I've been attending an evening class in metal smithing this year. This has been a natural progression from the bead work that I started doing about 3 years ago. Whilst it's very satisfying making necklaces and ear rings, especially to colour co-ordinate with your outfit for the evening I've found it's now somewhat lacking.
When I started the class I'd never cut a piece of metal, let along create anything. In the first 18 weeks I learnt the basic skills of piercing (cutting), hammering, annealing (heating), filing, making domes, embossing, soldering, and the exam pieces was to create a textured ring. It's amazing to move forward so quickly and have a wearable piece.
I am now just finishing the intermediate level, where I have learnt to set a stone in a ring. The ring needed to be a 'statement' piece so after a practice ring to learn the art of setting, my creation was born! The inspiration was the folds of a dress I saw reading a magazine at the hairdressers - weird huh? Anyway, needless to say my narky teacher (sorry Amanda, but talk about split personality!) loved the idea and made me make it bigger and bolder than perhaps I would have chosen to.
My final exam pieces have to be a range of jewellery, based on one subject. This is how my love of orchids has turned into jewellery. I am making a bracelet, a necklace and a brooch. I have only finished the bracelet which is silver set with jade. It's not perfect, but it is unique. You can't buy it in a shop, order it online, that's pretty amazing. I will show all the pieces here when the are all finished.