Friday, March 19, 2010

Sterling Silver Dust

A customer asked me to make a set of beads for her, based on a style I made more than a year ago. I wasn't sure I could remember how they were done, but luckily I did, and here they are:Kronos and Sterling Silver DustKronos and Sterling Silver DustThe base is Kronos and the swirls are sterling silver dust. The beads are encased with Aether clear.

I first tried silver dust because I was looking for some other way to add silver to my beads besides wire, mesh or foil. Silver dust can be bought, but I made my own by taking a rough file to a piece of silver sheet and making a little pile on my marver. I was going to use fine silver, but I didn't have any fine sheet or bezel wire. The only fine silver I have is 28g wire. Too fine to file. I suppose I could have cut it up into tiny chips - another style idea. But the only silver sheet I had on hand was sterling, so that's what I used.

After making a Kronos base bead, I rolled it in the dust like I would with frit or enamel powder. I used a Kronos stringer to twist the line of dust into swirls. Then I reduced and encased with clear.

Here's another set I made for the same order. These are Double Helix odd lot TE-362 and Vetrofond Odd Olive, encased with clear:TE-362 and Odd OliveTE-362 and Odd OliveThe customer wanted them to be 15mm, and the sizes to be uniform. I was very happy I managed to make most of them 15.5mm, with some at about 16mm. Whew! :-D

I keep a brass micrometer - or whatever you call those things, that we use to measure bead sizes - beside my torch, opened up to 15mm or whatever size I'm working on. Since it's brass I can put the hot/warm bead right between the brass openings and get an accurate measurement as I'm making it.
Do you have a way of measuring bead sizes while you're at the torch, or what methods do you use to make your beads come out all the same size?

6 comments:

Narrative jewelry said...

Your beads are gorgeous ! I just discovered you blog today, incredibly interesting. Thanks to share.
Thanks too for the idea of what we call in France, a "pied à coulisse", to measure beads size while we are at the torch.
I have a question about reducing the oxygen when working with Double Helix, would you please be king to help me ?

xox

Gardanne said...

Beautiful work, and thank you for sharing. I put silver on everything, so any new silver technique is welcome.
I will be filing silver this weekend. I have added you to my blog roll.

Karolen said...

Hi Narrative, I'm glad to hear that there is a French phrase for measuring beads at the torch. I will use it to impress people at torch demos and sound like a real artist. "First we marver our pontil then apply pied a coulisse." So fancy!
I'm happy to help with reducing Double Helix. I turn down my oxygen valve so the yellow cone of the flame is about 2 inches long. I wave the beads back and forth about an inch above the tip of the yellow cone, for 5-15 seconds. This is just a guide... some days I find it works better with a shorter or longer cone, or more or less time waving it in the reducing flame. I don't know why. The phase of the moon I guess! Feel free to ask me more questions, my email is beads [at] beadabundant.com

Karolen said...

Gardanne, thank you! I hope you have luck with the silver filings. You can see on the beads that the silver turned a little yellow... this may be the Aether clear and how it reacts with silver. Or, it could be the fact that I used sterling. I wonder how it would look with fine silver filings.

Gardanne and Narrative, I'm glad you found my blog! :)

niveditha said...

i just love those blue beads,they are gorgeous!! waiting for more beads :)

Dave Kimmel said...

It looks very sophisticated when a woman wears those beads. Sterling Silver Number Charms look so fabulous as well; they will surely become a head turner with those accessories.