Butane torch heating up fine silver prior to enamel dip.
Today's ring was an exploration in a couple of things. One, torch firing enamel onto fine silver and two, making a multi-part stacking ring. The enameling part has a definite technological learning curve, so I am still at the very bottom of that one. But I did get this to work a bit and am enthused again by possibilities of adding color to jewelry in yet another way. Nobody ever accused me of being a purist, nor of having too few ideas! I am not certain how well this particular ring would stand up to wear, but for an art ring experiment, I love it!
Steel ray and sterling silver ring with Tanzanian spinel
Yesterday's ring I half love. The top-- steel soldered together in spiky rays-- I thought of early and fabricating that went really well. Then a zillion other things happened and I couldn't finish until later in the day and I am totally unsatisfied. I love the sterling ring shaft but not the attachment. This ring calls for something much more elegant and integrated, don't you think? I do love the pink spinel, though.
Steel "pi" ring
Pi day ring! Almost looks like a brand, doesn't it? I couldn't start this one until later on today so kept the concept simple and the execution as informal as the quick idea (hence the otherwise unacceptable solder blobs). This would be fun to do with more careful technique and perhaps in precious metals. Endless possibilities!
Laurel wood, steel and emerald ring with watercolor stain and sterling silver bezel.
Day 8 is another take on nature. Yet again, I probably took it too far, but I can see doing many iterations of this ring, many explorations. Perhaps I will be willing to simplify after I grow tired of the possibilities. Can that ever happen?
Monday's ring is a pine cone riveted with a sterling silver bar into a copper band which was been hammered and torch oxidized. Five orange sapphires have been set into the sawed off pine cone.
Nature's inspiration is endless, though I may have a tendency to manipulate it a bit too much. Simplicity really isn't my thing!
Yesterday was a soldering disaster. I still don't know what was going wrong with my technique, but it took me all day to finally get my copper spiral soldered to the cast sterling ring I had sitting around. I was so exhausted by the frustration of over and over cleaning, sanding, degreasing, torching, and pickling that I faked the peridot settings (a peridot on each side) until I have more energy to re-anneal the copper to soften it enough to be able to press around the gems to hold them.
Today's ring, the cast sterling silver set with blue topaz teardrop with added granular prongs, I actually made the other day when working with the other cast ring. I love how this one turned out, and I was careful to place the granular fine silver close enough to actually function as prongs.
Today I am working on another piece, still playing with trying to use granulation to set stones, but this time trying to set cabochons on flat sterling. This will require more success than I have had so far getting granulation where I want it on my silver. Hence, posting the other ring as today's! We will see where...IF...this ends up.
Today was a slight cheat-- the blank for this ring was cast two years ago but never finished. I had to relearn (ah...relearning a skill is a skill unto its own!) using a burr to create a seat for a stone. More practice is necessary yet! Luckily I have have many more cast blanks ready to be sweated over.
This somewhat freeform ring was originally sculpted in wax, then lost wax cast in argentium sterling. The fine silver granulation I added today, but they aren't placed properly to be able to use them as prongs. Luckily, there are may more days to March in which I can try that!
Day three was a soldering challenge for one thing, but sculpturally and structurally it was a brain stretcher for sure. It almost turned out to be a two finger ring, as when worn it reaches over to the adjacent finger!
Sterling silver ring with grapevine.
I find myself particularly tempted by nature, especially on a sunny day such as this one. I would love to have a silver or gold cast of these vines to make this ring more than symbolic.
I have decided to ring in spring (cutesy, non?) with a ring challenge. I aim to make a ring-- well, not every day of the month, as I like to take weekends for other projects-- almost every day of the month of March. The pressure is on!
As you can see in this photo, today's ring has already encouraged me to get creative, which is the whole point: loosen up and free the brain! This cold connection ring is based on annealed steel wire. The steel is bound together with silver fill wire and the ends are bent to form the prongs to attach birch bark. The birch has been coated with polymer medium.