My foray into experimental jewellery making techniques took a wonderful turn this February at a water casting class with Deba McDonald at the Redbridge Institute.
Armed with lots of scrap silver I had acquired over the years whilst silversmithing, a steel mixing bowl and my apron, I entered the classroom very excited... and with a little trepidation. Read on.
You'd think nothing would faze a bunch of experienced jewellery makers when it came to heating stuff up and certainly melting metal (we had done it enough unintentionally). But when we saw the heating of the silver into molten liquid using a crucible and the way it needed to be thrown into a bowl of water, with all its fizzing and drama, we were a little scared. Like anything, though, once we got going, many 'oooh's' and 'aaah's' followed and soon we were in experimental mode throwing the molten silver into old food tins filled with a plethora of bizarre dried objects to create different shapes; chick peas, mung beans, spaghetti. All brought amazingly different outcomes, swirls, waves, loops and coral-like shapes (or just became blobs or fragmented silver like my first attempts).
See the photographs of my efforts - there are some fairly ugly and twisted lumps of silver, which require polishing and turning into beautiful wearable pieces. Do you think I have a bit of a task ahead of me? Mine were nothing compared to some of the other makers' work which were amazing organic silver structures brought to life by this process. Please look up water casting and you will see some of the fantastic surprises people have made into lovely jewellery. If anyone ever asks you how mung beans and jewellery go together, you now know!
Check out the very interesting and rewarding jewellery making classes available with Deba McDonald at Redbridge Institute by clicking here.