using commercial headpins.
Summer is starting to wind down….
…not so much. I had a great morning in the studio, finishing some earrings with rivets, and some with copper pieces I had patinated last week. I spent the afternoon taking 118 photographs of 5 pairs of earrings I was planning to list on Etsy. I thought I was getting some good shots until I began to crop and edit them. Some were okay, but there weren’t 5 decent images of any one pair. Etsy will have to wait until next week, because I have something really exciting to do this weekend.
Silver was $36.97 today. Yikes. The cost of silver clay has become prohibitive. I’ve started thinking about sheet metal and simple fabrication. After an experiment with patina on copper discs, I decided to rivet them to some earring shapes I had cut from sterling silver sheet. I hammered the silver and gave it a hand finish, rather than a high polish. Not sure if I like the concave discs on this particular pair. The shape is from a template I made for toggle clasps, but it works out pretty well for an earring too.
I love the colors in the copper so much, that I decided to learn more about it. I’m waiting for the arrival of some patina solutions from Shannon LeVart at Miss Ficklemedia. The pdf file for the Color Drenched Metal tutorial is well written and looks like it will be easy to follow when my supplies get here next week.
More copper discs with patina, mounted on PMC discs, mounted on beautiful glass head pins made by Sue Kennedy at SueBeads.
Hey Sue, check us out!
I had some copper discs lying around…. and I’m waiting to learn more about patinas….but I just want to keep riveting! Check out Sue Kennedy’s off-white glass head pins below. The white disc inside the rivet is some kind of bone. (I think.) Sterling silver and gold filled head pins are used as rivets.
The photos below are the best of my worst ones. (Faint praise.) I didn’t feel like taking the time to deal with everything they were reflecting. That’s the problem with shiny silver and photography. I was happy with the decorative rivets, though.
Finger reflection and finger print….eeeesh. Not recommended.
Today was the day I finally addressed my last resolution from last year. I taught myself to rivet.
I’m shocked that I put off learning this simple cold connection for so long. What was I thinking? (I admit it. I was afraid to fail. Let that be a lesson to me. It was actually pretty easy.)
For my first rivet experience I used an unfinished piece I made in Celie Fago’s workshop last September. I had already drilled holes in the back of the piece where I wanted to put rivets. That’s as far as I got. No holes were drilled on the front because I would be drilling all the way through, one hole at a time, to make it easier to line up each rivet.
I had two of these unfinished pieces. Potential pendants. Below are 3 successful rivets with 20 gauge wire. (And one unsuccessful spot.) My very first rivet is the one inside the red marker. The rivet at “12 o’clock” on the piece was made with a piece of silver wire that I balled on one end.
Now, about that unsuccessful spot. When I drilled through the hole in back, the hole in front was half on the silver and half on the recessed area with the polymer clay. Arrgh! First I tried to make up for it by using a balled end piece of wire:
Yeah, I knew it wouldn’t work. But maybe adding a little washer would work. (Notice the hole in the washer is too roomy for the wire…)
The look I wanted…
What actually happened…
I kept trying to make a bad fit work. It never did.
This is the point where I stopped worrying about making this into a wearable piece. I left this trouble section alone for a while and started to drill holes in other spots to see what would work for a rivet. 18 gauge wire vs 20 gauge. Copper wire. Gold-filled commercial head pins. Glass bead washers. (That one didn’t work so well.) Another attempt with 3 washers to fill in the trouble spot.
I knew this was not a piece to wear, but it was a great opportunity to figure out a way to make a bale and rivet it, so it could be worn. Now I’ll know what to do when I do make a piece to wear.
A tight fit is necessary for hot connections. (Are they called hot connections?) Solder won’t fill a gap and fine silver won’t fuse across a gap. This I already knew. Today I learned, from experience, how important a close fit is for a cold connection. The hole and the wire rivet need to be the same size/gauge.
Designs with rivets are flying through my head. At last!