Hi! So this is part two of making a very meaningful pendant for a customer, scroll on down to pat one if you haven't seen it already :)
Normally when I’m making a piece of jewellery I like to go straight to working with materials and do very quick sketches, but commissions need more love in the design stages. The customer needs to approve my ideas and my take on what will be their jewellery in the end. If the piece is made out of precious metals or unusual materials and it’s a design I’ve never made before, I need to know how I’m going to put it together!
To begin with I re-worked Jim’s design with scale drawings by hand. This gave us a good idea of how the silver ‘maze, mountains and roads’ and the gold bar of ‘faith and hope’ would run through the centre of the piece as well as the initial costs of materials.
Once Jim was happy with the design and scale, I took the scale drawing and made it into a 3D model using Rhino 3D, a 3D modelling software. I made the decision to make a 3D model and get it cast rather than all by hand because there needed to be a precise recess in the back of the silver, with mm measurements of wall thickness; this would save a huge amount of time therefore cost for Jim (and swearing from me). However after casting I planned to solder the gold into the silver recess and create a loop which the pendant chain would run through. A mixture of using design tech and making by hand, right up my street!
The file of the 3D model was sent of to Vipa Designs for 3D printing in wax and then casting in silver. For more information on how these stages are done to make a piece of jewellery take a look at their website here:
I received back a perfect little cast in silver which just need a bit of a clean up; cutting off the sprues (bits left over from the channels that were made to fill up the mold with liquid silver) sand and polish. The 18ct gold square shaped wire was soldered into the back of the cast, in the recess I created on CAD with 18ct gold solder wire.
After more cleaning up I made a small wire square with the rest of the gold and soldered this on to the back of the pendant. It’s discreet but also matches the rest of the piece. A lot more sanding and a lot more polishing later, I finally attached the silver snake chain onto the pendant and tried it on to make sure that it was a good length, comfortable and sat well around my neck.
I am so so pleased with how this piece turned out; commissions are always challenging but I find the most rewarding projects I can take on because it pushes me to create something I’ve never made before. I can practice my current skills and learn new ones, but most importantly I can collaborate with a customer to make something meaningful for them or for a loved one and use my artistic abilities to bring it to life. I would like to thank Jim for choosing and trusting me to take on this project, I feel very humbled, it was an absolute joy to make.
“In my view it elegantly and beautifully tells a story which reflects my own deep-felt gratitude to God and my experience of the hope Jesus brings. Though I have still to come back to my BTS autobiographical self portrait this pendant has its own symbolic “autobiographical” tale to tell. I have already discovered that it’s meaning and beauty has deeply impacted numbers of people.”