A pair of earrings I made today. The design has in mind a methodology that doesnt require sanding or polishing, mainly just shearing and flame-work (a bit like etruscan?). I would love to make these in 22k gold (of course!) Please contact me if you'd like a pair in gold.
The silver version is available in The Golden Smith Shop. US$250
Here is the method:
First, roll out silver to a thin sheet, using rolling mills.
Cut out discs, then petals. I use scissors for this- snips or saw would be too awkward.
Flatten and texturise the flowers on a rough anvil, with an antique hammer.
Scribe lines on petals using a double-pointed tool and on a heavy paper pad to allow the right amount of push-out.
Close-up of said tool. I fashioned this from a broken twist drill and hold it in a pin vice.
Dome the shapes using a wooden punch and matrix.
I dont use steel versions of these tools as these would probably spread the already-thin material.
I also stone-washed (not shown) these components to de-burr the edges.
Little backing cups are made using the same method.
All components, including ear wires are organised for assembly.
The backing cups are soldered to the ear wires. Soldering (not shown) is done under an exhaust hood and I also wear a respirator- to protect myself from potential fume hazards.
The flowers have holes punched through their centres, and are attached to backing-cups with a ball rivet. These rivets are formed from short lengths of wire with little heads melted on each end- and will allow the flowers to move a little.
A hot little flame is needed to quickly melt this rivet-head without heating the adjacent solder join
-which has a lower melting temperature. In other words, if you do this wrong, the whole lot melts together... or falls off!
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat... Repeat!
Bend assemblage into earring configuration, with ear-hooks.
Looking a little grey at this point, I immerse them in a bath of citric acid,
which brings them to a bright colour.
I burnish the ear-hooks to be bright and smooth, and give them a soapy wash.
I may try some similar versions with elements other than flowers?
Earrings, gold and turquoise.
A recent commission that I've just completed, for "a pair of hinged earrings with some sort of turquoise element". Ancient Roman earrings were an inspiration. The entire piece is hand-fabricated, meaning that all the pieces are shaped and joined- directly from gold. I cut the stones to an oblate ovoid shape, leaving them slightly irregular and setting them in a rugged bezel (the collar that holds the stone) for that ancient look. Mill-grained edges and contoured hinge-fingers are an echo of the granulation and decorative rolled wire that you might see on ancient gold-work.When you make little gold structures like these, with several elements and features, the construction strategy- that is, the sequence of tasks- becomes increasingly consequential. For example, if you solder a very thin bit of gold onto a hefty one, the thin one can easily melt whilst the hefty one is just getting warm. These kind of problems compound as the all the elements come together. The stone-setting comes almost at the end of the sequence, with the final touch being to make the texture of the gold just right, all over. For me this is a mixture of polishing, burnishing, and stoning- a natural mid-point between high-polish (which the gold won't hold for long, being a soft metal) and matte, (which the gold wont hold for long... being a soft metal!)
Trivia; Turquoise is called that because it was said to be sourced from Turkey.
This handsome object is a wooden plate known as a trencher. Apparently this form of medieval tableware began, originally, as a crust of stale bread to put food on- and then given to the poor at the end of the meal.
Eventually the bread idea was phased out I suppose, because they started making trenchers from wood.
And then the poor ate... cake?
Anyway, I love the circle/ square design- Deiter Rams couldn't have done better.
Not far from Gordes, Provence.
Amazing drystone village- creating a sculptural landscape.
The wall-roof transition is impressive- internal framing was minimal or absent!
Inside, these buildings tended to be pretty gloomy I thought. Maybe that's because of desertion?
Maybe they were cozy once upon a time? The folks were poor, and they really had to eke out a living here from the stoney stoney land.