Wednesday, 12 November 2008

My first silver necklace!

I finished my first project in my metalsmithing evening class: a necklace in silver and felt.  The whole process of silversmithing is so time-consuming and physical - gives me a whole new appreciation of jewellery I see in shops.  

For this necklace I wanted to somehow combine felt and embroidery with silver.  My teacher at the class had shown us how to make stone settings (like those used in rings or brooches) - and I thought maybe I could use the same technique to create a place for felt on a piece of jewellery.

The finished piece!
I decided straight off that I would just make the main part of the necklace - chain is a nightmare to make, and there's no way I could make the delicate sort of chain that I wanted.  So, I bought in raw silver chain and finished the ends myself (but that comes a bit later... first, the main part!).

To make the main part, first I sawed out a piece of silver, and textured it with hammer marks.  To make the 'setting' I used a narrow, long, and thinner piece of silver which I shaped into a circle and then soldered on to the silver 'base'.  (This really is a quick summary, and doesn't give a true picture of the complexity of the soldering, or the time spent waiting for the silver to enjoy an acid bath, or the filing.... oh, the filing!)  

On this photo you can see the hammered texture, as well as the solder join on the setting ring.  I brushed the silver with a metal brush, and also sandpaper, to get a more matte effect on the metal. 

I already had a piece of turquoise felt I had made, that I had in mind to use, so I added a few French Knot embroidery stitches to it, and some tiny glass beads and freshwater pearl beads too.  Then I cut it to size, and glued it into position in the setting (usually, with stone settings, the metal of the setting ring is gently and subtly bent over the stone to hold it in place - but in this case that wouldn't have been any use due to the flexibility of the felt).

Then all that was left was to drill tiny holes in the top corners to take circular jump rings, so that I could attach the chain.
It was difficult to decide whether to round off the corners or leave them more sharp.  In the end I opted for sharp corners, but I'll try something different with my next project.  

I started working on my next pieces at last week's class - I'm sticking with the idea of 'setting' a piece of felt, but this time I'm trying to make earrings and a couple of different pendant necklaces.  Futher posts on this to follow!


Myfanwy said...

This is lovely. Well done!

The crafty Kaeru said...

Hi Myfanwy! And thank you :) I'm really enjoying my evening class... although I filed my thumb by accident at yesterday's class, so it's a bit sore today :P. Metalsmithing is certainly my most hazardous craft so far!