by Patti Vanderbloemen
Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I could make her a necklace with a sort of 3-D effect. Before I retired nearly 6 years ago, I spent 20 years as a Proposal Writer for Architects and General Contractors. One word that was constantly used back and forth between designers and contractors was - "constructability." Just because an architect can draw the idea, it does not mean a contractor can build it. That word still sticks in my mind with every single piece of jewelry that I create....How will it lay on the arm or neck? What type of clasp? Are the earrings too heavy? How can I make something 3-D and not have it fall apart?
I ended up not using my friend's exact design concept, rather, I riffed. I actually remembered to take pictures of each step (I apologize in advance for any blurry photos)!
She wanted mixed metal, so I started by drawing out a freehand heart on copper, and sawed out the shape.
The copper heart would serve as my backplate/base, so I used 20 gauge copper. After filing the edges smooth, I used the ball peen hammer to add texture to just the edges.
I then cut out a smaller version of the same heart shape with a scrap piece of silver that I had etched.
I knew I had to have something underneath the two hearts to raise the silver heart above the copper for that 3-D effect. I could easily have used rivets - with tubing in between - but I did not want to deface the pretty silver! I do not etch often, and my etch scrap is running low! So, I decided to use square wire to serve as legs and give me some height - similar to pilings on a bridge (see..I really did work with architects...who thinks of structural engineering and bridges when designing a necklace??)
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a video of my studio and I distinctly remember pointing out this tool - a miter cutting vise (link here). I truly use this tool constantly for sheet and wire. You just slip the sheet or wire into the tool, tighten, and then use a file to get a perfectly flush edge. The tool is steel and will NOT ruin your file.
After getting a flush edge on the starter piece of square wire, I cut (with a saw) 3 little legs, each approximately 2 mm long.
I then soldered (hard solder) these legs to the silver heart. I use Knew Concepts Titanium Clips (link here) to raise the silver heart so I could aim my flame underneath, though that square wire would probably not melt, as it is pretty thick.
First solder complete.
After pickling and cleaning, I made sure the 3 little legs were all the same size - a quick file and that was done.
I then sweat soldered 3 balls of medium solder the top of the legs.
The next step was to solder the top, silver heart with legs to the bottom, copper heart. This was my setup - again, the intent being to aim the flame underneath the copper base and not melt the "legs" or the little silver heart..
Pickle and clean. I brass-brushed this sucker to death and then threw it in the tumbler for an hour - I wanted to make sure I had a good, solid connection.
Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the back of necklace to show the bail placement. It is just a copper ring, with a closed (soldered first) sterling ring on top for the chain.
Liver of sulfur, buff, and tumble.
I plan on making this again...I see an arrow shooting through there somewhere! :)
It is really not bulky and heavy...my friend was very pleased!
I want to end this post by thanking everyone who is out there working on this Labor Day- Police, 911 Operators, Fire Men and Women, Doctors/Nurses/Hospitals, and especially all the Lineman who are working 24 hours a day to restore power to those who have lost it during the horrific hurricane / extreme weather that has hit this past weekend. Their work does not go unnoticed...and I am forever grateful!
Thanks for stopping by!