Yes, they’re silver filings on my studio bench, the result of hard work and time cutting back the rough exterior of several sterling silver cuttlefish casts. I’ve been busy preparing for my next Open Studio on the 4th & 5th October from 10am – 5pm. I’m opening my studio together with the Mornington Peninsula Studio Trail, a group of artists that open their studios to the public each year.
Please feel welcome to visit my studio in McCrae where you will see many of my beautiful pendants, necklaces, rings and earrings. Over the weekend you can learn about the processes I use to make my stunning and distinctive works of art and see demonstrations of different techniques including cuttlefish casting on the Sunday afternoon.
Expect to fill your senses with the touch of cuttlefish, the smell of gas, the heat, and the noise of the torch. After a simple cast I can be soaking in perspiration despite wearing protective clothing including leather gloves and a leather apron made for me by a friend who witnessed the casting and immediately came to the rescue with the protective apron.
it really is very simple technique… I start by cutting the cuttlefish in half, then I carve out a basic design, join the two cuttlefish halves together with binding wire, before heating the silver in a crucible and pouring it gently into the cast.
It’s adrenalin pumping the process of filing your cuttlefish mould. There’s the noise of the gas torch that is almost like a jet engine, the sweat that pours from my body, as it can take quite awhile to melt the silver or gold, and the moment when your nervously holding the crucible of molten metal and pouring it carefully into your cuttlefish. I admit there have been a few misses, and with an audience on Sunday my hands are more likely to tremble than ever before.”
The result is a very rough cast. At this stage I take the piece to my studio bench and spend many hours cutting back the very rough finish. I start with files and then move on to various grades of emery paper. The last stage is polishing with a tripoli and then a rouge compound to produce the final stunning quality works of art, that you see for sale in my Etsy shop and in my studio on the weekend.
My rings and pendants demonstrate a very modern approach to an ancient technique, representing both a primitive and personal response to the environment. It is no coincidence that these pieces are representative of the sea and its sands and objects that can be found on its shores.
The Peninsula Studio Trail of which I a member and recently elected President was established in 2009 as an artist’s initiative. It is a diverse and gifted group of 25 artists specializing in a range of mediums including ceramics, painting and printmaking, photography, gold and silversmithing and glass art. Many of the artists are happy to show the techniques they use that make their art so special over the weekend. Artist’s studios are open from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday 1st & 2nd March. See http://www.peninsulastudiotrail.org for more information on the artists that are participating this weekend.
My studio is located at 69 Cinerama Crescent McCrae and will be open from 10 – 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Despite the heat wave that is blasting Melbourne, rest assured a glorious market day of 25 degrees can be had this weekend at the Portsea Market, Point Nepean National Park. You will find me at site 52 with a beautiful sea view (just like my studio).
Today I’ve been busy etching and cleaning beads to arrange into a few more earrings and pendants to tempt you on Sunday.
I am also pleased to announce that I can offer PayPal payments and Credit card processing to make sure you don’t miss out, though I always prefer cash.
I’ve been busy preparing many new more earrings ‘brilliant baubles’ for you at my Open Studio this weekend. This photo shows me as I completed a hot glass bead on the weekend. The glasses are smoke gray safety frames that allow me to see and work with the bead without the orange flame.
These beautiful sterling silver rings I made using the ancient technique of cuttlefish casting will also be available for sale with my brilliant earrings in my Open Studio on the 7th & 8th December from 11am – 5pm. See my previous post Brilliant Baubles for Christmas for all my Open Studio details.
As you can see I’ve made substantial progress in my studio since the post about painting the floor, which I must add looks absolutely sensational now that it has been finished. The benches and other furniture are in position so there’s almost no excuse to start creating in this beautiful place. I just need to install a few floating shelves and give the table a coat of fresh paint before I’m ready to open the doors so that you can buy my jewellery directly from me in my studio.
I have sensational views of Port Phillip Bay and Arthur’s Seat State Park from both benches in my studio. The garden around the studio is also looking beautiful in full spring bloom. I was enchanted by the studio and the garden when I moved here in late May, I hope it will be a similar experience for you when I open my door for the first time in October. I will host my first open weekend in October where you will be able to see how and where all my beautiful rings, earrings, pendants and necklaces are produced, please click on the Gallery link above for a display of past and present work.
Both the photos above show my two separate benches, one for making the gold and silver jewellery and the findings used to mount my lampworked beads, and the other close to the photographer for making the lamp worked glass beads. I’m just missing the obligatory bottle of oxygen to start the torch again.
My studio will be open regularly from October, when I look forward to making you all feel very welcome. If you need further information please click on the Contact link and send me an email.