This is the first finished piece of jewellery that I made when I started classes at Leeds College of Art. I was inordinately proud of it at the time, and I do still wear it from time to time. It looks very simple, but I learned quite few of the basic techniques of jewellery making through making it, including cutting simple shapes, annealing and pickling, creating texture with a rolling mill, using a drill and sanding and polishing.
The next challenge was to cut more complex shapes, and to master the tricky art of soldering. Here’s the piece that I designed and made at the end of my first term.
It was quite challenging, given my limited skill set at the time. Looking at it now, I can see where my sawing went slightly wobbly on the copper petal shape, and my texturing leaves a bit to be desired! I also made what I now believe to be the mistake of varnishing the copper so that it kept its shine – I much prefer to leave it to mellow and develop a patina. But, it was a start, and it does already show some of the design elements that I still incorporate in my jewellery.
I’ve had an awful lot of practice since then. This is the last piece that I finished – one of a pair of hair pins, made to order for our neighbour.
I’d never done anything like this before, and I had to do a bit of research to come up with a design that would function as a hair pin as well as looking like a leaf. I have seen her wearing them, so I know that they do work, and I was pleased with the rustic, slightly oxidised finish. I’m still learning as I go along – I don’t think you ever stop learning with something like jewellery making – but I like to think that I’ve come some way in terms of design and technique since I began with those first pendants.