Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Winter Branches Earrings -- Handcrafted Sterling Silver

Several months ago, I came across a photo of a piece of fabric that instantly appealed to me. It brought to my mind an image of bare branches in the wintertime. Inspired by that image in my mind, I decided to sit down with some sterling silver wire to see what I could create. Yesterday, I finished my third pair. Each pair has taken its inspiration from that piece of fabric and the image that came to my mind. Each pair is unique. I have loved making each pair.

I take the sterling silver wire and start cutting branches, being careful to cut each branch twice, so that each earring in a pair turns out to be the same size. I hammer the ends to get a pleasing shape and then I sit down and start putting them together in such a way that they mimic the branches of a tree. Once I have them in the right place, I start soldering the branches together, stopping now and then to pickle them as I continue to solder. When all the branches are soldered and the earrings are out of the pickle pot, I start working on the details. I hammer a texture in the end of the branches, clean up any excess solder with my trusty dremel, then I add texture to the limbs with another dremel attachment.

The next step is to shape the branches carefully again, and put them in the tumbler for several hours to harden. When they are fully hardened, I pass them quickly through some liver of sulphur to oxidize them slightly, and polish them by hand to a rich gleam.

Making these earrings is incredibly time consuming. If I were to charge my full rate for the amount of time I spend on them, they would be beyond most people's budget. Truth be told, I love making them so much that I don't mind "wasting" my time in such a wonderfully creative and satisfying way. An image inspired by a photo, some silver wire, and lots of time: in the end, they are absolutely worth it to me.

1 comment:

Dancing Monkey Jewelry said...

I love those earrings - you did a fantastic job on them. They're very organic and elegant.