This was my first more theoretically challenging piece that dad asked me to complete; making a cascade bracelet and necklace that required me to solder a silver hollow bead with a single hole in its base to a solid silver curved peg. He explained that when soldering you have to be aware of other parts of the item that can get heated and damaged by soldering without care. This means you need to understand where the heat can travel and try to reduce that risk as much as possible by positioning the items to take the tension out.
Therefore, the challenge to this task was to keep the heat on the peg and only touch the base of the hollow bead. This is because when putting the peg into the hole it traps air and creates some sort of vacuum. Getting the vacuum hot would cause the trapped air to expand and the ball to either shoot off or possibly explode.
I’d like to say I was successful throughout the soldering process, however, it’s rare for anyone to do everything right first time. Thankfully nothing exploded, neither did a burning ball of silver shoot off in the direction of dad’s bench, but I did have to add more solder or re-solder the pieces that I could see hadn’t gone completely around the circumference where the peg met the bead.
I’m yet to polish the completed bracelets and necklace, as I reckon I’ll need a bit more guidance for these pieces compared to the rings and other bracelets I’ve put on the polishing mop. Fingers crossed it goes to plan!
The polishing procedure was kindly demonstrated by dad and I timidly followed, because he explained that if I were to lose my grip on the bracelet or necklace then I need to move out the way quickly as the motor could rip the item from my hands and fling it around, leaving it needing to be discarded and perhaps a nice trip to A&E! Luckily, I didn't have to make an emergency exit from the polishing room. However, it was difficult to get all parts of the bracelet and necklace polished to a high standard whilst making sure that no additional parts touched the metal spindle of the polishing mop. As this would result in bracelet and necklace being scratched and needing further attention.
However, both pieces are now brightly shining in the workshop waiting to be put on our Etsy page for someone to love them as much as we do!
Our seaside town of Whitstable is most known for its wild and native oysters. Their popularity dates back to the Roman period, where there is evidence that oysters would be sent back to Rome. However, since the 11th Century oysters have been celebrated and blessed in Whitstable to safeguard an abundant harvest for the next year. Today the festival begins with a religious ceremony and the Native Sea Scouts landing the oysters. The oysters are then paraded and blessed through the town and given to restaurants, inns and bars along the way.
The knot range was created after I wanted to craft a gift for a close friend of mine. I wanted something simple, as that is her taste, and wanted the gift to have meaning. Being in a working harbour for half the week, knots seem a constant feature in my life, as well as being symbols of strength and never-ending bonds.
I began creating the single friendship knot, trying it first out of copper to get the material length correct and subsequently when I came round to making it properly, I would get as little silver wastage as possible. To bend and form a knot into itself, the silver wire needs to be double the length of the final ring circumference; because the wire has to be drawn down when the knot is first created which leaves the two clamped ends marked and therefore they needed to be sawn off before making the ring into a circle.
The second addition to the knot range was a complimenting reef knot ring. My dad had previously made reef knot bracelets and necklaces for the shop and so it made sense to add a ring that reflected his existing jewellery items.
Both item are accompanied by a thoughtful note for the person who receives the knot ring gift to reflect the strong friendship tie the ring carries. With a little notice these inserts can be personalised to specify peoples names, and similarly for other items in the hut if anyone wishes for a particular thoughtful message to accompany the gift in the box, then this is possible within one working day.
My hope is for me to try setting stones into the centre of both knot rings for special gifts as well as try accompanying the pieces in the hut with a square knot bangle. So keep a look out for new items in our hut over the next coming month.
Over the last few weeks we've been asked to make a variety of different pieces for clients wanting that unique and special something.
The first of two being, a Miniature Sterling Silver Roofers/Slaters Rip and Axe.
The second, a pair of overlapping hearts pendant set with an Amethyst in one and a Diamond in the other. Essentially resembling the close bond between two life-long friends.
Megan, the middle daughter of Stephen Randall, who has joined him in the workshop to follow a career in Jewellery Making and Silversmithing