Tafe Jewellery Fundamentals

We’re over halfway through my TAFE class now and I’ve been putting in some hours to catch up a bit. (catch up on my first class here) All the other projects on the go at this time of year – Mental Health Week and TheMHS – have been a bit of a distraction. But I’m making progress. Here’s the first three mini projects all done and ready for assessment:

The dull looking silver one is aluminium, and was practice for hand cutting skills. The shiny ones are brass, we’ve scored the design onto the surface, cut, filed, emery-ed, polished and cleaned. I’ve been told that they are fine for a beginner.

It’s funny, jewellery making can on the one hand be quite organic and experimental. On the other it can have the kind of insane precision a clockmaker needs. Lots of maths and right angles and things that need to fit exactly. That aspect of it I’m not so keen on. I’m not that big a fan of modern minimalist jewellery, I quite like the handmade look where the angles aren’t exact or there’s hammer marks or other small imperfections. That’s not to say that I don’t admire the time and craftsmanship that goes into a bowl polished to a mirror shine with exactly the same thickness of metal at every point, I just can’t see myself spending my career doing it. But the organic, the bizarre, the experimental, the art nouveau… now that has appeal. I would love a jewellery workshop in my shed. The material costs are prohibitive however! The cost just for the silver for this project is about $50.

So, now I move onto the next piece which must be my own design, may be riveted but not soldered, must be a pendant, and must contain at least one polished surface. We are also being assessed on a studio journal so I’ve been putting some time into that:

I asked about using other sources of metal and I’ve been given permission to use old silver spoons if I can find any, genuine silver only though, not silver plated nickel as that’s a common skin irritant. Hmmm, always looking for the recycle option…

See what I made at my next class here.

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