ScrapHappy August 2022 – Seaglass

This year one of MrG’s nieces got married in Lindos, and all the family were invited. It’s one of the many events that was bumped due to the various C-19 lockdowns, and it was the first time we’d left the country since we went to Kalbarri in 2010.

We’ve all been waiting for this holiday since we were invited in 2019 which gave us a lot of anticipation.

I love to beachcomb so I had the idea of collecting some seaglass to make Laura and Dan some celebratory jewellery as a wedding gift. We spent many happy hours ferreting through the shingle to find suitable pieces.

When we got home I sorted the various pieces into colours, then into pairs using an old ice-cube tray to compartmentalise them and we selected a matching pair for tiny drop earrings and a couple of other pieces for a tie-pin and a pendant.

This post is to explain how I made them.

The examples shown are some of the pieces I’ve made for my shop and also as test pieces for me, not the ones I gave away 😉

As you know all my silver is already recycled, but I haven’t used offcuts for these, the only scrap is the actual seaglass.

I plan to make some more pieces with the bits I have remaining and to offer a service of converting people’s own foraged pieces into jewellery for them

First up is to bend wire into a pair of V’s and then place them next to each other like this

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and then I solder closed a small jumpring which (after pickling) I place on top of the joint, and solder again so it’s all one piece.

Depending on how the final piece is to be used, I either solder on an earwire, pin or piece of wire as a bail.

So far, so standard – the next part is to fold the wires over the glass, holding it in place.

But, the wire needs to be trimmed to size, the ends rounded and the lengths need the metal equivalent of scoring to ensure they fold neatly to ensure they don’t chip or provide too much strain on the glass

As always – it’s measure twice, so I lay the glass onto the setting, mark where the claws will need to bend, trim the excess and then use a small cup burr to round the tips and tiny needle files to file in the score line allowing space for the wire to bend.

I do one pair of claws at a time to ensure I get a snug fit!

Finally it’s time to smooth the claw ends. I use Irene-The-Foredom for this, and a silicone burr. Then they have good wash and a tumble to clean and pring up the shine on the silver.

I think I’m going to offer this as a bespoke service with people’s own seaglass. If it’s something you’d be interested in, or if you’d like to order this exact pair you can do so on mye website here

And in exceptionally #CheeryUppy news, I discovered this month that AusPost are no longer prohibiting jewellery, which means I can send orders over to Australia from either my website or my Etsy shop. Huzzah!!

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials.

It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month?

Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join.

We welcome new members.

You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of them know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every month, but their blogs are still worth a visit).

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Claire, Jean, Jon, Me, Jule, Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

Posted in Uncategorized, DGDCheeryUppy, silver, processes, tutorial, Tech Tip, ScrapHappy, cheeryuppy | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

ScrapHappy Reticulation July 2022

I’ve failed to document our scrappy makes recently, which is rubbish, but I did revisit reticulation this month, and reuse the smaller pieces of that…

Reticulation* is where a sheet of sterling silver is heated to annealing temperature, quenched, pickled and repeated, a dozen times which results in the copper element of the alloy** has been depleted from the surface, effectively creating a layer of pure silver. The final torching that’s then applied is to melt that delicate layer of fine silver, without melting the rest of the sheet.

It’s a delicate balancing act, and if done well results in a fabulous texture of silver, that’s unique to that piece. It’s also something I love but find quite challenging to do – just like making toasted cheese – if the grill pan is too high, or left a fraction too long the toasted cheese isn’t bubbly and browned, but burnt and the smoke alarm’s howling!

I’ve learned that I should use a tip #20 to do the basic depletion annealing (the initial 12 heats) and then I have found it better to drop to a tip 21 or 22 for the final textural melt. If I get that just right, I can make the delicate top layer of silver flow a little on the surface.

As shown in this photo of me soldering a ring, the heat Smelty-Melty produces is intense in both temperature and scale, so the margin for error when using her is less than when using a standard handheld butane torch (such as a Dremel 2200)

I’ve made a number of bangles and necklaces using this technique, and then, because I did melt some holes into the lengths of the silver, making them unsuitable for a bangle or a cuff, I made myself some earrings from those shorter pieces for our recent holiday.

There’s then much careful sawing, filing and sanding followed by cunning use of dressmaker pins to support the tiny 3mm jumprings I solder to the backs of the sawn shapes to use to connect the pieces together

Here’s what I made all those pieces into (with the original pair on the left). Because I’ve been asked on every occasion of wearing If I have put them into either Etsy or my website, I made a range, and yes, now they are in my shop 😉

*Not the same retic you chaps in Australia have at all!!

**copper represents 7.5% of sterling silver, and is added to fine silver to add strength making it more durable than fine silver. It’s the copper element that oxidises)

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month?

Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of them know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so they can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn (me), Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

Posted in #SmeltyMelty, Aquaflame,, processes, ScrapHappy, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Association of Contemporary Jewellers Conference

I’m a member of the ACJ and this weekend was their/our conference. It was a special conference to celebrate 25 years of the guild and they chose to hold it in Exeter, my home town so of course I bought a ticket to all three days; it’s incredibly rare for anything to visit Exeter, and travelling to London is costly, and usually requires an overnight stay. I guess I’m a jeweller, and I suppose I’m contemporary, but I always think of myself as a craftsperson not an artist, so I was more than a little nervous of attending.

The three days were filled with interesting (and often intellectually challenging for me!) presentations by a wide variety of jewellery practitioners, none of whose work I was familiar with, many working in fields I didn’t know existed, and in a number of cases presented despite English not being their first language.

