Last week I finally acted upon an urge I've had for ages - to make a chain. The jump ring maker came in handy to start with and I made heaps of round silver open rings (otherwise known as jump rings) and set to work designing a pattern.
Purist silversmiths would faint at that statement ... one is supposed to design a pattern before cutting out your metal, but I tend to work a bit backwards and start with a concept and refine it as I go. It's more than likely my lack of formal training that's put me in that working head space and I know I really should design first, but ...
So back to chain number 1. I had it finished in an afternoon, which was very heartening. It consists of two different sizes of jumprings (the larger ones are hammer textured), some punched and drilled discs, some focused soldering, then an hour or so in the tumbler and it was done. This is what I came up with (not a great photo, but you get the idea I'm sure):
The next day, enthusiastic with my discovery that I could make chains, I set off to the city to buy some more wire so I could do something with a bit more substance. I bought some 1.8mm round wire and some 1.7mm square wire.
When I arrived home I went straight into the studio and set to work again (designing as I went). Chain number 2 has large square wire twisted ovals, smaller ovals (twisted and straight) and round rings. It's finished in a random pattern - the only consistency I aimed for was to space the large twisted ovals reasonably evenly. Here it is (I've Photoshopped the background in this one - not too bad considering I'm not very good at Photoshop):
This chain is quite chunky and heavy (almost 50 grams of sterling silver in this!). When my husband saw it before it was tumble polished he commented that it'll be interesting to see who's interested in this piece at the shop - because it will definitely be for sale when I open.
Yesterday, while my husband toiled away at the shop (it's coming along well now), I worked on yet another chain. It's almost finished, but not quite. I'll share that one when it's done.
Being a self-taught metalsmith is challenging at times, to say the least. It's taken me positively ages to just learn what a good solder flame is and get that right, and I still struggle with soldering larger pieces. This latest development into chain making could be just what I need to get more and more confidence and practical skills - while making jewellery that I can put up for sale in Bella Moon (rather than wasting silver or just making pieces I'm happy to wear but aren't up to my exacting standard for others).
It's all coming together ... step by step by step ...