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

Archive for the ‘Thing-a-Day 2009’ Category

…FOR THE MEMORIES!!

by solunarsilverstudio on February 28th, 2009

Well, that’s it…that’s me finished! What an experience it has been! There were certainly many days when I wondered what on earth I was doing but I am so glad I persevered and got the full 28 days posted. I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about other people. I have achieved things I didn’t think I could and created many things I would never have done had I not been spurred on by ‘Thing-a-Day. I have ‘got to grips’ with the computer…learned how to ‘post things’ on a blog and set up my own blog site at  http://www.solunarsilverstudio.wordpress.com (I can guarantee that I won’t be posting things on a daily basis….perhaps a couple of times a week…but I would love to have you ‘pop in’ to see me!!) I have opened a ‘shop’ on Artfire and another on Folksy but I haven’t got much on either of them yet…give me a couple of weeks and I’ll be filling them up. Check what I am up to on my blog!! None of the above would have been done if I hadn’t stumbled upon the TaD website sometime last year and then remembered to register!!

So, I have my (sort of) finished book of treasured comments from you lovely people as my final ‘thing’. Ok, Ok – I have to admit that it has taken just a teensy-weensy little bit longer than an hour…more like half a day(!!) to get it done, but I couldn’t not do it could I?? I have fought with my ancient sewing machine to try and get a bit of ‘free embroidery’ type action going – but it wasn’t really playing the game but I am quite satisfied with what I have done. I will do a lot of hand finishing (there is like a million threads that need cutting off!!) and sew on some little beads and things later but I hope you can see the sort of idea I am aiming for.

I am very happy with the interior….and I am sure I will dip into it often over the next eleven months, whenever I feel the need to put a smile on my face.

I’m sure it is going to feel very odd tomorrow, when I realise that I don’t have to think of anything at all to create before the midnight deadline…not that I shall be idle – I have a whole house to clean and tidy…as I have neglected it terribly for a month! I’m sure my ‘dearly beloved’ will be thrilled that February has passed!!…I haven’t told him yet that TaD happens every year!!

So, goodbye all…I hope to see you all again next February…keep busy!!

THANKS….

by solunarsilverstudio on February 27th, 2009

Day 27

I read the lovely post by ‘the-gypsy’ yesterday (day 26) about a compliment she had received and how happy it made her feel, and it reminded me how happy it has made me to read all the wonderfully upbuilding compliments you have made on my posts in the last 26 days. I thought it would be a really nice idea to collect all these comments together into a little book format so that I could ‘dip into’ it over the next eleven months (!) whenever I was feeling down or that I felt my work was not going very well…you know what I mean – we all get those days don’t we – with major creative blockages and artistic disasters!!

I have my grandson with me today – Friday I do my babysitting duties – and so I am never able to get much done that can’t be stopped and started over and over again as my little charge dictates! So this seemed like the ideal ‘thing’…arranging and printing out the comments you have posted for me on pieces of thick, cream coloured paper that I can make into a book format tomorrow. I must say that the whole thing has taken me rather longer than I expected but that is because I am still hopeless with computers and spend ages talking to myself about what I have done wrong and how I could have done it better – it must definitely be the first step to madness!!

Anyway, I think I have done it now – to the best of my ability. I might print out some pictures of what I have made over the month so that I will be able to relate comments to ‘things’ when my memory fails me(!!) but I think I will do that on photo paper and stick them in .. working out the orientation of the paper and printing them onto the back of the sheets of writing I have printed out is beyond me – and anyway, the cream coloured paper would spoil the colouring of the photographs…well that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!!

So here is my ‘thing’ for today… a small ‘thank you’ for helping me to have a great experience for my first ‘thing-a-day’.

HEARTS AND FLOWERS

by solunarsilverstudio on February 26th, 2009

Day 26

I have been really short on time again today and so have had to try to create a quick ‘thing’ out of bits and pieces I had to hand. I still had some little silver flowers on stems (which I have used for the last 2 ‘things’ and really am developing quite a love affair with!) and I had some fat, hollow heart beads that I created a mould for on day 19 and were waiting for a purpose!

I put the two items together and made these earrings. There are so many things ‘wrong’ with them that I could fill the page with it…but suffice it to say I would do them totally differently if I did them again. I think the proportions are all wrong, and I needed more wire than I had left myself to do the wrapping. And the whole thing would have looked a lot better if I had had the time to put them in the tumbler and given them a shine…….and……..well…..

I’ll leave it at that – they are not that bad after all!!!!!

FLOWER-RING

by solunarsilverstudio on February 25th, 2009

Day 25

I was not very happy with yesterday’s ‘thing’ …I thought it was a bit weak, but I really liked the little flowers that I was working with – so I sat down with a cup of tea this morning and had a play around with the flowers I had left from the batch I made yesterday.

I have to say – I am a whole lot happier with today’s offering!! As an experimental piece it certainly shows that the idea has a lot of potential. There are a few ‘wrinkles’ that need ‘ironing out’ as far as my technique goes so I will have to make a few more!!

Sorry I’m not writing any more today. I’ve just heard that my son – who is in Thailand – has had a motorbike accident. He is sort of OK, after hospital treatment, but has a lot of abrasion type injuries and a few stitches…so I’m not really in the mood to waffle on!

A TOUCH OF SUMMER

–>by solunarsilverstudio on February 24th, 2009

I have had very little time today and so have made a very simple and summery mixed media bracelet, incorporating fine silver and leather. First I made groups of 3 links from the fine silver, fusing them all closed and then I used strips of leather to create links by folding the ends of the leather strip into the centre, having linked it into the twisted silver links first, and then I stitched the leather strip together.

