The brooch above is a design by Marianne Anderson. She is a wonderful jewelry designer from Scotland and her work is truly one of a kind. I was introduced to her work through the Academy of Art University (AAU) where I'm studying Jewelry and Metal Sculpture for my own MFA. Her work is inspired by ornamental ironwork in architectural design and I have to say, it's very beautiful and has a feel of antiquity. She truly does capture the beauty and quality seen in ironwork of blacksmiths of the highest skill. If you get a chance, go check out more of her work at MarianneAnderson.co.uk and see all of her wonderful work.
Today is the mark of the seventh week in my MFA program and I'll admit, it's stretching my designs beyond my wildest imagination. Each module and exercise has really brought new life to my design ideas. These projects are challenging my fabrication skills and requiring me to put a lot more thought into my designs. I knew starting this program would change how I think about designing and fabricating my jewelry, but I didn't really think it would do this much good.
At this point, I think this is one of my best decisions so far in my jewelry career. The influence and inspiration I get from seeing other "student's" work is really making my mind expand greatly.
Last week's assignment was to create a pendant with tube settings for the stones. I chose to do a hollow form pendant with floral cut outs and cubic zirconia accents set in telescopic tube settings and a plain thick walled tube setting. I used 20g sterling silver sheet to fabricate the faces of the pendant and used a 20g sterling silver wire for the bail.
This pendant is designed to be reversible. It's a hollow form piece so it's very light and would work really well on either a silk cord or leather strap.
Whenever I can, I try to take in progress photos so I know exactly what aids I've used in getting the parts soldered together and also to troubleshoot any problems I do have along the way. Each piece presents it's own challenges and this pendant was no exception. My biggest concern was keeping the 20g wire bail from melting before the rest of the piece was brought to temperature for soldering.
The big tip in this setup is the steel tweezer third hands. I used one on the bail to absorb some of the excess heat the smaller piece received while heating the larger portion of the pendant. I also chose to use Easy solder on the bail since the rest of the pendant was put together with Hard solder. This helped in the temperature needed for soldering and keeping all of the other joints together.
The heat sink worked beautifully and my pendant came out exactly as I had planned. I'll admit, I'm still having difficulty getting these ideas on paper first, but I know if I set my mind to it, I'll get it into habit soon. As with everything, it's a work in progress.