Wednesday, 11 August 2010


I went to a Silversmithing class at Potters Barn last week. It was a one-day class teaching texturing techniques including reticulation, granulation, rolling and hammering. It was fantastic fun. I find these classes a bit stressful though, in terms of having a limited time to come up with a design idea and execute it well enough. So I 'planned' the design mostly so that I had a chance to practise all of the techniques and use as many silversmithing tools as possible. Part of my mission was to find out what tools I need to get hold of to do this at home. The answer was many. And they are not cheap!

So the earrings and pendant I made each have three layers. One rolled (the criss cross one), one reticulated (which is heating the silver til the top layer goes liquid and moving it around with the flame into a 'surface of the moon' type texture) and finally there is a hammered layer. I think the hammered layer is my favourite. I used a hammer and small punch and hit it mighty hard for a heavily dimpled effect. I also took it right out to the edges. Which I really like, but it is also handy for hiding the fact that the squares are rather uneven.

We didn't get much silver in the class but I have been messing about with the scraps here. I feel much more confident with the micro-torch after the class, with annealing and soldering. They do other classes (rings, shaping), but they are not cheap and the money could be better spent on tools now I think. Better get practising...

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