Monday, 21 February 2011

Jewellery - Metalwork

The last stop on our trip round the departments was the Jewellery-Metalwork department.  Our brief for these 2 weeks was to create a ring.  I had great fun here - I had really been looking forward to having the chance to mix some of my favourite textiley fibres with some metal - and ended up making several ring-like things!

First off I loosely needlefelted some bits of fluff together - a mixture of wool and silk and linen fibres - and textured a little piece of copper to sit on top of them.  Now obviously I couldn't do any soldering with this little lot around without them going up in flames so I made the ring separately and then riveted the fluff and metal onto it.  A bit fiddly, to say the least!

Next I got out one of my very favourite fibres.  This is beaten kozo fibre, I think it is from the bark of the mulberry tree, and it has been prepared for papermaking.  It comes as funny little sticks but if you soak them you can gently tease them out into the most amazing lacy structures, which are quite stiff once they dry.  It can be a bit hit-and-miss if you want a particular size and shape, you never really know what you're going to get, but it's always beautiful.  I threaded my kozo pieces onto wire which had been soldered onto a ring to create this lovely pod shape.  This is definitely my favourite!

Ring 1

I do need to find a neater way to finish the wires together at the top though - again, soldering is out - maybe I just need to practice my wire-wrapping!

Having made these 'proper' rings I went on to have fun experimenting with my favourite combination of silk paper and wire.  I already use these materials to create the hearts I sell in my hypsela handmade shop but I had never managed to form the silk paper over a 3D wire structure without just getting into a sticky mess.  I twisted some wire into loose spirals to fit over my fingers and got out the silk paper... well the first couple of goes were my usual sticky mess, but evetually I discovered if I laid the silk fibres in the same direction as the wire it worked!  (well, sometimes...)

Ring 2

I know, a pretty strange sort of ring but a great discovery for me!  And lastly, another weird and wacky ring-thing made using the same technique...  There's no stopping me now!

Ring 3


  1. Your creativity never ceases to surprise and delight, Helen. You really are fearless with everything you try and it's all fabulous! x

  2. Oh I do *love* to see how much you're enjoying this!

  3. looks like you've been having fun!

  4. that last one reminds me of those filagree (sp?) nail covers that the chinese royal court used to wear....
    gorgeous output as ever!


Helen Smith, artist and maker in glass, print and stitch.


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