Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and Hydraulic Press

When I say I’m old school, I’m not kidding. I like books that were printed with hot type, meaning you can feel the impressions of the letters on the backs of the pages. But I also like convenience in technology, which is why I prefer video downloads to DVDs. I am tired of crawling around looking for little disks, fiddling with putting them in the right thingy, and waaaaaiiting for them to come up. A link, a download, presto, zippo, and you have it. And if you can’t remember where you filed it (no, that never happens to me), you can use a search function instead of wearing out your knees.

ABOVE: Kerry Bogert’s two-toned coiled wire link shows how much interest coiling can add to wire jewelry designs; from her video, Wire Coiling Secrets: Tips, Techniques, and Creative Jewelry Design

Pretty simple choice.

Deal with this,

or go straight to it.
Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and How to Use the Hydraulic Press

Quick Casting for Jewelry Makers: 5 Fast and Fun Methods with Noël Yovovich

Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and How to Use the Hydraulic Press

What do you get when you throw molten metal into water? You get splash castings, which are just what they sound like. Of all the casting techniques jewelry artist and instructor Noël Yovovich teaches in Quick Casting for Jewelry Makers: 5 Fast and Fun Methods, splash casting is the most liberating. You have some idea what to expect . . . but every casting is different and the results can be wildy unpredictable. Not what you want when you have a precise form you need to create, but a great way to get started!

Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and How to Use the Hydraulic Press

Broom casting, from a tutorial by Brad Smith, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, June 2007

If you want a little more texture in your metal as well as spontaneity, broom casting is a good option. Because you use the bristles of the broom, your metal castings take on the texture of straw, in forms that may be long and thin, like part of a single bristle, or clumped together.

For more predictable results with a more even texture, you should try cuttlefish casting. The “bone” or internal shell of the cuttlefish is easy to carve and accepts fine detail, and makes an excellent mold that you can control precisely.

And you should see what Noël does with sand and salt!

Wire Coiling Secrets: Tips, Techniques, and Creative Jewelry Design with Kerry Bogert

Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and How to Use the Hydraulic Press

Metal in wire form is a staple for any metalsmith, but making jewelry exclusively from wire rather than sheet is a specialty. Lots of jewelry makers venture into wirework because it’s easy to get started. You need few tools. You can work in a makeshift space that needs little more than a solid, stable work surface, and preferably some sound deadening so as not to annoy those nearby who might not think your hammering is music to their ears. Your materials can be pretty simple too: wire and maybe some beads to slip onto the wire, or some gems for wire wrapped settings.

Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and How to Use the Hydraulic Press

In Wire Coiling Secrets: Tips, Techniques, and Creative Jewelry Design, Kerry Bogert shows you how to create volume, texture, and color contrast with her two-tone bracelets.

The wire itself, though, being by nature linear and most often pretty thin, doesn’t create much volume or texture all by itself. Not one wire at a time, that is. You can get to two dimensions by closely wrapping wire in parallel, which gives you a flat area that looks similar to sheet. If you use a heavy enough gauge, you can hammer it flat to make strips of handwrought sheet.

The coolest way to create 3D effects is by coiling, which gives you plenty of volume and a surface that is richly textured. Besides showing you the basics of wireworking, coiling, and some inspired ideas for wire jewelry designs, in Wire Coiling Secrets: Tips, Techniques, and Creative Jewelry Design, Kerry Bogert demos making two-tone coils so you get volume, texture, and colorful effects besides.

Jewelry Basics for the Hydraulic Press with Richard Sweetman

Quickly Create Texture and Volume in Metal Jewelry: Learn Fast Casting, Wire Coiling, and How to Use the Hydraulic Press

Everyone says Richard can do anything, and teach it, too. They’re right.

I first met Richard Sweetman at a Society of North American Goldsmiths conference in Savannah, maybe 10 years ago, but I’d heard of him long before that. Unassuming, easygoing, ever so nice in person, and an expert craftsman: that is the very same guy you’ll meet on screen in Jewelry Basics for the Hydraulic Press. He’s been making jewelry and teaching jewelry making for over 30 years, and it shows. He is also a master of the hydraulic press, not only because he loves using one, but because he designed one himself.

If you want to put some extra power behind your metal forming and find a way to save time making multiples, the hydraulic press is for you. And if you want to learn how to use the hydraulic press to its fullest, this is the metalsmith you want to teach you how.

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group.


Expand Your Horizons and Your Jewelry Dimensions with New Techniques

So much about metalsmithing is forming your metal and finishing its surface. Each of these three videos does both, from coiling wire with simple tools, to quick casting techniques you can do yourself, to bringing in the heavy equipment and using a hydraulic press.

Find them all online at Interweave.

 

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