Ring A Month – February 2020 ‘Art and Artists’

This month I spentย  the first fortnight unable to choose between Barbara Hepworth or Bridget Riley – both of whom are artists whose work I love, but are very different. I eventually decided to run with Riley, because a) I made something very dimensional for January and b) I wanted to make a copper wrap ring for #MrG to assist with his arthritic finger . You can see their work at the Tate – in person and online – click on their names to be taken to the information the Tate holds about them.

I’ve not made a wrap ring before, but it’s reasonably straightforward – take a strip of metal, and roll it around a mandrel. Of course, there’s still some measuring, but I wanted to create one that is adjustable

The most difficult part was drawing my template and transferring the pattern to the copper.

The photos below show the process, and the finished piece.

February2020_ArtArtists_01Cut a strip of paper, wrap round mandrel to get total length required. (Not photographed)

Print the image onto paper, and then taped two together (I ought to have measured BEFORE doing this, and then printed three copies, to save the final stage!)

Tape the image together, lay the template over and identify it’s too short (!)

Use bathroom window as rubbish lightbox, to transfer the pattern from front to back of paper – I usually print on tracing paper, which is more useful for this kind of thing as I can just flip it over, but I can’t find any made from recycled material, nor is it recyclable, so to avoid having to replace my stock, when I’m doing one offs, I tend to use standard paper

February2020_ArtArtists2Saw a length of metal (copper in this case) to the right shape. I am restricted in the length of a piece of sawing by the throat of my jeweller’s saw, so had to use thicker copper sheet.

I sawed it, filed the edges and then annealed it, before running through Morris-The-Mill to thin it from 1.2mm to 0.8 (ish)February2020_ArtArtists4




As you can see, this thinning extended the length considerably.

I remeasured my bit of paper, to get the perfect length and added a couple of millimetres to allow for the metal thickness

I annealed the copper again, and using double sided sticky tape (a stash I bought over 35 years ago in a village jumble sale. It’s still super sticky ) stuck the pattern onto the metal at the optimum width, sawing

Then it was pillar drill time.

I use my Dremel as a pillar drill – I found it too wibbly to work as a flex shaft, but it works well in a press as a drill for tasks like this.

I love the way the metal curls up after drilling, and I love the word – swarf

I drilled all the holes, using a slim bit first as a pilot hole for all of them, then using two further, larger bits for the other holes, to give the variation.

More filing and sanding to round the corners / edges / remove all and any daggy bits

Finally, wrap it around the mandrel at the correct size, and polish – These photos are of it unpolished as I wanted to check the fit before properly hardening it up. As his joint swelling reduces, I’ll be able to tighten up the metal, which means it should last longer than the spinner ring I made him last year. Hope you enjoyed this little walk through. Roll on March’s challenge ๐Ÿ™‚



About DawnGillDesigns

Finally able to make stuff and get paid for it!!! How cool is this?!
This entry was posted in Arthritis, folk remedy, Meet The Maker, processes, RingAMonth, Ring a month, RingAMonth2020, Stuff I love, tutorial, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Ring A Month – February 2020 ‘Art and Artists’

  1. katechiconi says:

    Fun to see your art in action. I have some questions: 1) could you use baking parchment instead of tracing paper? It’s probably firm enough to cut to size and run through the printer, but isn’t waxed so it won’t leave muck on the rollers, plus it’s recyclable and often recycled (here, anyway…) 2) Does Morris the Mill spread the width of the strip as well as elongating it? He’s rollers rather than like a wood thicknesser, isn’t he? 3) How do you tighten the ring without it springing back out again? Do you have to heat and rewind the whole thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory says:

      I want to know about tightening the ring as well.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gosh, you two are very enthusiastic. Thanks both *sends hugs over to Aussie Land*
        I’ve mentioned annealing metal, well, with Copper and Silver (the only ones I’ve really worked with) one heats to the right temperature (glowing a salmonish pink, or when a black Sharpie mark vanishes) and quenches. After that, every bit of movement applied to the metal recompresses the molecules, and ‘work hardens it’ . Making it into the coil the first time, hasn’t hardened it up much – I wrapped it round my mandrel at the correct sizing point, and was able to do so just with finger pressure.
        I can then easily size it up or down by sliding / forcing it down the taper to a wider part, (I use a rawhide mallet to help with this if necessary), or pulling it up the mandrel, to a narrower part, gently tapping it with the mallet to close it up a little more.
        As long as I don’t muck about with it too much, then it should be pretty adjustable as is, allowing me to achieve the perfect fit. However, once it’s been worn for a while, or tumbled in the polisher, it will have work hardened further, and although it would technically be possible to resize (because I’ve not soldered it anywhere – if I’d soldered, the convention is not to size a ring more than a half ring size due to stress on the joint) it would be quite effortful, and I’m opposed to effort if it can be avoided ๐Ÿ™‚ so I will reanneal as and when I need to resize it for him, and repeat the stretching / shrinking size.
        Hope that answers your query – let me know if it hasn’t!! And thank you x


        • acflory says:

          Very clear. Thanks, Silversmith. I think for me, the hard thing to get my head around is that working with metal hardens it. In my head when I think of working with something I always thing of dough or clay. Working with those media softens then and makes them more elastic not less.
          It’s fascinating to realise that different materials have completely different rules applied to them. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hadn’t thought about baking parchment, that’s a good idea. I’ll try it out once I use up my (1980s) stock of tracing paper. Thanks so much.
      Morris doesn’t spread the width in any noticeable way (I’ve not noticed any appreciable difference to the width, of sheet – with round wire, it does make it a tiny bit wider, but only a tiny bit. 1.5 mm wire, rolled to a thickness of 1mm (as used for my #HookerRings takes it to about 1.6 mm ) but I might do a controlled experiment :-). I have no idea what a wood thicknesser is, but he works much like a giant, hand cranked pasta machine. You can buy them with more gearing than the one I have, to reduce the effort, but I hadn’t appreciated quite how important that would be, so I bout one that – albeit still the price of my first car in 1993, was only half the price of the one with the extra gearing . As a result, I try not to run anything wider than 2cm through it, as it nearly kills me!!!
      tightening the ring – see my reply on Andrea’s post please x


  2. dvberkom says:

    Very interesting! Thank you for sharing this. I wear copper all the time–it definitely helps with arthritis.

    Liked by 1 person

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