Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bracelet Fun

I thought it might be fun to show the process of a series of bracelets I'm making.

I start with a sheet of sterling silver and using some large tin snips from my local farm supply I cut them, very carefully, into strips.  I wear a leather glove on one hand and try to stay focused.  Metal work is almost as good as meditating to get your mind into a focused and aware state.  You just can't be trying to cut this stuff while your monkey mind wanders off somewhere, otherwise something bad is surely going to happen.  Either you'll mismark the piece and cut it badly or you'll slip and take the top off of a knuckle, I've done it already.

So before you start you say, "Here now" and keep repeating.  And then hopefully you'll end up with some nice straight pieces of silver without blood.

Next is stamping, sounds easy but it's practically impossible to get the letters straight.  Again, focus, look at the word on paper, look at the letter in your hand.  Is it the right one?  Is it right side up?  Part of the appeal of the pieces is the slightly wonky lettering.  If you want precise you should shop someplace else, though I do use precision tools for many things.
While there is life there is hope in Latin.

After stamping you can trim the piece and do some nice hammering to add some texture.
Pretty, huh?

Lots of finishing left to do.  File the edges smooth, drill the holes, file those.  More hazardous things, once while filing I let my mind wander and didn't hold it steady.  It slipped sideways and drove the metal straight into the end of my finger, this metal is sharp everywhere.
Then the piece is shaped.  I use this great wooden shaping tool that was made for me.  The hammer is a terribly gorgeous Fretz hammer, each one made to move metal in creative ways.  I don't let anyone use these but me.  Normally the hammer would be on the right but lacking two right hands I couldn't hold it and take a pic.
The pieces ready to head to the designing bench for finishing.
Bis vivit qui bene vivit - S/he lives twice who lives well.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam - I'll either find a way or make one.
Dum vita est spes est - While there is life there is hope.
Love conquers all.
Nemo me impune lacessit - No one harms me with impunity.  This one is my personal favorite.  The first time I'd heard of this was from my son wanting a jewelry piece for his love with her favorite phrase.

And heading to the design table for finishing.
Some nice amethyst, purple dyed turquoise and some really fine aquamarine for this piece. Sterling silver wire, jump rings in various sizes (I make my own) and a nice bit of advertising for Rings & Things, one of my favorite gem suppliers.
Still have to tumble it, then decide if it needs a patina before it's ready for a picture and a tag and the website.

Fun huh?  Hope you like a glimpse into my workshop.   If you want a custom piece just let me know.



  1. Hey - I am really delighted to find this. great job!