One of the things I love about t’interweb, is how connections are made. I posted an article about my celebratory giveaway (still running til the end of July) and one of the people who stumbled across it, had some really interesting posts, and runs a blog linking challenge-y thing called ‘scraphappy‘
It happens on the 15th of each month and from what I can see is a group of fellow crafty bloggers, who create a post specifically about what they have made from leftovers, aka scrap. Perfectly in line with my #ReuseIsBetterThanRecycle mantra that MrG and I apply to every area of life, much to everyone’s annoyance.
Now, as a silversmith, not only is my scrap precious in that there is a finite amount left in the world, it’s also jolly costly. I save everything; every last grain of dust resulting from sawing or sanding and filing, and every last little snipple of wire or sheet.
When I sent my first (ever the optimist) batch of jewellery to QuirkeyHQ in April, I made all of it using recycled elements – many parts of it being items I had smelted and reformed myself, some incorporating parts of old jewellery gifted to me but all of it involving recycled wire and sheet that was sold to me as part of the silver reclamation offered by my bullion dealer.
That was a beautiful challenge I set myself because Quirkey’s USP is that they also upcycle things – but do so incredibly sensitively with great inventiveness and beauty.
Anyway – to get back to my point. Kate left me some very kind comments, and invited me to join in her little gang of scrappers, so I thought I’d post something to show what I have done with a piece of scrap. Because this is my first post, I thought I should start by introducing you to the nature of silver scrap.
I have a number of scrap pots. One big one for all the gribbles that I can’t possibly use myself (too tiny, contaminated with wood dust from my benchpeg, or solder) – this will eventually get sent back to my bullion dealer once it has 1/2 a kilo of scrap in it (queue manic laughter – 1/2 a kilo? that’s going to take me a very, very long time!) Lots of smaller ones (contact lens pots!) for fine silver, 9carat gold and white gold and a tub for sterling.
When I started making stuff for Quirkey, I sorted that last tub into big and little bits, placing them in my usual devices of choice – old washing liquid dispensers. They are nice and soft, so the silver doesn’t bounce out so much as if I used ceramic or glass ramekins.
I started with a leftover piece of sheet that I’d sawn off the length of a ring – it’s too wide for an ordinary ring, and too narrow for a spinner. Applying the pattern has some cost to add to the silver – both in time, energy and cash – and of course it’s beautiful, so I don’t want to waste it. This has been sitting in my pot since December.
I’ve made it into two pendants and a pair of studs. This way I have a set of jewellery and a spare, or 3 pieces which I’ll take to my first fair at the beginning of August.
I made it using all my favourite tools, which is always an added bonus! The very expensive mitre vice, my upgraded vallorbe files (so fine they practically smooth the silver away) and a cheap as chips beginners doming block.
Here are some snaps of the process. Hover over, or click through to see the explanation of what I was doing
followed by soldering the bails on – again I’ve used bit of wire that were left over from another project (the wire I flatten for the Harry Potter inspired pendants I make). Again, hover / click through for captions.
And there we are. my first scraphappy post. I hope it suits, Kate !