Thursday, 14 May 2015

It's Been A Bit Of A Bronze Week

I managed to get a couple of pairs of bronze earrings finished last week that I photographed at the weekend and I also had a custom order for some bronze stacking bangles so it definitely has been a bit of a bronze week.

The bronze stud earrings above are made by melting bronze wire into pebbles then flattening the pebbles to create off-round and oval organic-looking shapes. After forming them into concave bowl shapes I tidied up the edges then paired them up and soldered them together with a fine silver ball for decoration and contrast.

I oxidized these then cleaned them up a fair bit so the dark areas are just in the crevices.

I also made some simple oval bronze earrings with an etched pattern and a turquoise jasper bead added to the earwires for a bit of colour.

I still find bronze a bit unpredictable compared to copper where liver of sulphur is concerned but I do love the golden brown colour you get when it does behave nicely and oxidize evenly :D

I also made a set of skinny bronze bangles with stamped letter disc dangles.

These were for a custom order and the initials stand for the names of the customers children. Not my usual thing as stamping letters in a straight line isn't a natural gift for me {!} but I can manage one letter!

I'm planning on making a set of leaf vein texture bangles using flattened 3.5mm {7g} wire very soon. My bronze bangle selection is a bit limited at the moment and needs more variety and as I'm getting more used to working with bronze and it's little quirks I feel a lot more confident in adding a few new designs. Watch this space!

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

New Copper Bangles - Stamped Designs And Leaf Vein Texture

My recent sterling silver bangle-fest where I made quite a lot of silver bangles for hallmarking in various designs made me want to make something similar in copper. I really enjoyed making the stamped silver bangles on the right in this photo...

I hadn't done any stamping for a while and it reminded me how much I like doing it. When I say stamping I mean creating patterns from mostly circle and line stamps rather than the inspiring words/phrases/childrens names that are so popular. I can't stamp letters in a straight line and making that style of jewellery has never appealed to me at all. So I stick to making patterns.

I also made three copper bangles with a leaf vein texture using leaf skeletons. I used some 4mm {6g} round copper wire which I annealed then ran through the rolling mill a few times to flatten it.

After annealing the flattened wire again I ran it through the rolling mill with the leaf skeletons, holding them in place with my fingers as they go through. I left a gap between each leaf skeleton for a bit of contrast on the bangle and I reused the leaf skeletons as you only flatten a part of them as they go through the rollers.

The wire was now pretty wavy in both directions so I annealed it again and used my mallet and steel block to flatten and straighten it. You need to do this in order to get a straight cut on the ends.

I then cut the wire to the right length for medium size bangles and used my mitre block and file to make sure the edges were straight for the join.

Using a mitre block gives you lovely straight edges on your join making soldering very easy.

After soldering the bangles I rounded them on the mandrel, sanded the join and checked they were the right size.

I decided to add a few silver balls to one of the bangles. The gaps I'd left on the copper between the leaf vein texture were ideal places for the balls.

I prefer to apply flux and heat it to dry it first before I add anything else. Once the flux is dry I placed the solder and balls in position and soldered them on. That way I didn't have to fiddle with repositioning things that had moved due to the flux bubbling.

After pickling I sanded the inside of the bangles then cleaned up the outside with steel wool.

Then they went in the LOS {of course!}I haven't had chance to photograph them properly yet but I took a couple of quick photos in my shed after they came out of the tumbler.

I textured the stamped bangles in the rolling mill with sandpaper before stamping the copper. The stamped designs took a while to do but I enjoyed making up the patterns.
 Did I tell you I had a thing for circles?......

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 1 May 2015

An Eventful Morning And Silver Bangles For Hallmarking

What was supposed to be a quick half hour trip out in the car yesterday morning to post an order and pop into Tesco turned into an hour and a half and ended with me walking home........

As I turned into the car park at Tesco the car made a very loud bang and there was the smell of burning rubber. After checking under the car and staring at the engine for a bit - I had no idea what I was looking for but it seemed like the right thing to do - I ended up at the garage via a nice roadside recovery van man being asked if I'd gone over a pothole. I hadn't when it happened but all the other potholes that I hadn't managed to avoid in the past had obviously done their worst and cracked the front coil springs. I must have hit a little bump or something and the springs both snapped causing the car body to drop onto the tyres at the front. Luckily the tyres weren't damaged. I was really impressed with the service I received and the speed that everything was fixed and I now know what coil springs do...... :)

Anyway...enough waffle about cars and that sort of stuff. I mentioned in my last post that I was in the middle of making some thicker gauge sterling silver bangles that would be sent off for hallmarking. I've been a bit reluctant to make heavier sterling items because of all sorts of things - the higher cost, the faff of having to get them hallmarked and how complicated the hallmarking pricing system was but as you can see from the photo I've now got over that! Some help from fellow jewellery maker Claire of Dragonfly Lane has made me see it's nothing to worry about and the London Assay Office has simplified the pricing for hallmarking which also helps.

