I’ve dropped the ball with blogs for quite some time – having not really been sure what they are about and how they fit in with newsletters and such.
I’ve decided they are an informal update and a way to connect with you.
Updates new products, a little bit of behind the scenes, some input on how my jewellery is made and anything that you let me know you would like to hear about.
So here goes……………..
Life in lockdown! How many times have you heard that over the past months? There’s already a futuristic film on Netflix about life with the Coronavirus – I can’t say what it’s like - as you can tell from my jewellery, I’m much more likely to be watching Lord of the Rings or Avatar!
Well, for me, I’ve got a weekly structure where I tend to work from home on Monday & Tuesday – all admin and social media planning, then I’m in my workshop Wednesday to Friday – doing what I love, from design and prototyping through to creating pieces.
A recent addition to the website are these earrings.
I love making leaf jewellery using actual leaves that
I've picked up when out walking. However, it is
difficult to find a young leaf small enough for earrings but developed enough to provide all the vein structure that is so beautiful in the finished piece.
For these I've taken larger leaves, imprinted onto silver and then sawed to earring size following the natural shape of the actual leaf.
The colour is achieved with a process called vitreous enamelling. There are many ways to add colour to silver or gold jewellery but I think this centuries old traditional process offers the most luscious and long lasting finish. It does come with it's drawbacks - being a laborious, time intensive process.
The word vitreous comes from the Latin word for glass. The enamel is powdered coloured glass which is then fused by firing at high temperatures in a kiln. There are various enamelling techniques and for these earrings I cleaned some leaf green enamel by washing repeatedly (10 times) in a pestle and mortar, working out all impurities. I have then carefully wet set the enamel onto each leaf and put on top of the kiln (somewhere warm) to dry. I then repeated the process with some grass green enamel. After firing the first colour, when fully dry, I then added the grass green colour to add a few dark spots – dried again and fired again.
Had I used opaque green this would have obscured the leaf detail but the use of transparent enamel allowed that wonderful natural detail to show through from underneath the colour………..I think it’s really effective, I hope you do too.
I love to see the colour develop. Take a look at this quick video of the leaves when they came out of the kiln – watch the glorious green emerge.
Of course, this is just part of the process. The firing would cause unsightly firescale on sterling silver, making the edges of the earrings black – even cleaning and polishing would affect the desired finish. To overcome this you take the piece through a process called depletion gilding……………..but that’s for another blog.