Archive for January, 2010

Jan 21 2010

Wednesday night – Class night #2

Published by under amy's head,jewelry,photos

#2? What happened to #1?

Well, I didn’t post for #1. But better late then never, right?

Tonight was class #2 of my silversmithing class at the Art League in Alexandria. We did cuttlefish bone castings, which I have to admit, I wasn’t actually too excited about initially, but now I am SO in love with my piece, I got very excited!

Cuttlefish bones are made up of pretty much just calcium. They are very soft, which makes it easy to carve into it, or press shapes into it. You may have actually seen one – they are good for birds, and are often wired to the side of bird cages for the bird to snack on. We decided on the shape we wanted to cast and then carved/impressed the shape into the soft cuttlefish bone, then fitted another bone over it and cut out a little funnel at the topfor the melted metal to flow into the casting.

Cuttlefish bone also has a natural striation in the material that makes really interesting patterns and textures in the casting.

I decided to make a disc shaped pendant with the spokes of a lego gear emerging out of the disc at an angle. I figured with the wavy striations, it would look like a gear or a snowflake sticking up out of the sand.


You can see the striations quite a bit on the back.

It turned out very well! I wish I had thought to snap a few photos of my carving that I cast the piece from, but I didn’t. After I made my mold, I heated scrap silver in a crucible until it was molten, adding a bit of flux (boric acid I think) to help remove any slag (grossness. and yes, that’s a technical term). Then carefully, but quickly, I poured the molten silver into the void i had carefully carved out.

During the carving, the workshop smelt faintly fishy the whole time, but after pouring hot molten meltal into the bone, there was nothing faint about it. It smelled very badly of nasty burnt fish, blech!

A few students had some bad luck with their molds. Not enough material between the mold and the edge of the bone, and the molten metal would find a way to escape the mold and all was ruined. Once used, the bones could not be used again, as they were burnt to a stinky crisp. I was very happy that my casting turned out wonderfully, much better than I expected.

After retrieving my cooled metal from the quench pot and chucking the stinky remains of the burnt mold, I consulted Nick, our teacher on ways to finish this sucker off. On Nick’s suggestions, I filed the angled gear shape down smooth. This week I will need to decide whether to keep the edges as they are, or perhaps cut away around the edge of the protruding gear and into each little coggy protruberance. I’m not sure which I’ll do.


This photo is it’s current state, after a bit of filing.

Good thing I have a week to think it over!


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Jan 20 2010

Wisdom that you never knew you’d have to share with your children

Published by under amy's head

To Jocelyn:

Everyone picks their nose. Sometimes, it just needs to be done. The trick is, do it when you’re alone and no one can see you. Now get to work, it sounds like there’s only 2 millimeters of actual space for air to pass through up in there.

To Ethan:
There is such a thing as picking your nose too much. Those teeny tiny boogers? They might not be boogers. They might be small scabs that need to HEAL so that your nose doesn’t bleed. Again. From you picking it too much. Very important: Do it when you’re alone and no one can see you.

Also? Kleenex. That’s where the boogers go. Not in your mouth.

Passing the wisdom on from generation to generation. That’s me.

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Jan 14 2010

new january 2010 banner!

Published by under amy's head

I am SO guilt ridden, I didn’t post a THING in December! Well, here is a new banner at least to start off the new year, featuring a skinny stacking ring with a 4mm amethyst (soon to be available in my shop). I hope to do some blogging soon, so much to talk about!

To see all the banners I’ve ever used, click here.

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