I've made 18 bangles of various designs and even got my stamps out! They aren't completely finished yet as some of them will be oxidized once they've been hallmarked but it was really enjoyable just making new things without any limitations in weight or design. I'll be sending them off next week and then avidly waiting for them to get back to me so I can see what the hallmarks look like. That might sound silly to some people but I'm sure there's a lot of jewellery makers who understand my excitement at seeing those small but very important stamped marks on my jewellery for the first time.

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Labradorite Pendant, Copper And Prehnite and Enamel Earrings

This is the pendant I made as a commission recently. It was a slightly different request from the custom work I've done before in that the buyer wanted me to use one of her own cabochons. She also wanted the pendant with a shiny silver finish.
If you read this blog regularly you'll know that I don't normally do shiny. One reason is just that I prefer the oxidized look especially with patterned silver. The other reason is getting a smooth shiny finish on plain silver is difficult!  When the piece features a textured silver top layer and quite a few balls it's even more difficult to get a good polish on it. Getting into the crevices even with radial polishers was tricky as they caught the edge of the top textured layer and would have worn the pattern away if I hadn't stopped. But, after a lot of finishing work I did get a decent finish on it and I'm happy to say the buyer was very happy with it and it arrived in time for her birthday which was nice :D

I felt the urge for some enamelling yesterday and produced these....

The pair in the middle were a bit of an experiment as the pink transparent I'd sifted over a decal came out cloudy. I was very tempted to chuck them in the bin but thought I'd try something else. The earrings started out with two layers of purple opaque then the decal then the transparent pink. I then sifted a layer of green opaque over the transparent and over-fired them so the transparent started pushing through the green layer. It came through as a rich red colour and produced small dots {and one bigger one!} giving the earrings an almost ceramic glaze look.

I also did a bit of sgraffito on the bottom pair then etched the enamel to give them a matt finish.

The etching cream applied thickly for 15 minutes before washing off and applying to the back.
I also use a glass brush to clean the surface once I've rinsed them.

The finished matt surface. The texture is very smooth and feels like eggshell. I recommend trying etching cream on enamel as it really is so easy to do. I bought my etching cream from MDP Supplies.

The finished earrings...

I also finished a pair of copper earrings too. I used some sweet prehnite rose cut cabochons as I love their pale green colour with the oxidized copper..

I'm currently on a mission to make several thicker gauge silver bangles that will need hallmarking. I've been a bit reluctant to make heavier silver stuff as hallmarking seemed so expensive and a bit scary {yes I know I'm being silly} but after being reassured by a fellow jewellery maker {thanks Claire!} I've decided to go for it. I'm already registered with the London Assay Office so it will be full steam ahead very shortly.

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Rolling Mill Textures On Metal and Copper Jellyfish

I've been quite busy recently with the usual orders {bangles and findings} plus I had a custom request to make a pendant in silver using the buyers rather lovely chequer cut labradorite cabochon. I've just posted that off so will wait to hear from the buyer before I post a photo.

I've got several things on the go at the moment, mainly some more copper shapes to finish so I can do a bit more enamelling with decal decoration. I also have ideas for some studs using the bronze and silver pebbles I made a few weeks ago. But in the meantime I have had a bit of time to make some embossed bronze and sterling silver studs. After deciding I don't have a lot of success using texture cards with sterling silver in the rolling mill - the results vary from a very faint pattern to ok-ish but not as deep as I'd like. However, using etched copper or brass to add pattern to silver with the rolling mill is much more successful. 
I discovered I had some brass sheet that I'd etched a while ago using nail art plates...

The size is quite small {they're designed for nails after all!} but they do work really well for etching using nail varnish as the resist and you can buy lots of different styles and designs depending on your taste. If you want to learn more I wrote a blog post about using nail art plates to etch sterling silver in 2013.

I used the etched brass sheet to texture bronze and silver sheet and the designs came out well. You obviously get the negative of the original design but it still looked ok.

I used the embossed metal to make these simple stud earrings...

handmade bronze stud earrings © Cinnamon Jewellery 2015

sterling silver embossed stud earrings © Cinnamon Jewellery 2015

I also wielded my jeweller's saw and produced what I like to call stylized jellyfish earrings in copper with a stabilized turquoise cabochon and silver balls. Or if you turn them the other way up they could be stylized flames :D Anyway I like the shape!

For someone who struggled with sawing metal when I started and preferred to use shears if at all possible I now love using my saw and find it really therapeutic to cut intricate{ish} shapes out of metal. I have an idea for a pierced design probably in etched copper layered on top of coloured leather and riveted to a base of copper. I can see it in my mind but I'm not sure how long it will stay there before I get round to doing it.....

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The A To Z Of Me

Alphabet 03

I thought I'd do an A to Z of me this time. I've seen several of these on other peoples' blogs - some funny, some very deep and meaningful....I thought I'd keep mine light ☺ 

A is for Andrew - the name my Mum was going to call me if I had been a boy. Spencer Tracy was a popular film star around the time I was born hence the name she chose when I turned out to be a girl.

