Monday, February 8, 2016

Botanical Study in Silver: 21 of 30

I dug a deep hole for myself today and, yes, I jumped in. I figured it would be pretty simple to fabricate an orchid out of sterling silver, but I was very, very wrong. This particular creation took me 8 hours to complete, with many swear words uttered throughout.


The major challenge in making an orchid is that there are so many different pieces to assemble. Each flower has three sepals, two petals, a lip, column, pouch, or something like that (again, I'm not a botanist).

I tackled this challenge by sawing out the parts and soldering them one by one onto a length of wire (the stem). With the first flower I managed to solder on sepals and petals, but then everything started falling apart. Every time I added something new, a petal would fall off. I finally came up with a technique, to solder a "bridge" between two petals, hammer it flat, drill a hole, and solder the pair of petals to the wire. That worked. By the time I finished the third flower I had my system down.




Botanical study in silver, piece 21 of 30, an orchid:








This is the point when I decided to add a "bridge" between the petals.


Then I drilled a hole through the bridge to string and solder it onto the stem.


















Check out my other botanical pieces made to-date:
String of Pearls succulent
Rosemary Sprigs
Graptoveria Succulent
Passion Vine
Three Peas in a Pod
Spider Plant
Hydrangea
Thyme Sprig
Sage (culinary)
Rose Hips
Lavender Spike
Clover Sprouts
Flat-Leaf Parsley
Curly-Leaf Parsley
Hops
Mint
Raspberry
Broccoli
Cedar tree branch

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Botanical Study In Silver: 20 of 30

After making 20 botanical pieces, I'm beginning to wonder how this challenge will impact my ongoing work. 2-D metalwork is suddenly less intriguing to me. Sculptural jewelry is not only exciting, but I find that it's stimulating. I can't seem to get enough time creating in my studio. While not in my studio, my mind is racing as I design future pieces in my head.

Today I tackled the creation of a sword fern. I soldered all the leaves onto the stem and then looked at the real fern again. I was so bummed when I realized my mistake. Fern leaves stair step and I had soldered them parallel to one another all the way down the stem. Unfortunately I had to snip the leaves off one side and resolder them. Lesson learned.

Cedar tree branch

I haven't decided whether or not to make another type of fern or an orchid for my next project. To be determined...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Botanical Study In Silver: 19 of 30

Today I was able to finish up the cedar branch bracelet I've been working on for 2 days for my 19th of 30 botanical pieces I've challenged myself to make. It was a heck of a lot harder than I anticipated. When you look closely at the cedar branches, check out how the angled leaves fit snugly together, almost like Tetris. One V-shape sits within another V, which sits within yet another V. How could I possibly build that pattern from scratch??




I decided to create the branches with silver wire, then hammer them flat and, with several different flex shaft bits, carve the V-pattern into the silver. Ugh!

So, here's a visual on how I made the bracelet. Today's botanical challenge, a western cedar branch:











After forming the bracelet around a mandrel, it seemed to me that something was missing. I looked at pictures online of cedar branches and found some nice shots with berries. I made two using my dapping block, soldered them onto the bracelet, and that seemed to do the trick.




Check out my other botanical pieces made to-date:
String of Pearls succulent
Rosemary Sprigs
Graptoveria Succulent
Passion Vine
Three Peas in a Pod
Spider Plant
Hydrangea
Thyme Sprig
Sage (culinary)
Rose Hips
Lavender Spike
Clover Sprouts
Flat-Leaf Parsley
Curly-Leaf Parsley
Hops
Mint
Raspberry
Broccoli

I'm currently working on a fern, so that'll be posted next. Cheers!
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