It was an honour to listen to them and I’d like to particularly give a shout out to (instagram handles and hyperlinks will take you an image of their work so you can see why):

Seeun Kim ( @art_studio_seeun ) whose mourning jewellery inspired copper brooches, are created through a complex and layered process of lost wax casting; layered in that she creates textures at each stage.

Yinglong Li ( @yinglong.li.961 ) whose modern reinterpretation of plique-a-jour was truly breathtaking, and took us on a virtual tour of his home city’s craft history

Jo McAllister ( @jomcallisterjewellery) creates exceptionally beautiful and textural jewellery (I had to stroke her bangle!). She was a very calming and inspiring presence. I particularly enjoyed getting to chat with her briefly on Sunday

Also thought provoking and well delivered talks that I really enjoyed from Jivan Astfalck (@astfalckjivan), Charlotte Dew (@gsmithscentre), Anthony Wong (@Anthonywongartist) and Kelvin Birk (@kelvinjbirk)

Extra thanks to Mark (@presman_mastermelt) for the goody-bag; my neighbour will never be able to misplace our spare key again, Emma from (@AssayOffice) Sheffield Assay Office for the Hallmarking reference book.

I met some fellow creative makers who seem supremely talented (go take a look at Stephanie @stephaniejohnsonjewellery) and David @davidjlillyjewellery) but were kind and generous, so made me feel less out of my depth. Thanks!

And of course, Kim (@MakeItWithKim) who was kind enough to come and crash at GillyTowers, and despite having to sleep in her van, managed to leave the bathroom cleaner than when she arrived. It’s always great fun to spelnd time with Kim. She should be grateful not to live closer!

Photos of my favourite of the brooches in the travelling ACJ exhibition…

and of some of the items created in the workshop ‘#MySlidingScale’ during which we created 6 identifying tokens to place on a bar thereby plotting where we feel between the two words at either end. eg, is my creation more messy or tidy. Interesting to see how varied all the tokens were, given we all had the same materials to use to collage / craft something. We then had to create an individual scale, and use two of our own words. I was a bit mentally and verbally challenged by this stage, (lots of people with much to try and absorb) but it was great fun and again very interesting.

Attending has made me realise I really must set aside time and create a budget to do more networking / gallery visiting over the next year. This was a very worthwhile use of my time.

Posted in Challenge, friends, geek, Law, Hallmark, Meet The Maker, Other Blogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

ScrapHappy April 2022

Remember this? Reusing old nails and champagne corks for setting tools?

Well. I’ve found an even less effortful and scraphappy adapation*. This time I just sawed the end off an old toothbrsh – one of the flexible and soft plastic ones favoured by #MrG

I already reuse them for cleaning of awkward areas / scrubbing of veggies, but this made me ridiculously happy.

It has a bit of a grippy tip, so less slippage when pushing a bezel wall over, and on the occasion it did slip, there was no gouging or scratching or shattering of the stone (both this mookite and iolite, are risky stones in that they are reasonably soft or fragile) nor did I lose a chunk of flesh from my holding hand. Result in all ways

And it took me about 5 minutes. I simply sawed off the end, smoothed it with my cheap as chips and bitey file that I keep for non-jewellery related work, and gave it a spot of sanding using an old nail file.

No WiP pics this month as it’s such a basic adaptation, but you can see it in the left hand photo – the toothbrush is white and purple.

I used it on this mookite pendant and this prototype ring.

*No credit to me, I follow a number of fellow smiths over on Instagram, and this was on MetalSmithSociety’s page. If you are keen on jeweller tips, this is the place to hang out!

As you know, ScrapHappy is organised by the always awesome Kate and Gun.

There are a number of us posting at this time of the month, so if you like your scraps fabric, yarn, jewellery or electronic and junk based (Jon, I’m applauding you!) give the blogs below a visit

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials.

It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month?

Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join.

We welcome new members.

You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of them know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every month, but their blogs are still worth a visit).

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Claire, Jean, Jon, Me, Jule, Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

Posted in cheeryuppy, DGDCheeryUppy, geek, Gems, Meet The Maker, Other Blogs, processes, ScrapHappy, Tech Tip, Uncategorized | 20 Comments

ScrapHappy March 2022

A very brief and simple #ScrapHappy this month.

I love my mitre vise beyond measure and I bought the best I could afford back in 2017, but it’s not the best there is.

As a result of my near constant use, and despite regular loving and careful maintenance, the threads on the bolts that allow the various jaws to open and close get a bit clogged with all the silver dust.

This means that they no longer stay anchored to the bottom jaw, and it started to open and close a bit wonkily (technical goldsmithing term there)

It really needed a grub* screw, (and it may well have had a couple originally) but we don’t have any of those, so #MrG retrieved a couple of old screws from the hinge of a kitchen cabinet.

You know the ones – we use them in modern kitchens to make sure the doors hang vertically. We had lots left over for some bizarre reason from when we put in the kitchen at the beginning of the century, so you’ll be pleased to learn that no cabinets were harmed in this process 🙂

We used these and although it would be better with grub screws these were free, and what’s best? #ReusingIsBetterThanRecycling that’s what’s best**

As you can see, the heads do impede the sitting it flat element, but as long as I carefully utilise the slot in my peg it’s a completely acceptable work around

*For the uninitiated, a grubscrew has no head to it. Basically teeny tiny 2mm allan key bolt fittings.

**That and getting something, however tiny out of the shed and into use.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join in on the 15th of each month?

Contact Kate via her Contact Me page, or leave a comment on her ScrapHappy post. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We all welcome new members.

You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month. Here are the links for the ScrapHappy gang, some of whom post every month, some of whom (like me!) are rather less prolific

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

Posted in resources, ScrapHappy, Tech Tip | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments