A few months ago, I was approached on my Etsy site by a wonderful young woman named Morgane. She was plannig her wedding and had chosen ME to design her wedding ring! GASP! I have never done this before, and was both petrified and honored to be a part of such a momentous occasion! She really liked my bird's nest ring, so I made one for her with tiny sterling silver "eggs" in the golden nest. Perfect! Well......not so fast. She was in Mexico, and I have never shipped to Mexico. I figured three weeks in advance would be plenty of time....I WAS WRONG! I shipped the ring and assumed all was well until poor Morgane started contacting me as the wedding was suddenly days away and NO RING! Needless to say I was ill with panic. My first wedding ring and it might miss the wedding! On top of that, the wedding was to be held in FRANCE, and Morgane was getting ready to LEAVE WITH NO RING! I must say I was beside myself. Anyway, on the day she was to leave for France I had all but given up hope, when the ring arrived 2 hours prior to her flight!!! Talk about a close call! I don't know about Morgane, but I nearly wept with relief!
So, Morgane is married (to a handsome young man I might add) and the ring is on her finger. Thank you, Morgane, for choosing me and for sharing these photos from your big day. I wish you both nothing but happiness wherever your nest may be!!
First, it was etching. I love etching. I am etching everything I can get my hands on and hope to some day afford an electronic etch system for silver. For now, I etch brass and copper like no tomorrow.
THEN, I discovered reticulating silver. WOW! This is really fun, and really simple. I've seen reticulated silver before, and figured it was created through some incredibly difficult process that was far beyond my skill-set. WRONG. The look of rugged peaks, valleys, bumps and lumps I love so much are created with heat, and patience. With my little butane torch I can easily heat stering silver discs and sheet to red, then, with steady, even heat, start the reticulation process. You can see the bubbles begin to form on the nearly molten surface, then you have to stop, and clean the silver either by pickling or by hand with patina prep or whatever else you like to use to clean silver. This removes all the impurities that are in the silver, which come to the surface when heated. Then, back under the torch. Keep your flame even over the surface, don't focus the flame in one spot or you might burn right through the silver. Do this several times until you get the pattern or look that you like, cleaning between each torch session. The silver will deform, so start with a piece larger than what you want to end up with. I love the deformed look, and usually leave it at that. When you are happy with the results, clean thouroughly, and burnish either by hand or with a wire brush wheel/dremel. Be sure to look at both sides, sometimes the bottom side turns out even more interesting than the top! From here you can hammer (be a bit careful here, reticulating makes the silver somewhat brittle), cut, and patina to your heart's content. COOL!
Pictured here is a ring I made combining etched brass with reticulated silver and a baroque freshwater pearl. I just love the ancient, organic look!!! More to come....