Sharing my design process
I've been busy the past week working on some new jewellery ideas. This has been in the pipeline for the past 2 years & I'm only just able to spend the time to develop the new collection now!
I set March aside to create new 'masters' for a range of more abstract designs. It has been some time since I worked on any jewellery other than my popular limpet shell pieces. I started with some sketch ideas last October while at my St Ives Arts Club exhibition. I was referencing Barbara Hepworth's incredible work & the interesting surfaces & patterns in Troika Pottery from St Ives.
My designs are usually quite simple line drawings in fine pen which I will scale up or down depending on whether I plan for them to be brooches, pendants or earrings. I selected a few of my favourites from my sketchbook & photocopied them for reference. Then I finalised the sizing & prepared to saw pierce them out of thick copper sheet.
The casting 'masters' are what I use to recreate my jewellery in either silver or a base metal. These can be made from a variety of materials but I tend to use copper & brass. It is worth spending the time to perfect these pieces as they will be reproduced again & again from the original once a mould has been made. The jewellery components will be created using the lost wax casting process which is done by a specialist firm in the Jewellery Quarter which I have used for the past 30 years! The quality of the castings is always excellent.
I use a very simple process to transfer the design to the metal by tracing the image & gluing the paper to the metal with spray mount. This enables me to follow the line easily to saw out the shapes. If the pieces have an area which is cut out I will drill a hole with my very old hand drill (which was my grandads) to insert the saw blade to be able to cut out any pierced sections.
When I have cut & filed the various metal pieces I then start to solder then together to create relief patterns.
As part of the casting process you need to add a 'sprew' which is the way in which the metal flows into the piece. I have some off cuts of thick brass rod which I use for these. When the pieces are cast the sprews are cut off & filed to remove any remaining metal.
These new 'patterns' have now been polished & today are in the post off to the caster to be reproduced in silver & a base metal. I will then explore different combinations & surface treatments of the pieces to create a cohesive range which I am calling the 'Texture & pattern collection'. It is always exciting to receive the first batch of new castings!
As soon as I have this new work available I will list some for sale on the website.