating, comely, dainty, delectable, delicate, delicious, delightful, enchanting, engaging, enjoyable, exquisite, fair, good-looking, gorgeous, graceful, gratifying, handsome, knockout, lovesome, nice, picture, pleasant, pleasing, pretty, pulchritudinous, rare, scrumptious, splendid, stunning, sweet, winning, luxurious,  indulgent, comfortable,  deluxe,  elaborate, epicurean, expensive, extravagant, fancy, fit for a king/ queen, gorgeous, grand, grandiose, gratifying, imposing, impressive,  lavish, luscious, lush, magnificent, majestic, opulent,   pampered, pleasurable,  plush, plushy, posh, rich, ritzy, sensual, sensuous, splendid, stately, sumptuous, sybaritic,  voluptuous, well-appointed, magnificent, glorious, wonderful arresting, august, brilliant, chivalric, commanding, elegant, elevated, exalted, excellent, fine, glittering, gorgeous, grand, grandiose, imperial, imposing, impressive, lavish, lofty, luxurious, magnanimous, magnific, majestic, noble, opulent, outstanding, palatial, plush, pompous, posh, proud, radiant, regal, resplendent, rich, royal, smashing, splendid, standout, stately, striking, sublime, sumptuous, superb, superior, superlative, swanky, towering, transcendent, pleasing, appreciative, august, content, contented, dignified, eminent, fiery, fine, glad, glorious, gorgeous, grand, gratified, gratifying, great, great-hearted, honored, illustrious, imposing, impressive, magnificent, majestic, memorable, noble, red-letter, rewarding, satisfied, satisfying, self-respecting, spirited, splendid, stately, sublime, superb, valiant, vigorous, well-pleased, attractive, adorable, alluring, appealing, beautiful, bewitching, captivating, charming, dazzling, enchanting, enticing, glamorous, good-looking, gorgeous, handsome, inviting, lovely, luring, pleasing, pretty, radiant, seductive, stunning, tantalizing resplendent bright, radiant beaming, blazing, brilliant, dazzling, effulgent, flaming, gleaming, glittering, glorious, glossy, glowing, gorgeous, irradiant, luminous, lustrous, magnificent, proud, refulgent, shining, shiny, splendid, splendiferous, splendorous, sublime, superb rich abundant, well-supplied, abounding, ample, chic, classy, copious,  deluxe, elaborate, elegant, embellished, expensive, exquisite, extravagant, exuberant, fancy, fecund, fertile, fine, fruitful, full, gorgeous, grand, high-class, lavish, lush, luxurious, magnificent, ornate,  plenteous, plentiful, plush, posh, precious, priceless, productive, prolific, resplendent, ritzy, smart, snazzy, spiffy, splendid, stylish, sumptuous, superb, swank, swanky,  swell, valuable, well-endowed, splendid luxurious, expensive, baroque, beaming, beautiful, bright, brilliant,  dazzling, elegant, fab, flamboyant, glittering, glowing, gorgeous, grand, grandiose, imposing, impressive, lavish, lustrous, magnificent, magnifico, marvelous, ornate, plush, posh, radiant, refulgent, resplendent, rich, solid gold, splendiferous, splendrous, sumptuous, superb, swanky, splendid, excellent, illustrious admirable, brilliant, celebrated, distinguished, divine, eminent, exceptional, exquisite, fantastic, fine, first-class, glorious, gorgeous, grand, great, heroic, impressive, magnificent, marvelous, matchless, outstanding, peerless, premium, proud, rare, remarkable, renowned, resplendent, royal, splendiferous, splendorous, sterling, sublime, superb, superlative, supreme, transcendent, unparalleled, unsurpassed, very good, wonderful, stunning, beautiful, marvellous beauteous, bonny, brilliant, comely, dazzling, devastating, excellent, fair, famous, fine, first-class, first-rate, gorgeous, great, handsome, heavenly, impressive, lovely, number one, out of this world, pretty, ravishing, remarkable, royal, sensational, smashing, spectacular, striking, superior, top, wonderful, sublime, great, magnificent,  august, divine, dynamite, elevated, eminent, exalted, glorious, gorgeous, grand, heavenly, high, holy, ideal, imposing, lofty, majestic, noble, proud, resplendent, sacred, spiritual, splendiferous, splendorous, stately, super, superb, the most, transcendent, transcendental…

Now – don’t you feel so much better???

Off you go…have a good day….and really believe in yourself.  You are one of a kind and truly —– (insert word from above!)

Fit for Anything!!

For those of you who have been kind enough to keep popping back to my blog – even though I seem to have abandoned it for so long…thank you so much!!  I thought my stats would have flatlined but they have kept gently bobbing along so thank you again!  Hopefully I am back now…and in almost full working order!

I caught something during the first week of September which really laid me low…perhaps it was the dreaded Swine Flu – I don’t know – but I have rarely in my life felt quite so rotten.  It seemed to affect my balance long term and made me feel really woozy and shaky.  I started to feel a bit more able by the end of September – and just as I started to get going again I caught a cold!  Not a particularly bad one, as colds go, but it has gone straight to my sinuses and has got me reeling and shaking again!  I very rarely resort to pills – but I have gone through a packet of decongestants now!  I’m still not right but I’m beginning to see the end of the tunnel now…fingers crossed!!

Anyway – by way of therapy – (as I daren’t trust myself with a flaming torch at the moment!!)  I’ve been having a go at wire weaving and I am really pleased with the results.

I have been posting my efforts on the UK forum run by http://www.cooksongold.com and thought using my blog would be a good way of showing them all what I am doing as I can post lots of photos on here – and everyone else can have a peek too!!

So – this was my first attempt – using 0.8mm silver plated wire…

And here is how I did it (but using 4 groups of 2 wires this time).

I started by cutting my wires and taping the ends together – making sure they were all tight and parallel (1)..  and then I clamped this taped bundle into a ring clamp to hold it firm.  I then pushed 2 wires alternately to the back and front of the clamp making sure the working section was kept straight and parallel at all times (2).

The wires on the right are lifted up and then bent over the other sets of wires – keeping the wires flat and parallel (3).  Then the wires that are laying against the clamp are lifted up and over this set of wires (4).

The wires that are now sticking out to the left of the clamp are carefully bent upwards – keeping them flat and side by side.  I do this by bending them against my fingernail to get a nice tight bend close to the woven wires (5).  The clamp is then opened and the work pressed downwards so that the weave you have just created is now clamped inside the ring clamp.  The set of wires to the left are now very carefully laid into a weaving position (6) and a new set of wires to the right of the work are lifted up before being bent over the other sets of wires as in picture 3 above …and then the process repeats over and over!!  It is as easy as that!!

As the work progresses you will begin to see that the taped end is slowly working its way out of the right side of the clamp.  This is just as it should be as the weave is added to in a diagonal fashion.

And this is what is going on inside the clamp!

I really do love things that are so simple and yet effective!!

Obviously this technique could be used with any number of wires, with 2, 3, 4 or more wires in each group and as many groups as you want – and any length of wire!  But PLEASE remember to wear safety glasses though as we don’t want any eyeballs jiggling about on the end of the wires…!!!  The only thing to remember is that you need to have an equal number of wires to the back and the front of the work.

There is so much scope with this technique and since I have only just found out how to do it I have a lot of experimenting to do!!  ….starting this week-end…. ‘cos I’m fit for anything now!!!  (fingers crossed!!).

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