To get started, my teacher John chose another design for me to copy. He said that this time, I should be able to do more of the techniques on my own with less help. So, I started out pretty confidently but the piece is still not finished.
I also struggled dearly with the jump rings that appear at the top and bottom of the pendant. I kept melting them altogether.
One of the plus sides of all of this fumbling and mistake making is that I am getting a better understanding of the time and patience needed to melt, roll and draw out metal into usable pieces. For instance, in order to create the bezel cup, round wire, leaves and loops seen in this piece, silver is moulded into the needed forms with a metal mill and a steel hand tool called a draw plate.
It is a great tool. I think it is fascinating. Here is a picture of it:
As you can see, the draw plate has quite a few successive sizes of openings. Each time the wire is passed through an opening, the metal is pulled into itself smaller and smaller, creating a thinner and longer wire. Then, to prevent it from becoming too hardened to handle or bend, the metal is annealed with the torch to release the tension of the metal as the atoms realign to their correct structure. Fun, eh?
Hopefully, with the help of the draw plate i'll be finishing up this piece this week. I still have yet to replace the bezel and set the stone into it. Stay tuned!