Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Making a ring...

A couple of posts ago I wrote about taking some jewellery classes at the Ecole de joaillerie de Montréal, an excellent school that offers a college diploma (CEGEP DEC, here in Québec) in jewellery making. The facilities and teachers are wonderful and they offer open studio time for students, even old adult students like me ;)

In that other post I showed you the first step of the lost wax casting technique, often used in ring making, where you shape your ring from a block of wax that is then melted away, with plaster taking its place. Rather heartbreaking when you've spent so much time working on the ring's design. There are ways to make molds too, if you want to make a series of pieces. Lots of info and videos on this technique on the internet.

Here is our instructor, Jocelyne, at the centrifugal or spin caster, preparing the crucible for the silver that will soon be dropped in.

Melting the silver...

Pushing the silver around a bit...

And we let 'er rip! The molten silver is pretty much flung into the container housing our plaster molds.

The molds are cooled in water and then the plaster is cleaned out with picks and small brushes.
These black bands are actually sterling silver! Can you see mine?

Ummm, not sure how they got from black to white, but they did...


Here's my ring with the leaf carved into it. It weighs a ton. Silver is a lot heavier than wax!


This is after the last of the plaster has been cleaned off - it still has to be properly cleaned and smoothed out. I think I might leave it kind of rough looking for a more natural look.

Taking this class has given me a real appreciation of all the work the jewellers put into their pieces; I'll be looking at handmade jewellery with a different eye now. I'm also really glad to have learned how to use many tools of the trade, that can also be applied to my clay work. Yesterday I bought some files that work great with polymer clay, so I'll be filing everything I can get my hands on - outta my way, unless you want your edges smoothed out!

I now want to take a class with metal clay, so I may do that in the new year. Lots of ideas a brewing, but I need to focus on holiday season production now. Too much stuff in my head, must-turn-it-off...

4 comments:

stephanie said...

LOVE your ring :)

Nancy said...

ohhh....yes. Looks like the class was inspiring! Very happy that you finally got to do this!

naomi said...

your ring is beauuutiful! leaf designs make anything lovely!

Harvest Girl~ said...

such a wonderful experience