The art of silversmithing has never been truly appreciated by the general public. Unless you go behind the scenes and understand the process designers and silversmiths go through to create their unique pieces of art in their own studios, most look at a precious metal piece of art or jewellery and frown upon the price tag. Having attended silver jewellery making classes, I can understand how much time and effort goes into hammering, sawing, filing, etching, or any other silversmithing method, a wire or sheet to get to the end result. The Silversmith’s Art: Made in Britain Today exhibition does exactly that: give the general public an insight into The Goldsmiths’ Company’s collection of commissioned items over the last 15 years.
Every year, the Fringe Festival is one of Edinburgh’s biggest events, the other main one being Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve celebrations). Without fail, there’s always a West End Craft Fair at St John’s Churchyard on the West End of Princes Street during the Fringe. Apart from the one show I’ve seen so far in the Fringe, I haven’t really had a chance tolook at the programme to see what other shows would be interesting. I seem to always manage to miss the Craft Fair though, so I decided to drop by last week and I was most definitely glad I went.
The fun part about the jewellery making classes, are that as a returning learner, you get to work on whatever project you like. I’ve been trying to get inspiration for my own designs and so far with only etching, soldering and shaping metal under my belt, there’s only so many designs I can get etched onto my pieces that I’d be proud to give away as gifts or to sell to interested parties. So far, while waiting to start the stone setting class in a couple of weeks’ time, I’ve been adding more pieces to my sterling silver filigree lily collection.
It’s now my second class into the second term of jewellery making classes and I’m pleased to say that although I’m still looking for inspiration on what else to etch onto sterling silver after I finished my etched filigree lily cuff and earrings set, I’m now working on a matching ring and friendship/family necklace set to go with the ‘collection’, so to speak.
With it being our final class last night, I was anxious to finish the remaining bits and bobs that needed done to my sterling silver cuff and earrings. I’m amazed by how far I’ve come with making my first sterling silver pieces of jewellery and just as a recap of where I started and as a final reveal of how my pieces turned out, I’m going to document the entire process here with all the photos I’ve taken along the way.
Looking back, I can’t believe we’ve already gone through so many weeks of the jewellery making class and that there’s only one class left next week! The tutor, Nicola Turnbull, felt bad for giving me homework, but I assured her I wanted to get the pieces etched and finished this term. So when I finished with it at home, it was coated with a mix of cheap nail polish and ground, and after sitting in the etching tank last night for 45 minutes, here are the pieces with the ground cleaned off:
Only two weeks more to go in the class and I’m already making some progress (and setbacks) on my sterling silver pieces!
Working with silver has definitely been a learning curve for me, especially since painting on the ground to coat the sterling silver pieces from getting etched (or eaten away) by sulphuric acid in the etching tank is an important process. Not knowing how much to coat your silver with is also a learning curve too. Continue reading “My first sterling silver project: Part 2”
Now we’re more than halfway through our 10-week silver jewellery making course and for the first time ever, I had my pieces of sterling silver to work with. It was so nerve wracking knowing how much I spent on the 3 bits that I was too worried about taking off the protective plastic coating on either side of my pieces until I realised I needed to work on it at some point during the 2-hour class last night, otherwise I’d be sitting around preparing my pieces next week to finally get it etched!
Just found this great silversmithing blog, Pickle and Flux for some great photography and silversmithing tutorials. Enjoy!
Source: The Huckaby’s Happily Ever After
On the back of last week’s jewellery making class where we started off our etching projects, I came across this Jewellery Workshop class on Craftsy that sounded quite interesting. Continue reading “Jewellery making technique: photo etching”