June 28th, 2006
The signet ring is DONE. There are things I'm not happy about, of course, but overall, it looks very nice. And now, shiny! I hope there will be a picture soonish; I have a lot of picture processing to do, but will probably put that at the top of the list after J takes some.
I am also very proud that it is not only finished, but finished a couple of days early!
Now, what I'm not best pleased with: I didn't thin the corners of the setting enough, and the enamel chopped very slightly under them when I set it (using the hammer handpiece, and a fair amount of force since the setting was thick even after I'd thinned it). Solutions: thin the corners more, have the corners more rounded, and maybe border the enamel with metal rather than running glass right up to the edge. The geometry of the ring isn't perfect; well, the blank was not ideally shaped, as it turned out- I was improvising and now have a better idea how to draft a more-accurate one. I can see traces of a couple of solder seams when I look hard. And there is a wee bit of firescale on the back of the shank. Sigh. That one I can fix, but I think I'll wait until after the conference to do so.
Still, I am pleased overall, especially since it was a first effort in this style of construction, in forming a ring with the miniature stakes (which rock!), and in setting an unbordered enamel into a heavy setting (memo: Not A Great Idea without more effort to avoid the problems).
This is Blacksmith Ring #1. There will be more, as well as, probably, other rings using this construction but different enamel designs. It's good practice! Eventually I'll be confident enough that I'll make J a version in some sort of gold.
Thank you! That's one of the pics I have yet to get up on the website, but I felt the need to have an icon or 2 on this journal.
It's maybe a bit under 2 inches tall, forged sterling with manmade sapphires and a brushed finish. I was after a calligraphic look, and I think I pulled it off pretty well- at least, it looks like what I was aiming at, so that's good! The pin findings are commercial pin-on-hinge and barrel catch. I don't use those any more- especially not the catches- but they worked well here.
|Date:||June 28th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)|| |
The reds on gold would look awesome :)
I know! I'm looking forward to trying it... but not until I'm VERY secure with the techniques involved!
I think the next time I do a version, I'll add some gold to the enamel, anyway. That would look nice... and be a lot less expensive than the whole ring!
|Date:||June 28th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)|| |
You can put a layer of gold foil over the first layer of flux, then a thin layer of a very pale yellow and then stick the cloissons to that. That would give you a gold background to see how the colors react (a bit textured but I bet that would look good with the fire effect) without the cost.
Did you get my mail about this subject?
Yeah- I was thinnking about an approach like that next time. I might just put bits here and there, though. My enamel samples for transparents (and opals) have a wee bit of gold leaf under part of the color, so I have some idea how the colors look over gold. The texturing would actually be great- if I'd had more time, I would have textured the silver, but it looks OK as is.
I did get your mail, and have been thinking hard about some of it! I'll try to respond soon! I've really been in crunch mode to get this ring done for the past few days... Sorry!
|Date:||June 28th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)|| |
I don't know how you apply the leaf gold or silver, but I will tell you how they taught us at school, so the leaf doesn't bubble. Take a new piece of emery paper, not too thin (hmh, 400?) and fold it in two, rough part inside. Put the leaf in between carefully and close, put on hard surface and add pressure all over rubbing with your hand. This will make micro holes that will let any air scape, avoiding bubbles, and also adds a nice even texture. I sometimes do this, sometimes not, depending on the effect I want. Not doing it is more imprevisible though.
No worries, just wondering if there was any email issue :)
I've heard of pricking foils, but not of the sandpaper approach- that sounds great! Thanks! I wonder if it would help with keum boo, too...
Anyway, the gold leaf I'm using is too thin for that- it's the sort of stuff that you can't even touch, and have to handle with a brush etc. It's really more for gilding than enameling, but hey! it's cheap, relatively, and only costs me a tiny bit to put some gold on my sample tiles. I usually snag a bit with a brush, then put it on a coat of fired flux that's been wetted with Klyrfire; that way if it wads up I have a fighting chance of "floating" it and spreading it out again.
I don't think it's ever bubbled- I think it's gas-permeable, it's that thin!- but my heavier silver foil sure has, and I'm going to try the sandpaper trick next time. It sounds wonderful! And great for somewhat heavier gold, too, when i start using that. :)
|Date:||June 29th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)|| |
So you have gold for gilding that is actually gold? (because I have tried the fake stuff and it burns, lol)
I always got my silver and gold (not that I could afford it, I only bought my first and single gold leaf before moving here, intended use for palettes, but I have used it at work) at my usual enamel supplier in Barcelona and it is the thicker for enamel usual stuff. The gold is damn expensive o_O
What is keum boo?
A couple of the enameling supply houses over here sell real gold leaf. So do framing supply stores and some art stores. It can be tricky to find 24k, and I'm not sure whether mine is or not, but 22k and 23k are more common.
The place I get my japanese enamels has thin gold foil, too, and I got 1 piece of it a while back but haven't used any yet.
I also got some gold foil for the keum boo, but I think it's thicker than the enameling kind. Keum boo is an Asian technique where you apply gold foil to silver by heating it on a hotplate (or electric burner) and burnishing it on. This makes a permanent bond. I want to try applying foil to one of my cast pendants!
|Date:||June 29th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)|| |
Ohh, I read about that somewhere, but I didn't remember the name :)
Thanks! J's promised to take a picture or 2 tonight, so I think it'll be soon!
Well, a picture is worth 1000 words, but...
The basic approach is similar in shape to those men's rings that have a flat black piece of onyx set in the top, often with either a wee diamond or a Masonic symbol or something in the middle of the onyx. This one is less fussy, though, and the lines are a bit more curved- due more to the flaws in my experimental pattern than to my intent! It is utterly palin except for the enamel it has rather than the onyx etc.: the enamel is a tiny black anvil on a background of mottled flame colors.
I'll try to get a pic up ASAP!