Further to my last post, I now present some work by Stephanie Mearns, visible on the left of this shot of Andrew and Anita Neilson:
Her work uses biological forms:
I'm really disappointed that we didn't manage to make up a piece which she designed for the Gemvision/Matrix 2014 competition - for which she won an award - as it is rather spectactular:
We'll get it done next term, for sure!
Anne Walker also asked me to point out that she made not one but two pieces for the fashion degree students, the second being this peridot, amethyst and sterling silver plaid pin for Siobhan Mackenzie:
This last week also saw my NC, HNC and HND students doing rather well in the annual Trades House of Glasgow's marvellous "Craftex" competition. I haven't missed this show for about fifteen years but couldn't go this year, but I know that the standard of our work was higher than ever.
Both the NC (first year course) prizes for jewellery went to my students: first to Donna Morgan for her elegant and deceptively simple pendant:
All the spheres were hand-fabricated from sheet and hand-finished.
One of my favourite student pieces ever is John O'Neill's Rib-cage drinks-flask:
Entirely hand-fabricated from silver, it is set with a blue glass marble and holds a miniature heart-shaped bottle of port!
Some of you will know my HND student, Carol Docherty's work from her carving of the snake and octopus for my most recent pieces. Her own jewellery work is very lovely and shows the same attention to detail and thoughtful care in the use of pattern and form as her carvings for me did:
On the subject of hand-carved wax, Kathleen Lee's "Crane" box in silver, brass and gemstones is beautiful:
Everyone knows that I make big cocktail rings... Nikki Manning makes even bigger cocktail rings and this one is kinetic:
The main weight of this ring is the 40mm diameter CZ in the middle! (There are also 340 pave-set stones around the outer band, which spins.)
Sian Rushent also went to town on the pave-setting, clocking up, I think, 270:
Louise Cardosi Campbell also made a gem-set pendant with which she won the Scottish Gemmological Association's 2014 prize:
Last but not least, here is Ross Menzies' amazing hand-chased scorpion. Ross is in the assisted learning group who come to me once a week for a basic metalsmithing class and this is his second year in the group. I wanted him to leave it plain copper and brass but he wanted it painted black:
This is rather larger than life-size and took him almost the whole year to design, chase and fabricate. Everyone who has seen it has been impressed, apart from the judges at Craftex, it seems.
I've spent today learning to cast stainless steel. I've wanted to do this for years but only now have the equipment necessary with our new "Pressovac" over-pressure induction casting machine. It is pretty exciting stuff: I melted down a bit of an old canteen fork - 18/0, 430, 1.4016 - as it is necessarily nickel-free.
It has to get to 1400ºC and at that temperature is fairly lively, with little sparks flying out of the crucible:
Unfortunately, I had to use a new high-temperature investment for which I didn't have any instructions and I've not mixed it correctly as it is all separated and horrible:
This disc is 25mm across and the thickness of the wires in the centre is around 0.8mm, so I know now that it is possible.
On a final note, I found that my incredibly expensive silicon-carbide crucible for melting the steel had been used by some dumpling to melt sterling silver and that the silver had bonded to the crucible. After a few pokes and prods, this pleasing object fell out:
I'll make something with this soon, for sure.