6/8/14

Flowers for My Ears

Finally time to make something for myself. I tried some simple enamel earrings made from pre-cut copper circles.


First I punched some holes in the smaller circle with a handheld hole punch. Then I dapped both sets of circles with some dapping punches to round them. I did some hammering on the edges to add some texture.

Both sets were enamelled. Then I cut some leaf shapes and enameled those. I punched a hole in the ends of them as well so I could thread them all together.

The center is a piece of silver wire. I balled the end and then threaded all the pieces through and bent the wire on the back so that all the parts would stay together. Finally I added a french earring wire made from silver wire.

What did I learn from this experience? I ended up removing the copper rings and simply hanging the flowers directly on the ear wires, since they were too long and the flowers tended to move too freely and end up showing the back, which I did not enamel. Secondly, four pieces of copper, even though they're small, ends up being pretty heavy, so I think I'll max at 2 pieces if possible so I don't bend my ears out of shape!


5/28/14

Punch Today in the Face Etched Pendant

As soon as I saw this expression, I knew it was perfect for my eldest daughter and a great test for my first metal etching project. This pendant is created from sheet copper with the addition of a purchased brass bird I enameled and fired.



First I cut a piece of 24 gauge copper to the size I wanted for my finished pendant. Then I drew my text and some designs with marker, including covering the edges to protect them.
 Then the copper was suspended in a half inch of ferric chloride from the jewelry supply store. It took about 40 minutes or so to get a nice deep etch. I rinsed it well with baking soda and a brush.
 Here's the etched piece. I will try stamping a design next time, as I found the strokes from hand writing with a marker were a little less precise than I would like.
I decided to go with the Ranger patinas which are painted on the surface, then sealed the face with a lacquer. The bird was torch-fire enameled, then roughed up and fired along with the whole piece to give it more of a grungy look. I used a brass rivet to attach the bird to the face of the pendant. Holes were punched in the top to add a chain. Another gift I really enjoyed designing and giving!

Torch Fired Enamel Vampire Clouds


 For my first at home torch-fired enamel project, I designed some earrings for my daughter, who loves cutesy things like happy clouds and dead things like vampires, so this combines both to create a whimsical new creature: the vampire cloud. 
First step, draw a design on paper and cut it out, then trace it onto 24 gauge copper sheet with marker. Cut out the shapes and file smooth. The internal shape of the mouth was cut with a jewelers saw inserted into a hole I punched in the middle and the eyes are simply different sizes of hole punches.
After cutting out the shapes, I dapped them a bit to make them more cloudy.
 I cleaned them well, then brushed on Klyr Fire enamel holding agent and sprinkled on white enamel. This little guy got fired on the back side for counter enamel. Then I flipped and repeated, enameling the front and back of the clouds, then just the front of the raindrops.
The raindrops are attached with long twisted copper wire and handmade sterling ear wires complete the project, then they're off to their new home!