B is for Blondie. I loved Blondie when I was at school. I recently watched a documentary about the band on TV and they really were so good in their day and I love their early albums. I loved them right up until they did Rapture then The Tide Is High and that's when I stopped buying their albums. I still can't stand that song! They are still touring and have dates for this year in the UK.


C is for Chocolate! Oh how I love it {probably a little too much recently though}. I have a friend who doesn't like chocolate which I find, frankly, too weird.

Chocolate Truffles

D is for Denmark. I'm a great fan of all of the Scandinavian series that are very popular in the UK. My current favourite is 30° in February (Sky Arts 1), which now means I'd love to visit Denmark, Sweden and Norway!

E is for exercise. I've never been particularly sporty but I currently swim three times a week, try to go for a good walk regularly and have recently bought myself a skipping rope. Skipping is a really good way of getting fit and 10 minutes skipping is supposed to be equivalent to 30 minutes running. My aim {eventually} is to skip like a boxer.........not a seven year old child :D

F is for fear. My fear of deep, dark water. I remember jumping into a seawater swimming pool on the beach in Bude in Cornwall when I was on holiday as a child, then freaking out a bit {a lot} because I couldn't see what was in the water beneath me! In my head there were all sorts of creatures below me who would drag me under the water at any moment. I'm pleased to say they didn't.

  Summerleaze Sea Pool.jpg
 Bude sea pool...see what I mean?

G is for guitar. I started having lessons when I was at junior school and used to go every Saturday morning to a music shop in Preston where a nice man who was disabled and drove one of those turquoise invalid bubble cars taught me. I learned to read music {something I've now forgotten how to do} but my heart wasn't in it and when it came to a choice between horse riding and guitar lessons you can probably guess which one I chose ☺

H is for my height. It's 5'7" or 170.18 cm.

I is for icecream! I love it although I don't eat it that often. I tend to always go for chocolate but am also partial to any kind of caramel/praline flavours and love Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra.

J is for jewellery of course! I make it which means I also obsess about it......a lot.

K is for kabanos, a smoky Polish sausage made from pork or turkey. My Mum used to put it on pizzas she would make from scratch. It's very tasty and quite apt as I had a Polish great, great Grandfather. 


L is for left-handed. I made the choice when I was learning to write to use my left hand. Up to then I would write with both hands and also do mirror-writing. My Mum asked which hand I wanted to write with and I chose the left. I only write with my left hand, everything else I do right-handed. My poor brain must be so confused!

M is for Marmite. I detest the stuff. Definitely a hater :D

 N is for northern accent. I lived in Preston in Lancashire for 16 years before defecting to the south east and still have the accent 29 years later.

O is for online. I sell online therefore I am online several times everyday. I would be lost without this other world I inhabit. It would mean I'd have to go out and talk to people...aaaargh!

P is for Porth Curno in Cornwall, a favourite place of mine. White sandy beach and turquoise sea....beautiful!

Porth Curno Beach near Minnack Theater

Q is for quizzes. Ooh, I love a good pub quiz. They are a lovely combination of using your brain and relaxing at the same time.

R is for Radiohead. I was aware of Radiohead in the 90's but always thought they were a bit dull and depressing to listen to and I was very much an Oasis girl at the time. I have now become a big Radiohead fan and absolutely love them.

S is for super power. If I could choose one it would be time-travel. I have thought of another good one though - the "eat as much chocolate, chilli-coated peanuts and biscuits you like without getting fat" super power. Yes, I like that one.

T is for Toronto in Canada. We lived there for three years when I was younger. I was almost five when we came back to England but I do remember lots including the snow in winter, going to Niagara Falls and playing on the shore by Lake Ontario. I also remember a holiday we took to Cape Cod in Massachusetts in the US when I was three or four.

         Me and my Mum in the late 60's Cape Cod.

U is for under-ripe bananas! I love bananas that are still a bit green and will not eat a banana with black spots. They taste weird.

V is for vinegar. I do not like the taste or smell of vinegar and don't put it on my chips. Strangely, I do like salt and vinegar crisps though.

W is for weird crush. I have one. It's....oh do I have to.........alright then it's......Greg Davies. The comedian. He sometimes makes me cry with laughter with some of the things he says.

Greg Davies at the Udderbelly

Photo: Isabelle Adam on Flickr {Creative Commons}

X is for X-Factor. I hate it with a passion. I dislike any of those singing "talent" contests and decided about three years ago never to waste any more of my life watching them.

Y is for yoghurt. My favourite yoghurt ever is Sainsbury's Greek Style Honey yoghurt. I eat it almost every day with fruit. It's lovely.

Image for Sainsbury's Greek Style Honey Yogurt 450g from Sainsbury's
Photo: Sainsbury's

Z is for {Frank } Zappa. I saw him perform in Brighton in the late 80's. That was an experience. I had a bad stomach that night unfortunately and spent quite a bit of the time in the toilet but I do recall seeing lots of blokes wondering round in curly wigs and flowery dresses......

Frank Zappa 1209730002

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