Monday, March 11, 2013

From Start to Finish for AbigaleR86

AbigaleR86 contacted me via convo on etsy and asked for an Autism necklace, I thought she might like to see how it was done.

It was made with Art Clay which is a malleable form of fine silver, you make what you want, let it throughly dry, then fire it to burn off the binder and get the silver particles to sinter.  Its a pretty cool process and the result is 99.9% pure silver, otherwise known as fine silver.

This is the puzzle peice in damp clay. It is very rough around the edges at this stage.  Sorry about the glare ;(

After it dried for 48 hours it was filed, sanded and shaped.  The it was put to the torch (the fun part).  The picture on the left is the refined piece just starting to burn off the binder particles.  The image on the right is showing the piece coming up to 'glow'  It has to stay at that color for approx 10-15 minutes in order for the silver to completely sinter.  It's a tricky business, just a skooch too much and you have a melted mess on your hands, too little and the silver won't sinter, leaving you with a piece that will not stand up to any wear.

Once its fired and cooled, the piece is actually white, silver is a white metal in its pure state, the silver color comes from the molecules being aligned by prolonged rubbing/polishing.  The best way to do this is in a tumbler with absolutely sparking clean steel shot, some soap and a bit of water.  Being tumbled also 'work hardens' the metal, making it a bit tougher.

You can see in the tumbler, that the work appears white, then below on the steel block after the tumbler, how beautifully polished it is!  I love taking the gasket off the tumbler and seeing how sparkly the work is!  Then a little texturing with a small hammer.....

add some sterling chain and a clasp, and TA DA!

I hope she likes it!
And I am so grateful that she trusted me with her request.