Thursday, September 10, 2015

Creating Christmas Tree Pins for the Art Institute of Chicago

This week's post is contributed by Bob and Terry, members of the Jetteam. Their shop is ArtJewelerNYC and they have been creating beautiful pins for the Art Institute of Chicago. They have shared the process with us.


"2015 is the third year our Christmas Tree Pins have been featured in the Art Institute of Chicago Museum Holiday Gift Catalog and Gift Shop. Each year there are variations due to the availability of gemstones.

 
 
 

 


 The first step is to create a simple tree form using pliers. We have been using 18 gauge sterling silver wire to make these pins. Once the zigzag tree shape is finished, the wire is hammered so it has two flat sides, giving it a nice texture while hardening it a bit. The tree flexes a lot at this stage, but soldering the bezels between the "branches" connects them, making it a lot more solid. There are eleven round bezels for this year's tree, with a star at the top. I solder these all on in one step, placing each component where it belongs then heating the whole tree with a wide mouth torch tip, moving the flame to heat the entire tree while making sure each component solders properly. This takes a lot of practice and I have the melted trees to prove it ...!


                                                 


 After pickling and tumbling, the pin parts have to be soldered onto the back. This can be tricky because of the previous solders - the pin parts have to be soldered on without melting the solder that is holding the bezels and the star. Care has to be taken with the pin catch - the rotor that closes the brooch and holds the actual pin is easy to fuse in the closed position. Once done, the pins have to be pickled and tumbled again.


 Next they need to be set. This is a fairly straightforward process. This year, the trees feature moonstone, tigers eye, garnet, iolite, citrine, amethyst, star diopside, green agate, goldstone, carnelian and blue agate."



 Here's a link to the product page on the Art Institute of Chicago Gift Shop site ...

http://www.artinstituteshop.org/item.aspx?productID=5374

15 comments :

Michele said...

Lovely pins, such hard workmanship goes into every one of them. A pin that will be cherished!!! Thanks for sharing!!

SendingLoveGallery said...

fascinating process!

jemsbyjb said...

Thanks for sharing the process. They are beautiful.

Beadsme said...

These are lovely. Thanks for sharing.

LoveStoneArts said...

So interesting Bob and Terry!! How do your hands hold up in the midst of setting all those cabochons? This design has been such a winner for you. Congrats on another great holiday order.

capitalcitycrafts said...

Great design , it's wonderful that it is so popular!

Mollie Ann said...

Beautiful Christmas trees here, and such a fabulous peek behind the scenes! Thanks for sharing!

VenusVelvet said...

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

Cher said...

So these are the infamous trees I've been hearing so much about, lol ... quite lovely Bob & Terry... but I'll bet you're getting sick of making them. Glad you're having such success with them tho... Congrats!

Lori Taggart said...

Beautiful pins! Love seeing the process behind them!

Jennifer said...

It's so fun to hear the story behind the Christmas Tree Pins! Thanks for sharing your process.

Ribasus said...

Thanks for the great article and demo!

Donna Arena said...

As jewelry artists we always "hope" we'll create the piece or line that generates a steady income and some sort of notoriety as an artist, seeing it in print, it must be amazing...until you have to do such detailed work for each and every one of them...a lot of them. We're all thrilled for your success...you and Terry have put in so much work!!!! Thanks for sharing a dream come true...

Brooke said...

Thanks for sharing your fun design for this holiday pin!

Anonymous said...

Interesting text but the pictures are rubbish