Sundial Ring and Tribal Wave Medallion

December 24, 2010 § 4 Comments

I’ve really taken the initiative to design my own pieces at class – it’s much more satisfying than copying the pieces shown to me. In a way, getting a ‘brief’, with certain skills to be learnt in each project, with its parameters, gets me to invent in ways that wouldn’t naturally occur to me. So my designs are much more complex than I’d instinctively make, but they work out in surprising ways. Like this ring… the original project had lots of decorative loops surrounding a bezel set stone. Instead, I decided to pare it down, offset the stone and etch in radiating lines. It’s not a piece I would have designed on paper – it grew organically with each step, making decisions and adjusting as I went along the process. It is an unusual piece that I am growing to love more and more!

And with the piece above, I took my inspiration for the shape from tribal amulets, and the surface decoration was stylized waves. It will be worn low, with a long chain necklace. So I’m done with Silversmithing Level 2… what’s next? 🙂

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Talisman Pendant

October 31, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’ve finished the first level of silversmithing! And so yesterday I began level two, and took upon myself to design a pendant with a requisite bezel-set stone. Thinking of protection and power, I drew up something… and after some wire cutting and filing and soldering and much polishing, it became this! Thanks to Derek T for helping me polish it 🙂

Silversmithing 101

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recently I’ve been happily distracted by silversmithing classes at Derek T Gallery. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and ages. I remember watching with fascination as my granddad in Tapah Road went about his goldsmith work. Mysterious saucers of yellow liquid and milky white stuff, some bubbling under the flame of a candle. Tables strewn with iron instruments, calipers and tweezers. Drawers filled with forms and worn-out pieces of wood. An old bellows with a burner. He had these handsome weighing scales stored in a box, with various sized weights to balance the scales. And he’d always be in his white Pagoda-brand shirt, and black dress pants, working at something small and glittery. Granddad also had a golden tooth… I often wondered whether he shaped it himself, but never did ask him!

Anyway, you can see that my interest in the craft goes way back, but only recently did I really feel the urge to learn it properly. I guess the serial hobbyist in me wanted something new to learn, and banging away and forging metal seemed like a good counterpart to coaxing soft clay.

At first, I thought the nearest school was in Singapore, which would have been really expensive and quite a pain, commuting once a week for a day-long class for five weeks. Serendipitously, I ran into one of scientist sis’s friends around the same time, and she mentioned there was a place for classes in the neighbourhood. After doing some searching around, I found Derek T Gallery, a jewellery and hobby shop run by (of course) Derek Tan.

Here are the fruits of the classes so far:

A hammered ring, an etched leaf pendant, a bezel-set square pendant, a bezel-set chunky ring, and a lotus pendant with a hole in the middle. I’m enjoying many of the processes… hammering (cathartic!), etching, soldering, cutting, filing things even. The only thing I don’t like is polishing! I’m thinking there should be an alternate way of finishing the pieces… like matte white, that won’t require polishing. Something to explore once I finish the course.

I’m so looking forward to combining metal with clay… but don’t talk so much, do first 😉

For those who are interested in the course, you can find more information here.

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