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A Peek Behind The Scenes Today

Posted on October 30, 2014 | 0 comments

Here is a quick video of the behind the scenes process of creating jewelry using the ancient Keum Boo technique. This is originally a Korean technique of fusing pure 24k gold foil to pure silver, fine silver, through the use of heat and burnishing.

Starting with a sheet of fine silver, which is very soft and takes embossing beautifully, sandwich it between two textured brass sheets. The metal sandwich is then put through my rolling mill and the textures of the brass are transferred onto the fine silver through the pressure of the rollers.

The leaf shape is traced onto the embossed silver and then each piece is individually cut out with a saw. The silver leaves are then drilled with holes and sanded on the edges. Now they are ready to be heated up on the little hot plate.

As the silver is heating up, I cut out a tiny hydrangea flower shape from a sheet of paper thin 24k gold. Very carefully the gold piece is placed with tweezers onto the silver piece that has been heated. This process is a little stressful because the gold can easily tear or get blown off the silver at this point. The gold flower is then gently burnished down onto the silver with various metal tools using a circular motion.

The metals are permanently fused together through this process. It will usually take about a minute or two, depending on the heat which is between 500-700 degrees. There isn’t any glue or adhesive of any kind used, the fusing is done through the heat and burnishing.

I am in the middle of creating a series of new Keum Boo jewelry pieces. Some of them I will leave as is with the silver and gold combination and others I will dip into a silver blackening solution to create a gold and black combination. Here are some examples of the finished jewelry. As you can see through this video, each piece is a one of a kind original creation. No two pieces are alike.

Grasslands Earrings, Dogwood Earrings, Raven Earrings.

Hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek as to the magic that happens daily in my studio! Be sure to ‘Like’ Garden of Silver on Facebook and sign up for our VIP list to stay updated about new jewelry, events and secret sales. Thanks!

A special thank you to my Advanced Computer Graphics student, David Garcia, for editing this video!

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Trunk Show at Susan Rodgers Designs

Posted on September 03, 2014 | 0 comments

Save the date! I will be bringing in many new one of a kind pieces in all price ranges. There will be something for every taste! Bring your friends, refreshments will be served. I will also have a collection of my fine art drawings and paintings available.

Please join our mailing list to stay updated about new events and jewelry collections. 

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Hydrangeas & Lily Pads

Posted on July 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Today in the studio I have been working on some new jewelry that was inspired by the Hydrangea flowers in my garden and the Lily Pads in my pond.

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After making sketches of the flowers and lily pads I hand carve them out of wax and then cast the wax sculptures into solid sterling silver pieces. The silver castings need a lot of cleaning up and polishing, so I am currently covered in silver dust.

 

I decided to solder various arrangements of the Hydrangeas to resemble a natural looking cluster that you would see in the garden and the same with the lily pads. It's fun to come up with different ways to use each casting. These images below are the lily pads being soldered together with the torch and then a soak in the pickle which gets the pieces clean after soldering.

  

The various soldered arrangements will be made into earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets. And, the fun part...tiny blue diamonds are going to be added to the center of some of the Hydrangeas and tiny green diamonds will create a 'frog' on the lily pads! 

Another fun day in the studio.

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The Process

Posted on March 01, 2014 | 0 comments

I have been working on a new collection this winter of sterling silver flower shapes that I am creating into numerous jewelry pieces. Here are some photos of the process.

Sketching the flower and leaf shapes on a sheet of sterling silver that I embossed on my rolling mill. As you can see, I use every possible area of the silver so there is very little waste. Trying to keep an eye on the materials budget!


Then I use a tiny blade on my saw and cut out each piece individually. This is a tedious process but I wanted every flower and leaf in the collection to be a one of a kind. Each one has its own personality.

  

The pieces are sanded on my grinding wheel to smooth out the edges and give the flowers a matte finish which I love. I am not into very shiny polished pieces, looking for a more natural and earthy feel to my collections.

A handful of sparkling sterling flowers in my dirty hand.

The flowers are on the soldering block where I solder on the stems and leaves to finish off the look.

My plan is to combine these garden elements to create a large cohesive collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings. There will also be an element of color added through my new enameling skills.

The collection should be completed within a few weeks in time to celebrate the arrival of Spring!

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Weekend in Brooklyn

Posted on January 27, 2014 | 0 comments

      

I just spent the weekend in Brooklyn taking a 'Torch Fired Enamels' workshop at Liloeve which was fabulous!  Emilie Shapiro was the instructor of the class and she was amazing, extremely knowledgable and a great teacher. I have been looking to learn how to enamel for the last few years and was very excited to actually find a weekend workshop that I could squeeze into my crazy schedule.

Enameling is the art of coating metal with powdered glass which is fused together with heat. Normally this process takes place in a kiln, behind a closed door but, with the torch firing technique, the entire process is able to be seen.  

We learned how to use the acetylene torch to enamel copper pieces by firing the pieces on a trivet from below. You are able to pull the torch away at the exact moment that you like the finish of the enamel. Very exciting. I played a lot and experimented with all kinds of sample pieces over the two days. Lots of mistakes and disasters were made, along with some keepers! I plan on adding some color to my jewelry and hopefully by the summer I will have a new line to show.

And, I would like to thank my fabulous cousin Colleen for letting me crash at her Brooklyn apartment as well as giving this suburban girl her garage parking space and a delicious sushi dinner! A great weekend in Brooklyn.

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