Category Archives: Works in Progress

Stormy day Musings/First post of 2014!

Happy New Year Everyone!

As I work on this draft, we are getting ready for a gale here on the coast of Washington State. It is just getting light outside, the yellow dot- to- dot of deck lights from the crabbing fleet glow across the horizon. In the relative calm before the storm I took  photos out on the beach of a new cuff bracelet , stepping back as the tide washed up around my feet…

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This cuff represents many different processes-from etching the copper with a design, to forming  it into a bracelet, adding silver rivets and soldering bezels for the stones, and applying patina until the desired color/s is obtained. The rest of the post will be about the technical steps that relate to each part of the process, with pictures in progress and of the finished pieces.

Step One: Etching

Before the etching,  a  thin layer of fine silver was fused to one side of a piece of 20 gauge copper. After that I applied a resist to the copper side.  Everything that is not covered by the resist is exposed and will be etched away in an acid bath. Even though this solution does not etch silver, it was covered with duct tape to keep it from darkening.

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The first photos show my low tech etching station. When the weather is warm, I set up a table in the garage with the door open for ventilation. I mix a solution of Ferric Chloride with distilled water in a plastic container (yellow colored solution). Essential supplies include rubber gloves, safety glasses, duct tape, wooden tongs and baking soda for neutralizing acid.

As an aside I should mention that when I was a student at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, my on campus job was in the printmaking lab. I loved the etching process and did a lot of photo etching of Barbie dolls in those days, printing them on alternative materials like canvas, wood veneer, leather and more, ultimately using the copper etching plates in sculptures.

The next photo shows a detail shot of a future cuff in progress. I took it out of the acid bath to check how quickly the metal was being eroded. The design being etched is a Japanese textile pattern. It was photo copied onto a special contact paper made for circuit boards called PNP paper,  then transferred to the copper with heat and pressure. The blue color is the PNP transfer which forms a resist against the acid. Everything that does not have the resist (blue ) on it will be etched. After examining it I decided to immerse it for a longer time to get a deeper etch. I would estimate the total time for this was about an hour plus…

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The second photo shows two etchings with different designs. They are taped to foam core board which allows them to float (upside down) in the acid. Note: you will see how each of these pieces looks as a finished piece of jewelry if you continue to read this post!

After the desired depth of etch has occurred, the resist is removed with acetone. I love this part of the process (no not because of the chemicals, Marcy Merrill a.k.a. Silver Nitrate Queen)   because you get to see what it’s going to look like!

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When the etching is completed the forming begins…

My friend Jeffro set me up with this handy vice stand, made from a salvaged tree stump found on the beach. The steel forming stake that is clamped in the vice was made by Bill Dawson of Mud Bay, WA. The cuff will be given it’s shape by a process of hammering it around the stake until the top and bottom edges start to flare out. It is called anticlastic forming.

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After the cuff has been formed and filed, stones or rivets (or both) can be added…

026 22KT gold rivets and bezel for moonstone are added.

What follows after the bezels, rivets or other accents are applied is the patina process. Patina is the darkening or coloring of metal due to exposure to chemicals or the elements. I have been studying Japanese patina formulas and applications. More about this in a future post.

Here are the two cuff in a finished state:

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Gauntlet cuff– copper, silver, 22 kt gold with abalone and a moonstone that was found on a local beach (Thanks Ann)

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Satori Cuff– with diamond and 22KT gold rivets.Photos by Marcy Merrill

Photo Gallery: Etched cuffs

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These cuffs are made with sterling  silver that was etched in Ferric Nitrate. They have an abstract/ organic texture the result of applying traditional asphaltum resists in a free hand manner. The top two photos feature a large moonstone found on the beach. This cuff was made for the beachcombers (and friends) who found the stone.

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Rain Cuff-etched silver with Ellensburg Blue agate, custom cut grey moonstones and 18kt gold. This was a custom piece for Chris of Vancouver, BC. who sent the gemstones to me for the project.

 

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Japanese textile -etched cuff with coral, mother of pearl, 18kt gold

Hopefully this post has shed a bit more light on some of the processes and creative surprises involved in the making of jewelry.  Looking forward  to the projects and adventures of this coming year-and sharing with you!

PS: I just discovered this Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Connections/Magic feature. It is a four minute slideshow with Marco Leona talking about science, art and magic-the alchemy of creative experimentation.  The art images that accompany it are great. Here is a link:   http://www.metmuseum.org/connections/magic#/Feature/

Best Wishes for 2014~

Studio Time/Be-ing/Becoming

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It has been a few weeks since my last post. I have been working on designs that take much longer to realize, as they are based on ancient metal working techniques. The key word here is Process. Working in the long, pre- summer evenings, enjoying the endless shadows stretched across the tide flats outside my studio window, I savor the opportunity to slow down. To practice patience. Knowing that I won’t have a finished piece to to show for my time this evening- but I will have made progress in forming the metal that will eventually be part of something beautiful. Be-ing Becoming….

046013017009Step 1. It begins by the melting of silver scraps and casting into an ingot. Step 2. Twist in vise

Step 3. roll ridges down between two rocks, Step 4. hammer into rounded, tapering pieces.

Step Forever: anneal and repeat- repeat- repeat!

After A LOT of rolling, twisting, smoothing between rocks, the ingot becomes longer, eventually forming a taper at both ends…This is where surrendering to the process comes into play~

The tapered piece of silver is now ready to be formed into a ring shank or earrings….

Here’s to the beginning of Summer~may it be a wild and magical one!

Solstice Collection

bluemoon ringgreen ringancient hoops smallsolistice shoreline

blue banglesolstice ring marble

aqua22kt aqua necklacesolstice blue3 rings

stirrup hoops

 

 

 

Salt Water Jewelry

A beautiful, clear sky this morning in Tokeland. Days like this are too rare for studio work.or computer time…but before I head off for the beach, I would like to share a few very recent pieces of new work with you.

 

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All of these are made with sea glass found in the UK. The shapes of the glass are used ” as found”.That means, no reshaping of the sea glass has been done. That makes finding a piece that is suitable for jewelry and has a unique shape a real score!

I love heart shapes.In this pendant, a tiny pale green heart is surrounded with textural silver layers and a rich pink sapphire dangle.

The burgundy red sea glass in the ring is set in 18KT gold, with a small diamond sparkling off to one side.The shape of the sea glass is suggestive of a heart (maybe it’s the color) or a shield- is there a metaphor there?

IMG_6375   Salt Water earrings: I could see  Aceta, the Nereid of the Shore in ancient Greek mythology taking these earrings off and leaving them on a rock to go for a swim….especially on a day like today.

May your day be full of wonder!