Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello folks, nice to see you again. We've been lucky with the weather, especially since I'd booked a few days off from the day job. With no plans to go anywhere or do anything apart from waking up late and following whatever whim came to mind, I found that the sun had decided to stay on and join the party.
I decided that it was finally time to try a bit of metal-smithing. I had been putting the day off through procrastination, taking classes, watching You tube videos, and buying supplies until I realised that I had run out of excuses not to give it a go. The weather was warm, but not too warm, I had every single hammer I could possibly need and then some, and now I had the time. So that was it then, no more wasting time. I set up all the stuff I needed in the conservatory and got to work.
Michael has this penchant for wandering around junk/antique shops and charity shops. He often comes home brandishing some find or the other and when I look askance at his offering, 'it's only twenty pence, he/she wanted a tenner, but I got the price right down', he says. It would appear that really, we live in a glorified junk yard - most of the stuff in our house supposedly costs only twenty pence! He came home with a rusty cobblers anvil a couple of years ago, the metal so pitted, scarred and misshapen that I banished it to the conservatory - well, actually I said 'get it out of the house, it's an eyesore'. He obviously didn't chuck it away and sanded all the rust off it to make it a useable tool. This was the anvil I used, so his purchase came good in the end - thank you Michael.
Fold forming is a new system of metal forging developed by Charles Lewton - Brain in the 80's. It relies on the natural characteristics of metal, which actually seems to move when it is forged. It is folded, repeatedly forged and annealed, and eventually unfolded; at which stage it generally has a dramatic new three-dimensional form. .He creates beautiful structural forms and I fell in love with the shapes he made with a piece of metal and a hammer. How I will use these shapes in jewellery is yet to be seen, but the videos I have watched inspired me to at least give it a go.
The Ruger Fold
The Ruger Fold is created from a long narrow piece of metal, which is forged until the two ends cross over one another. I started to hammer the copper sheet, over and over but absolutely nothing happened. I thought I was doing so well, but I was achieving diddly squat. I took a short break and went back to the computer to see what Mr L-Brain had to say about it and found this. He recommends forging it 'heartily' and I realised that I'd been striking it like a girl, a girl who generally makes polymer clay roses and sweet peas! I decided to up my game and strike like a bloke - you know the ones in the Coca Cola ads, in a vest, with rippling muscles and oiled bodies, doing manly things, thirsty things - that's how I needed to work, not like a little girly girl.
If I had anger issues, I swear it would have done me a lot of good. I might tell some people in my family to take it up and whack the bejeezus out of a sheet of copper instead of taking pot shots at people - it beats meditation for the ill tempered person. A few good strikes with the hammer and the copper curved into a crescent like a good'un. The muscles in my right arm were well developed by the time I was done, bye bye bingo wings - problem - I am not ambidextrous so the other arm is just as flabby as when I started out.
This was the second piece I forged - I love the shape of the leaf. You can see my Joyce Chen scissors in the picture - as I dropped out of jewellery school because I couldn't use the saw, these scissors turned out to be invaluable. I had got used to the butane torch by this time and decided to try a bit of soldering - I've had the supplies for a while, but not got around to using them. This seemed as good a time as any.
And that's as far as I've got folks, I now have to find a way to turn these two leaves into jewellery, but there's a lot of finishing work to be done first.
After this masculine pursuit, I thought I'd go back and try a bit of gender reaffirmation, so flowers it had to be. A string of pretty peach quartz needles tinged gently with a pearly silver jumped out of my stash and I made up a simple necklace with a few brushed silver flowers. When I had finished I thought it needed a bit more to give it some 'oomph'. Pale green peridot, steel blue shell pearls and a pack of orange coral beads were pressed into action until I was satisfied.
That's me for this week folks. I shall no doubt spend a lot more time on my leaves and will have something to show you next week. Have a fabulous week, and I shall catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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