July Diary : Jewellery Making

So I have started off by looking into clay jewellery, I like to make things, I love to craft and I really like the idea of having control and flexibility over the pieces as they form in front of me . Ordering the kit is easy there are multiple websites to choose from and great guidelines to explain what it is you need e.g. I went with just a very basic starter kit and torch, a few simple tools and the clay . 

I was really shocked at the price of the clay , if you compare it gram for gram with silver on it's own I think its somewhere around double the price ? That was concerning and it held me back for a while , Could this be profitable if the medium I am working with is so bloody pricey ? Regardless I had to try it after watching vids on youtube so I went ahead . You can do courses in metal clay jewellery and its probably wise to do so, the clay is not at all how I expected - I thought it would be like rolling playdough, it is in fact, very sticky and something that starts to dry out fairly quickly becoming a pain in the arse to work with. 

 

I'll start off by saying I am a complete novice when it comes to creating my own pieces of jewellery . I haven't had any formal training , taken a course or any sort of education that involves making jewels . So it probably seems pretty crazy right that I have decided to just go for it and learn as I go, while saving up for a local jewellery course. If you are a jeweller you are probably cringing at this and thinking nooo this is not the way to do it ! 

You are probably right . But, I have taken so many courses in things and invested money into things that I then lose interest with or realize arent for me . This time around before fronting money to be educated I wanted to dabble , to play and to see if  I can create what im picturing with just my hands .



 

'I love to craft & I really like the idea of having control & flexibility of the pieces'

A few simple tools ..

Working with the Art Clay silver can be tricky but I think the results are so rewarding and beautiful . I started off with a kit as pictured above and just a few tools to try .

Anyway, after a few fuck ups I finally got it right and managed to make a few pretty pieces of my own jewellery that you could actually WEAR. It sounds silly but I was quite proud of that , to make a piece of jewellery from start to finish is something ive never ever done before so that was cool . Inbetween finishing these pieces I had managed to smash a piece of drying clay , melted a design by firing for too long with the blow torch , clay had dried out on me as iIdid it etc. etc. you get the idea -It was a real learning curve .

I had in mind some sweet ancient looking medallions or amulet type pieces, fairly simple in style but obviously vintage inspired and something that ties in well with nature . I have seen examples on Pinterest of leaves created using the clay and other rustic looking pieces which I just loved , but I wanted something with cleaner lines and a more medallion type of style .

I was looking for something specific to use as a stamp into the clay , An unusual stamp or antique seal would be ideal . I purchased a few but none of them were quite right , with the selection I had it felt like a mish mash there was no flow or sense of a collection as such . Then I found something so exciting , a metal detecting find came up for auction, 15k georgian gold , a larger style of seal , a lovely big unchipped intaglio with the most divine features : It was french ( yes !) with a cherub hammering a heart , a romantic phrase just basically ticking all the boxes .

Shortly after I found a fab 'Fidelity' seal and a smaller seal with the phrase 'Forget thee! No !' . I wanted to use all of these pieces to make romantic charms that could mix and match well alongside the ideas I had in mind for some sort of nature themed medallion/ amuletts .

I had many attempts making wax seal stamp charms ,  I have finally sorted the french one and the fidelity one but I haven't quite finished the forget thee one just yet .

'A metal detecting find came up for auction..'

Once I had the charms back from the caster's the real fun began and I actually didn't really know where to start with smoothing down where the sprue was placed.

Moving on , I sent all of my designs off to a great casters to have moulds made of each one so I could create a small limited collection of copies from my original pieces where I had stamped directly into the clay or rolled dried flowers directly into the clay . It took a little while for the turnaround approx 2 weeks but I wasn't in too much of a rush to get them back . I ummed and ahhed over the metal to have them cast in ; I ideally wanted sterling silver for durability but it will tarnish quicker, and the 999 fine silver is eco and recycled so as I do care about the planet I have gone with the recycled 999 option which means a brighter whiter finish , a softer finish true , but ive been wearing one of my pieces none stop to test the durability and I am so far extremely pleased. 

In the meantime I was jewel hunting and starting to think about how to group the pieces together, should they sit alongside the vintage items I offer ? Hmm its tricky because the idea is that they should work seamlessly well with any vintage and antique pieces of Jewellery on the website , but will it be too confusing to have new creations listed right alongside true vintage items ? I came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth the risk for somebody purchasing something, not reading the description fully, and not realizing it is a brand new item . So I will be housing this collection on a separate page, with a new collection name . I have only had 10 of each piece made and 5 of each is being set off for gold plating next week so stock will be limited . Once they are sold out I will begin accepting preorders and potentially get another 10 of each made but I wanted to test the popularity to start with .

Some of the ideas I am playing around with for info cards to accompany the jewellery and how to present it as a collection 

'should they sit along the vintage items i offer?'

To end this little July diary, ive also created some new information cards to house and go along with my new collection of jewellery . They will be sent out with each of the orders from my new collection along with a sweet bit of info on your piece .  

I hope you enjoyed this ramble , I haven't blogged in forever because life with two kids , two cats and being self employed means I prioritise what is going on in front of me alot of the time , but I thought this diary entry thing as I attempt to get to grips with jewellery making might be a fun read for you guys .

Thanks again for stopping by you beauts . 

Danielle xx

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