Friday, 12 December 2008

Credit crunch? What credit crunch?

We're so busy here at SilverClay - the last two months has been absolutely manic. We can't keep up at all, and has run out of clay twice since half-way through November.

I think this is surprising considering the disastrous news we've been hit with recently. People losing their jobs, businesses failing, the pound absolutely crashing against the dollar and Euro, and other depressing things.

It seems like people turn to things like craft and art when things are tough. Maybe, when it seems completely out of reach to think about a new job, new house, or new car, a nice piece of jewellery is a perfect treat. Something that makes you feel special. A lot of our customers who make commissions and fingerprint jewellery have been inundated with orders before Christmas. People want to treat themselves to "real things", handmade things. Great news I think!

Long may it continue. (Not the credit crunch of course.)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

You're probably a goldsmith. Without knowing.

This snippet of text from the Jewelry Artist Newsletter reminded me of a discussion I had quite a while ago, where I was trying to convince someone that they were actually a GOLDsmith - not a silversmith. It was quite amusing, and pretty confusing.

I'm sure you'll find this interesting, I was very surprised when I first heard this. But I still don't feel comfortable calling myself a goldsmith...

"Goldsmith or Silversmith?

This is a test. It is only a test. I am often amused at what people say they are when describing the kind of jewelry they make. Consider this:

You’ve never touched gold (except at the jewelry store), never intend to, and you fabricate all of your jewelry pieces out of copper and brass sheet. What are you? A goldsmith.

You fabricate all of your jewelry pieces out of sterling silver and gemstones. What are you? A goldsmith.

You fabricate all of your jewelry pieces out of platinum, or mokumé gané, shibuichi, niobium, keum-boo, stainless steel, rusted old car parts, aluminum, or titanium or all of the above. What are you? A goldsmith.

You make large, hollowform serving pieces and tableware and objects of art out of sterling silver, by raising, sinking, shell forming, and large scale fabrication. What are you? A silversmith.

In metalsmithing, object scale and function describe the smith, not the type of metal they use. So, if you fabricate jewelry out of metal, you are not a silversmith, you are a goldsmith, loud and proud."

Monday, 1 December 2008

Can I fire fine silver findings with a torch?

Yes, absolutely. When it comes to metal clay and findings, the main benefit of using fine silver findings over sterling is that they don't oxidise when fired at high temperatures.

This means you don't have to worry about firescale, which would turn the finding black and could also cause adherence problem. A few people have told me they're worried they might melt the finding - don't worry, if you heat the piece enough to melt the fine silver finding, you will also have melted your silver clay piece into a blob!