I've always been artistic and crafty, but in 2007 I found the artistic love of my life - metalsmithing. I took a beginner course and was hooked. It's fun, challenging, and there is always something new to learn.
I love making jewellery for people. I love getting orders on Etsy, or Facebook, or through people I know, because it makes me feel like people like what I make as much as I do. But what I like most of all, is making something new.
Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of love still goes into my 30th Russian Wedding Ring, but I love creating designs for the first time. You never know, from start to finish what is actually going to happen.
The dangly earrings pictured above started off as a ring, which I totally screwed up. I set the tension too high in my rolling mill and curved the metal beyond a point that I could fix it. I was so mad looking a the curved piece of silver that I cut it up into little pieces and then realized that the pieces would be pretty cool as earrings.
I made this ring the same night. Generally, in my shop, I’ll have at least 5 projects on the go at one time. After soldering something, you have to clean it by letting it sit for a few minutes in a crock pot full of what’s called “pickle.” So after every solder join, there are a few minutes to fill, so I usually jump from project to project until before I know it, it’s 2 or 3am. Oops!
I love how this ring turned out. I was so torn about whether or not I should oxidize (blacken) the ring or leave it bright and shiny. I think I made the right decision. I love how the 14K gold contrasts with the black lace pattern on the ring.
The spinner on this ring is yellow gold, and I ordered a piece of rose gold in my last order too. I have about a thousand ideas of what I could do with it, just trying to decide which one to go with. Sometimes that’s the hardest part of designing.
I had a request through my Etsy shop for a pair of customized, hand stamped wedding rings. I love it any time I get to work on a project for a wedding. It just feels so humbling to get to be a part of a couple’s special day.
The bride’s ring is stamped on the inside with special dates and two small hearts. I love this style of spinner ring because the delicate bead wire contrasts so nicely with the thick, chunky silver ring – it makes for a ring that’s bold and feminine at the same time.
The groom’s ring was a new design. The couple wanted something that was very wide (15mm) and divided into three parts with personalized stamping on the inside.
I wasn’t sure about the ring at first, it seemed so big. Once I added the stamping and blackened the ring, though, I was sold. It’s rough, rugged, and bold. All I can say is that this is a ring for a real man.
I love the personalization on these rings and how they’ll always have these special dates on their rings, taking them along wherever they go. I’m so happy that they chose me to create their rings and wish them all the best in their marriage 🙂
In December, I bought gold for the first time to make my mom a pair of earrings for Christmas. I was terrified as I held my torch to the gold to flow the solder, but they soldered beautifully!
I had asked some metalsmiths in advance, “what do I need to know about soldering gold?” They told me that if I could solder sterling silver, I’d have no problem with gold. I kind of didn’t believe them.
Since making the earrings, I’ve been thinking about doing a spinner ring using gold and finally bought the materials.
The wide ring is a flared sterling silver wide (1.1cm) band and the spinners are 14K twisted yellow gold and 14K rose gold.
I just love how this ring turned out, and it is so comfortable to wear. I’m excited to slowly introduce some new gold items to my product line!
This Russian Wedding Ring is by far the most popular item in my Etsy Shop, so I thought I’d show how it’s made!
First, I choose the wire. This ring is made using 12 gauge, half round, sterling silver wire.
Then I measure the three pieces of wire that will form the ring with calipers. I measure one size larger than I will actually need because intertwining the rings will make it tighter. The calipers leave a faint mark on the metal, showing me where to cut with my jeweller’s saw.
The next step is to bend the wire for each ring around using a pair of half round pliers. Half round pliers have one flat side and one rounded side – perfect for forming the inside of rings.
Then I place each ring in my third hand and flux and solder their seams.
The rings are then hammered into round rings using a ring mandrel.
The next step I take may seem like backtracking. I actually cut two of the rings back open and re-solder them after intertwining them together. I do this because I find the rings turn out nicer when you make the three rings perfectly round before intertwining. It’s much more difficult to obtain the perfectly round rings once they’re all soldered together.
Now that all three rings are connected, I double check the size…
…file and sand the ring smooth…
…throw it in the tumbler with a little bit of dish soap, and in a couple of hours I’ll have a gorgeous Russian Wedding Ring!
I have always been a creative person. When I was little, I used to catch chipmonks in a box at my grandparents’ house to draw them before letting them go. When I was a teenager, I would be up all hours of the night drawing and painting.
I’ve always done my best work and had my best inspiration late at night, with my music on, after everyone else in the house has long gone to sleep. That’s okay when you’re a teenager. You’re supposed to stay up all night! But now, I have a job and a busy toddler and sometimes I have to force myself to go to bed.
Other times, like Wednesday this week, I stay up late to create, work or no work. I had a Russian Wedding Ring to make for a customer and I messed up the sizing. I had to make a size 5.5 and it ended up being a size 6, so I made two.
After that, I was really in creative mode and I’ve been wanting to make a spinner ring for a while now. I haven’t made one since I was taking a beginner metalsmithing course back in 2007.
I have to admit, I love this ring. It’s heavy and fairly wide, but the thin half bead spinner in the middle makes it seem delicate and feminine at the same time. Sometimes it’s worth being sleep deprived when something like this comes out of it!