Because Craig (my husband) and I usually work independently, we come up with our own techniques to get from point “A,” a design concept, to point “B,” a finished piece of jewelry. Craig has an image in his mind and makes it appear by magic with torch and hammer. I make patterns.
Sometimes a piece begins as a freehand sketch in my journal but just as often I take inspiration from a line drawing or tattoo rendering of an animal or a flower. These simplified images seem to translate well to jewelry design. The pattern template can be reused to make the design in a variety of colors or I can easily make small variations.
Here is a method I use to create and transfer a symmetrical pattern. First, layout the stones and bezels then trace around them. Plastic drafting templates will help you to draw a neat curve or a square corner for your design outline. When you’re happy with the rough sketch, double check the fit of the stones and then trace the design onto a piece of vellum. By folding the vellum in half along the mid-line, you can clean up any sections that are out of balance. OK, right matches left so you’re ready to cut out the paper pattern and secure it with double faced tape to a piece of 28 gauge fine silver sheet.
Saw all around the lines and cut the pierced parts, then do it again with a second sheet of fine silver. Here’s why; using a light gauge of silver for the base of the piece allows you to add lots of fine detail. A heavier gauge requires so much flame to get it up to a good soldering temperature that each of the six or so steps repeats the risk of your work melting away. It is distressing to see several days’ worth of work melt away! To give the pendant a nice heft, fuse your second copy cut out of 24 gauge silver to form the back of the piece after you’ve completed all the bezel and embellishment work on the face. I stamp a hallmark and a design onto the reverse piece before the final fusing.
Some of the pieces made from patterns are pictured below:
Well done Denise! Remember, if you want to learn more about Denise, or want to get a closer look at some of these pieces, visit her shop, LoveStoneArts.
Until next week!