Thursday, 20 November 2014

Chaos and order complete


So here we are - the final piece for Chaos and Order.  Handed in last Monday after a weekend of fiddly soldering!  I decided to start again in silver only. 

The prongs caused a few problems - I'm realising how tricky it can be to set large pieces of resin.  However, eventually I worked them into place and the resin is securely held.

view of the troublesome prongs.

So here is the finished piece in its presentation box.  I spent the weekend agonising over the design - I'm happy with the look of it, but if I were to do it again I think I would try making the resin piece shallower.  There are plenty of ideas to develop.
I am happy with it.. especially the detailing, e.g. the flat piece ending the chain hanging down from the T-bar fastening.  It is reticulated silver and came up looking interesting on both sides.  I finished it all by running a burnisher around the edges. 

Friday, 14 November 2014


I decided to use a resin block as the basis for some enamelled pieces.  The pieces were silver and copper, soldered onto wire and put into holes drilled into the resin. 

first try - actually like these colours, maybe I'll do something with them another time!
drilled holes - focus trouble, hmm...

The first stage is to clean the metal with pumice powder and a brass brush under a tap - when the water runs off in a sheet it's clean.  Clinging droplets of water means the metal is greasy and needs more cleaning.

I set up a gauze platform and put on a layer of flux powder. 

Firing this first gives the metal a sheen and brings out the colour of the metal.  I really like the effect - especially on silver - so I decided to keep the silver pieces plain with just two coats of flux.

Trusty wee kiln.  Probably a bit too hot here!  Each firing takes a couple of minutes.

pieces with flux only - really like the silver (bottom right).

Brooch? Neckpiece? Brooch?

I started playing around with introducing other elements - but  it all got a bit fussy.  The surrounding pieces overpower the coloured parts.  I tried making the other shapes smaller, flattening parts by rolling and forging... but I still wasn't entirely happy with the design. 



We're getting to the end of the Chaos and Order project now...

From the research stage some initial shapes popped out at me, alongside a sense that I wanted to try something new.  I've been feeling as though the 3D side had become secondary - so I really wanted to push for something that explored the third dimension.

Sketchbook in progress- bashing ideas around.  Amazing where you start to see shapes when you're obsessing!
some samples - ideas from cracks in pavement - trial enamelling - resin block.

Early in the block we were shown how to make a silicon mould - so I thought I would give it a go, with a view to making some resin pieces.  At this stage I didn't know what I wanted to do with the resin at all - apart from perhaps encase a piece of heated dropped pewter inside it.

First - the mould.  The key is getting the quantities of silicon to catalyst right - it's 20:1 by weight. 

the preparations - measuring out the quantities and the silicon in the cup.  Not much to see here!
I fixed my little wooden block (master) to the bottom of a cup with double-sided tape and s l o w l y poured the silicone mixture in... really slowly - I didn't put it in the de-gassing chamber so was hoping any bubbles would burst on the way down.  The cup was put to the side and forgotten about until the next day.

Great - the mould set nicely, and 24 hours later I could pop out my wooden master with ease.

I bought some lovely clear resin, put in my pewter piece and followed my resin-mixing instructions.  2:1 for the resin (resin to hardener) - again, I didn't bother with de-gassing the mix, just tried not to mix too roughly.

strange object in jelly?
I was quite happy with the outcome - although there were ridges on the resin - the mould had picked up every detail of the wooden surface.  It didn't turn out completely clear - it has a smoky translucent finish.
I sanded the faces of the block down further - from very rough to smooth (1000) emery.  Parts of the pewter became exposed and shone - I thought this little accident made attractive highlights.
So... what now?