I received some fantastic news recently… I have been selected as a winner of the Goldsmith’s Silver Bullion Grant!
This is an award which presents the selected silversmithing BA student with £400 of silver bullion to create a piece of ceremonial or domestic silverware, alongside a 10 year registration with the London Assay Office for their hallmarking services.
I am so excited to have been given this amount of silver to work with, as it provides me with all the materials needed to create two silver pieces as part of my final degree show collection.
A few weeks ago, I completed a second casting in silver, leaving me with this little collection of silver bark pieces to work with:
Each piece is of different thicknesses and weights so I will need to carefully consider where each piece will be placed when constructing the final pieces. They will need to balance and stand upright on their own, so this is a very important aspect to consider.
This week, I made a start on the silver sheet. I treated this in the same way that I treated the copper sheet in my Beaulieu collection, using a mixture of texturing techniques, including rolling and hammering in wire, using cutters on a dremel and engraving.
I decided to be brave this week and just delve straight into constructing the first silver piece. As I had already found an effective way to construct each component from my previous experimentation and my last finished pieces, I thought I would have enough knowledge to just go for it!
Turns out, things are never as straight forwards as you want them to be! After wrestling with these first two pieces and precariously balancing them in place with the help of a third hand (absolute MUST HAVE bench tool!) and some binding wire I finally secured them in place with a small solder join.
The next step was to secure the two pieces in place with a third piece of bark! This is a much thicker piece of silver, so it took much longer to heat and I had to take lots of care that any previous joins were protected!
Between each solder, there was usually a small amount of cleaning to be done. I found that the most effective method of soldering these pieces together was to stick solder, however, this often leaves excess puddles of solder on the surface of my metal, so I had to file these down and clean them up as I went.
I basically then just repeat these steps, adding a new component each time until I feel happy with the shape. This is how it turned out:
I think I may go back in and add a few more pieces, but I am really loving the profile of this piece! For the second one, I would like to experiment with combining silver plate and bronze bark, to explore the contrasting aesthetics it may have.
It feels so nice to have the chance to experiment with more precious materials and not be too worried about messing it up… I always get really nervous when I know I am holding something that I have spent my own money on!
I am so thankful to Goldsmith’s for this bursary award and I can’t wait to get the pieces finished in time for the grad show so that they can be displayed in all their glory!