Jewel Envy Student Exhibition

I’m actually pretty excited about this. Jewel Envy is having their annual Student Exhibition, showing pieces made by people who took classes there, and I’ve got three pieces in the exhibit. Woot!

Jewel Envy Student Exhibition 2014 postcard

That’s my blurry silver cuff there on the bottom left of the postcard. But check out that ring second from the left. I’m told that guy made that ring in his first class. How annoying is that? I love it! It reminds me of a ring I fell in love with about 20 years ago, but never bought, by a guy named Ivaan who had a small shop on Queen West with a sign out front that said “Getting Married? Come in here before he buys you a slice of pipe with a rock in it.” Yessss. He made really cool rings, one of which indeed became my wedding ring and it looks nothing like a slice of pipe. But the other ring I loved was a large calla lilly with a shard of purple amethyst crystal nestled inside as the stamen. It seemed far too delicate and fragile to actually wear. But Dirk Ave’s (Dirk Ave! — even his name is cool) has made a version that seems really wearable.

Anyway, here’s a better picture of my silver geometric cuff:

Silver Geometric Cuff

I made the cuff in a Beginner’s Fabrication class from a sheet of silver from which I cut out triangles, half circles, and a rectangle. I love wearing this piece.

The other two pieces I’ve got in the show are my Queen of Hearts rings (yeah, I know…they made me give them names when I entered them in the exhibit 😛 ) were from my Beginner’s Casting Class, in which we learned how to do the lost-wax casting process. I blogged about making these pieces here and here. I really enjoyed lost wax casting…something about pouring red-hot molten metal in a process that could go horribly wrong and destroy all the hard work you did carving the form makes me feel all bad-ass Lord of the Rings-ish. Lucky for me, these two rings came through the casting process really well.

Queen of Hearts rings

So Friday’s opening night should be a fun opportunity to hang out at the studio and have a couple of drinks and admire all the amazing work the artisans and students at Jewel Envy create. Come by if you’re in Toronto! Or, feel free to vote for your favourite piece. Do check them out! Lots of fantastic designs.

 

 

Casting class: my giant heart shaped ring

I love it! I had been searching for a ring just like this on Etsy but to no avail…so I made it myself!

Ta-da! My lovely new heart ring.

Ta-da! My lovely new heart ring.

This was my final project for the jewelry casting class I’ve been taking at Jewel Envy here in Toronto. I posted previously about carving the wax model and the casting process. Here’s what happened in the last two classes.

Below are the ring pieces after dissolving the plaster mold in water. It’s nerve-wracking fishing the casting out of the murky water because you are just praying that the casting process worked ok, otherwise it would be back to square one and hours of carving another wax model. You can see that both the ring band and the heart piece were done in the same mold. They’re attached by “sprues”, which are tubes that allow the molten silver to flow into the mold.

The ring pieces right after casting.

The ring pieces right after casting.

Both the ring band and the heart were cast in the same mould

Both the ring band and the heart were cast in the same mold.

Next, the casting gets tossed into warm “pickle” (an acidic bath) to clean it off, and then I sawed off the sprues:

heartring12

The casting after pickling

heartring13

The sprues are sawed off

Next it’s hours of grinding away the bumps and polishing the surface, starting with a metal file or grinder and then using emery paper, starting with the coarsest grit and repeating with ever-finer grits.

Grinding away the sprue edges.

Grinding away the sprue edges.

Next I soldered the ring band to the heart piece.

Soldering the ring band to the heart piece

Soldering the ring band to the heart piece

Soldering causes some kind of chemical reaction that turns the silver various colours.

Soldering causes some kind of chemical reaction that turns the silver various colours.

So then it’s more hours of sanding the surface to remove all the dirt and discolouration with emery paper, until finally it’s ready for a buffing with grey stone polishing compound and lastly rouge polishing compound.

Polishing with a greystone buff.

Polishing with a greystone buff.

The finished ring.

The finished ring.

I just love my one-of-a-kind ring!