October 29th, 2006

plique-a-jour, lapis, lotus, earring

(no subject)

I'm pretty pleased with my work today!

I started out very off-task indeed: making a big floofy collar for our dog out of a Halloween fabric- and, for good measure, one out of an Xmas one as well, for her to wear after Thanksgiving. This was a check-off item, though not "work" per se (even if my sewing machine is currently stuck in a corner of the studio space as we work on the rest of the house).

I did quite a lot of enameling! I completed the enameling on an experimental pair of earrings- they're copper with some minimal silver wire to break up the large open areas. I used 2 shades each of blue and green for them- partly because they look so nice with copper, and partly because these are very reliable and well-behaved colors and it is an experiment! It seems to have worked out pretty well, though one of the wires loosened itself on one end in the firings- it must not have been soldered very securely. I think it'll be OK in the end. I was anticipating some problems with firescale popping off the copper when it was cooling and affecting the glass, but that didn't happen. I also got the first pass of the cleanup done- the enamels ground down where they were overfull in the cells, the firescale (temporarily) off the copper, and the places where solder had flowed ground donww to copper as well. Now to go at it with increasingly finer sandpapers until the metal is smooth, clean with a glass brush, then do a final quick firing. -- Although I am thinking of using 600 or 800 grit sandpaper after that, on the glass too, and going for a polished metal with matte glass look- it might be cool.

I also got the blues done (I hope) and the first of the gold into my sunburst/chrysanthemum plique piece that will have a very pretty 7mm citrine in the center. I actually really like it with the gaps where gold #2 is supposed to go, and am tempted to leave them... However, I think some gold #2 will set off the citrine nicely, so perhaps I will fill one of the concentric circles of cells now open with it, but leave the other.

And I have successfully re-depletion gilded the January thimble, after the garnet setting popped off and I had to re-solder it. Grr. It is now as ready as it will ever be for the enameling...

I think my next plique project will be the pair of lotuses for another set of lotus earrings (in this userpic). This pair is pierced out of 20-ga. fine silver, and I am curious about whether I can get the cells to fill firing unsupported as I usually do these days, or if I will need to fire them on a backing. I'll start work on the thimble after the sunburst is done- I have only 3 trivets of the best size for this stuff, you see! But that's just as well, since it keeps me from having so many pieces ongoing that I can't keep track of the colors!

I also did some fusing: another 50 links for my wide loop-in-loop necklace (this time with my Little Torch; I was wondering if it would be easier. (Answer: yes, physically- my big torch is heavy and the hose balky, so for extended soldering operations I'm fighting it a lot. However, the smaller flame from the Little Torch was not an asset here, even though its feather weight and greater mobility was lovely.) I also fused the argentium borders onto my argentium fused-and-granulated hearts, and fused the bezels for the garnets for these.

And now the big task left on my list for the day is to work more on processing photos, and updating my website (http://www.afmetalsmith.com) and/or my Etsy store (http://afmetalsmith.etsy.com).