Have you been watching 'All That Glitters' the jewellery competition show on BBC? I've seen few episodes so far and it really made me miss having time to experiment and explore different techniques. Don't get me wrong I still love making the jewellery I do but for various reasons I don't get to play as much as I'd like to.
It reminded me of when I first learnt how to make jewellery and how I fell in love with it. I just went in head first and challenged myself to make pretty difficult things early on - no fear! I just wanted to learn as much as I could. Whilst I am on this trip down memory lane I thought I would share some of the pieces I made when I was at college!
This is where it all started, the first piece of jewellery I ever made! I remember being so pleased with myself. Triangles were really in at the time. I still have this ring and will treasure it forever. I made a few more rings that term. A ring for my mum with a bezel set stone, it was a suprise for christmas and a ring for myself, which had a crystal point set so it sat horizontal to the band.
My final project was a present for my Nana, a leaf brooch with a prong set moonstone. The leaf was an acanthus leaf inspired by William Morris wallpaper and the moonstone was to represent a water droplet. I was really happy with how it turned out and my Nana loved it! It led to me making Oak leaf necklaces for a while, customers would commission them with different stones, one went to live in New York which was exciting.
The next year I really pushed myself and designed pieces that would let me learn specific techniques. The course was really casual and didn't really have a set curriculum so it was all self-driven on my part. I think some of the others thought I was mad with some of the challenges I set myself! I made this cyclindrical vial necklace with a clasp to learn how to make a hinge. It wasn't perfect and I would definitely need more practice to make another one.
I also made more rings! One to practice flush setting that wasn't that successful and another with a collet setting where I insisted in setting the stone upside down. Finally I made this beast of a ring, which involved granulation, a prong set herkimer diamond, oxidisation and a frosted ring shank. This was definitely a labour of love as I had to individually solder 50+ silver granules on without the prongs falling off!
I really enjoyed making these pieces back then. I hope I get to bring that excitement back to my bench when I get the time to experiment and practice more.