The Jewellery making course continues and we have recently finished the most amazing pendants. I really love this design. The first week we were shown three examples of this square, textured pendant in various sizes. The photograph shows different textures – a leaf and a sort of honeycomb pattern, and a further botanic pattern. It is such a simple and elegant piece with no fiddly findings or holes in the piece. The chain just fits between the layers. I bought enough silver bullion produce one larger and one smaller pendant. Nick chose to make the smaller one for his daughter Charlotte, so I decided to make the larger one for myself.
Before we started on the silver pendants we were supplied with some copper squares to try out different textures before committing to our final design. The textures are created by pressing a firm object into the metal, under pressure.
The rolling mill is a very nice old machine that you feed the metal into, closely aligned with the material you want to create the texture with. It’s a bit like a mangle that we used to squeeze the water out of sheets and items we were washing at home.
I used wire, feathers, leaves, lace, linen, paper clips, netting and fine sandpaper cut into shapes. I was keen to try to achieve something sewing related, getting quite a nice effect with linen and lace. After a while of trying all these different effects both Nick and I went for natural forms – feathers (me) and leaves (him).
The pendant has a front and a back so it is possible to do two different textures. When the pieces come out of the rolling mill they were quite distorted and no longer square. It was necessary to file them down so that they were square and matched. We used a set square to achieve this effect. Then they are curved by bashing them into a mould, silver solder is applied to the four corners of each piece and finally they are heated so that the solder melts and bonds the two pieces of silver together.
The soldering process is quite delicate so our teacher Paul helped ensure we didn’t over do it. Then the pendants go into a barreling machine that polishes it to a high shine. It includes water, soap solution and small steel ball bearings (shot) and other particles to polish the silver. It is possible to use a blackening material to bring out the detail but we liked the shiny silver appearance.
I am loving the course and finding it such fun. I really enjoy working with Nick, Jo and Jeanette. I am keen to do another term to embed my learning and to get to designing my own things. We still have three weeks to go and the cabochon stone set ring awaits.