I recently took on a jewellery commission which was quite a challenge.
I like to step out of my comfort zone every now and again and do something totally different from what I normally make. This commission was in another stratosphere.
The commission came through The Jewellery Makers website and the customer had lost one earring out of a pair and wondered if we could make a replacement earring. As the original was quite intricate and unique, we advised the customer that it would be quite difficult and rather costly to make an earring to match. We could however make her a pair inspired by the original. We suggested using metal punches and stamped silver to create something in a similar boho mandala style.
I started doodling ideas down, but found this quite difficult as drawing isn’t my forte. To make the design process easier I decided to digitise my metal punches and instead worked in Adobe Illustrator to come up with ideas. Working digitally enabled me to work to scale and accurately rotate the elements in order to come up with the final pattern layout for the earring design.
The customer requested a few changes to the design pictured above and then gave us the go ahead once these changes were agreed.
I approached the stamping very nervously. How would I be able to make two identical stamped pieces, without making a single mistake? I practiced a bit on copper blanks and came up with a technique using a mirror that enabled me to make sure my metal punches were correctly aligned before striking them with a hammer and commiting to the placement. See the slideshow below for how I did my alignment.
I was so relieved when I’d finished the first circle. Then my heart sank and my anxiety came back as I had to repeat the whole process to make another stamped piece exactly the same as the first. But the mirror technique really helped with this and soon I had two pretty much identical pieces.
I then set about making the other components for the earrings. This included the small domed flowers that would be riveted to the middle of the stamped circles These started off as simple small circles, but soon took on the shape and form of little flowers. The teardrop top elements came next and here is when I got into the zone and carried away with the process and forgot to photograph some of the stages.
I added the earwires and hooks on the back of the teardrops so the earrings could be fastened securely when worn. I also added the hammered dangly bits and finally rivetted everything together.
The final earrings looked like this – stunning aren’t they!