I have always loved silver jewelry. It looks better on me than gold and I am very drawn to the handmade jewelry of South America and Mexico especially. Our visit to Taxco in February, especially seeing the Spratling Museum, really got me thinking about designing jewelry. I took a class at PCC last spring and learned a lot about traditional silversmithing. Coincidentally, when we went to Boise for my niece's graduation I met Barbara Bowling at Jess's graduation party. Barbara is a jewelry artist in Boise, who makes beautiful, beautiful things. She invited me to see her studio, which was really inspiring. Take a look at her work here. Beautiful, eh? So I have just been more and more fascinated with the idea of learning more.
Here are the pieces just out of the kiln. They come out completely white.Then you put them on a little rubber block and brush the white coating off with a little brass wire brush.
The brush gives them a nice soft, matte silver finish. If you want a shinier, more polished finish, you burnish them with this burnishing tool. I burnished the high points of the two stamped pieces. I left the two little square pieces with the brushed finish.
To get an antiqued look, we put pieces into liver of sulpher solution, which turns the piece dark. I put each of the stamped pieces into the chemical.Then I polished them, removing the dark tarnish from everything except the impressed lines, so the designs show up better.
These are my finished pieces. When the clay is fired it shrinks about 10% as the binder burns out, and leaves almost pure silver. I put the stamp I used on the triangular piece in the photo so you can see what the shrinkage is. For reference, the finished triangle is about an inch on each side.
I am really pleased with these! I bought some findings and beads to finish these and I'll post photos when they are done.