To add a touch of summer I made some tiny flowers from precious metal clay and embedded a length of fine silver wire into them. When I fired these flowers in the kiln the embedded wire became fused to the flowers. I used the flame from a torch to round the ends of the wire into tiny balls so that they would not scratch and then attached these flowers to the centre of the leather links by winding the wires in opposing directions around the leather strip.

I finished the bracelet with a simple toggle fastening. It is a very lightweight bracelet…not a serious bit of jewellery …just a little bit of fun….ideal for long, hot, sunny days!!

A TANGLE WITH MOBIUS

Day 23

For a while I have been looking at the work of jewellery makers who create chain maille designs. I am fascinated by it and would love to be able to produce some of my own. The only problem is that the fine (pure) silver wire that I work with is a bit weaker than sterling silver (due to it not having any copper added to it for increased strength). It is really only suitable for use in jewellery if it is fairly thick wire in the first place and if the jumprings are fused (or soldered) closed. I have thought that it is probably possible to do some of the less complex maille designs but it would need a bit of careful workmanship with the torch. When the links are so close together it is hard to direct the flame of the torch only at the join you are working on without inadvertently heating up the surrounding rings, and as the fusing technique is basically ‘controlled melting’ it is not always possible to keep an eye on the temperature of all the rings while concentrating on fusing one join. One lapse of concentration and the whole group of rings could become fused into one lump and be good for nothing but the ‘scrap bin’.

So it was with a mixture of excitement and dread that I started today’s ‘thing’ which I had decided would be a bracelet based on the Mobius ring style of chain maille. I have tried to do a Mobius ring before with partial success but to do a bracelet I needed to make several successful rings to link together in some way.

All my chains start off with a pile of open jump rings which I wind and cut myself from a reel of wire. At the beginning of every week I spend a couple of hours making hundreds of jumprings in a variety of sizes, which I hope will see me through a week of chain making. In this way I always have rings ‘in stock’ for any project I want to do. This bracelet would take 55 rings to make.

It was a fairly simple process. First I joined 2 rings together and fused the joins closed.

Then I threaded a third ring through the first two and fused that one closed.

Checking the stack was neatly arranged I then added a fourth ring which interlocked with the other three, and fused this one closed.

Finally, I threaded a fifth ring through the others. This was becoming quite a chunky stack of rings and the join in the fifth ring that I needed to fuse was getting very close to the rest of the stack!

Having successful made the Mobius rings themselves I then needed to attach the rings that would work as connectors to the rest of the chain – which in effect was adding, and fusing, ring 6 and ring 7 to the group!

I then had to decide how best to make up the chain. I laid out different permutations of jumprings and shaped rings to get an idea of how things would look and finally decided to go for a fairly simple and clean cut look.

It is not really my style of bracelet but I think it is attractive in its own way!! It doesn’t really look anything like chain maille but it has proved to me that it is possible to fuse a number of rings in close proximity so I may try to do something more complex and decorative, and ‘maille-like’ at a later date.

HERE COMES THE BRIDE’S BRACELET !!

Day 22

I thought that I would have a bit of a ‘lazy Sunday afternoon’ and complete a project that I had half started some time ago – but as it happens, it has taken me far longer than most of my other ‘things’ have! Having said that – I think my time has been well spent and I am really pleased with the outcome…see what you think.

I made a length of chain some time ago – following instructions from a book called Classical Loop-in-Loop Chains & Their Derivatives by Jean Reist Stark and Josephine Reist Smith (brilliant book!). It took me a long time to get into it and it was very fiddly and painful on the fingers – but I SO loved the chain that appeared as I worked – hour after hour!! I thought of it as my ‘Meccano’ chain because it has a square profile and there are holes on all four sides of the chain for things to poke through or attach to…so much scope for experimentation!!

It has been suggested to me that I should make some bridal jewellery and it has been in the back of my mind to use the ‘meccano’ chain for this purpose – so that was my plan for today…to turn this chain into a bracelet fit for a bride.

I had some tanzanite Swarovski bicone crystals which I wanted to incorporate into the design. I started by cutting 2 lengths of the chain with exactly the same number of links in each and fused a jumpring and a toggle to one end of the 2 chains and a jumpring and a twisted ring to the other 2 ends. I needed to do all of the torch work with this piece before adding the Swarovski crystals because I didn’t want to run the risk of damaging the crystals in the heat.

I then made some 26 gauge fine silver wire by drawing some thicker wire through my drawplate and I then twisted two pieces of this tightly together. I used this wire to literally sew the 2 chains together and included the 7 Swarovski crystals as I went along. It all sound so very simple but it was much more fiddly than I expected and got me rather ‘hot under the collar’ on more than a few occasions!!

I can’t begin to put a figure on how many hours the whole of this project has taken me from reel of wire to finished bracelet – but the bracelet is SO beautiful I will have to try it again to see if I can find a way of making the chain a bit quicker…and try it with different crystal colours…or with big, fat, freshwater pearls…and I’m sure I can speed up the ‘sewing’ part with a bit of practice!!

Although it is made from two chains the finished bracelet is actually semi-rigid and flexes beautifully around the wrist. I have only put the crystals into the centre section of this one but I’m sure it would look equally stunning if the crystals went all the way around…or if they were mounted closer together.

So many variations…so many possibilities!!

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