Oscarcrow's Page on FaceBook

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Reproducing an Angel

This little ceramic piece came to me from Germany. It seems to be the mock up  for a holy water font. I like to reproduce and then recreate new pieces from such examples. In this case the first step is to make a mold from mold putty. I am using Alumilite brand. You use equal parts of the two colors and mix them together in your hands for 1.5 minutes until the color is uniform. Then you can mold the putty over the original and let it set for at least 30 minutes.

The top was what I wanted to reproduce this time and so it is covered in the putty and left to cure.
Here is the mold ready for the next step...it could be a cast in Ice Resin with Bronze Coloring or perhaps a cast with liquid clay or slip...or perhaps just plaster of paris so I can refine the form. Next time I will show each of these and more.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Studio in a box

When photographing jewelry one of the best ways is to make a studio box..or light tent. It can be as simple as a cardboard box with the sides cut out.

Cover the back,top and bottom with white paper, tape or spray glue works well. Here the side openings are shown and the back has white paper taped in.

Next a back ground sweep is created with a piece of charcoal paper taped at the top and allowed to curve. You could tape the front edge to the box flap or leave it loose.  Add two pieces of tracing paper or thin nylon cloth over the side openings. Place a light fixture like a desk lamp with a flexible goose neck on each side with a CFL lamp daylight balanced on each side. and you are ready to shoot.

This is shot in this box.  My light source is a bit larger as is the light tent itself....this box construction was shot inside my light tent. And I used my lighting to light the ring through the sides of the box.

This is my studio box 40 inches wide and tall, with two umbrellas reflecting light into the interior. You can see an extra light for sparkle on the right side. It is hand held with a clear glass bulb inside.

With the lights turned on the inside seems to glow.

This setup came from Amazon most of it is Cowboy Studio brand and is overkill for small pieces. The light bulbs are 100 watt CFL's in daylight color. For a box under 36 inches one light on each side is sufficient.

This set up is available http://www.amazon.com/Table-studio-lighting-5000K-daylight/dp/B002PNEDFS/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1364139818&sr=1-10&keywords=light+box+photography and would be ready to go out of the box.  I use a tripod always and always a remote release. If you shoot with a simple point and shoot camera a tripod and turning off the flash will be best. The result from the shot taken in the box is identical to what you would get with a more sophisticated light box, but you need to use a gray background if you can not adjust the settings in your camera. A white background is often seen in some jewelry shots but it requires adding 2 f-stops of light to the base exposure or in the case of compact cameras use the "snow scene" setting. The idea behind this whole project is to provide even clean shadowless illumination to reveal the details of your jewelry. There are many other setups that can work but this is easy, repeatable and not dependent on weather or time of day.
The bigger the box the more room there is for props and for reaching in to set up the shot. I shoot ceramics and jewelry and some days shoot 125 pieces. Having the box setup works for me. This is just an overview....ask questions about specific setups and I can do my best to help out.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lace and skulls

This project began with a neck plate and some old lace. I punched a few holes along the bottom and then sprayed a section of the lace with adhesive. After it set up for a minute I pressed the metal onto the lace and adjusted the pattern.

After drying overnight the lace was sprayed with glossy lacquer which helps set the adhesion and seal the finish on the rusty black metal. The edges were then trimmed.

The next component is an acrylic flower in black and a smaller one in red with a silver headpin to hold it all together.

To help the flowers sit properly I filed the bases flat.

 No need to explain this...shove the headpin through the flowers and add a drop of glue to the black flowers base.
Holes punched through the metal take the headpin and then wrap the wire over the back and around the base of the flower. Trim the left over end close to the base and tuck in the end.

This is what the back looks like with the wire coming out of the hole and over the top.

First one is mounted and now the second is ready with a drop of E-6000 on the base.

With all three mounted it is time to add the skulls.

Start with a headpin and  the looping pliers.

Make a loop about half way.

Push the wire through the neck plate and finish the wrap here. Do the same for the smaller heads and finish off the whole piece with a black chain.

Here is the finished piece.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Simple Assembly..the quick approach

Digging through the rubble in my work bench I came across these similar colored pieces. And a vintage glass stone that fits the mount. I like the simple approach..a rivet and a little glue.

The first step is to locate and punch a hole for the rivet. I like to have the back of the piece to look good. so it will be the front of the drop.

After punching the hole for the rivet the next thing is to roll the top of the drop toward the back with bail making pliers

Here is the result. A nicely formed bail. Next rivet the mount to the drop with a small rivet.

You can see a little additional work needs to be done with a punch to flatten the rivet. Then a little E-6000 to set the stone. I used a 20 inch length of silver chain and darkened it to match the setting by dipping the chain in Swellegant Darkening Patina.

Here is the result...15 minutes , a rivet and a drop of glue and you can have a nice Victorian looking necklace.  A materials list includes the setting http://vintagejewelrysupplies.com/4324-filigree-edge-18x13mm-octagon-setting-oxidized-silver-.html    And the filigree http://vintagejewelrysupplies.com/4215-the-ultimate-filigree-pendants-oxidized-silver-55mm-.html

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fold Forming a Star and Shield Pendant

The small shield shaped cabochon was made last year and surfaced in my bench this weekend. I decided to make a fold formed base to hold the cab. First step is to trace around the cab with a sharpie onto the background metal.

I love the balance of the six pointed star and so chose this as my form to fold. Using a straight edge to trace parallel lines on either side of the center is the first step. Even though I started symmetrical you will see how it is easy to get somewhat different results during the bending.

I folded this first bend over the edge of my bench block and then folded it flat and confirmed the fold by hammering along the fold. This work hardens the line so it will show up on the face of the piece later.

You can see how the very edge was hammered tight and in order to make the next fold a flat metal chisel is forced into the fold to help open it up.

The second parallel fold is hammered then the piece is annealed with a torch to soften the metal to make unfolding possible.

The two folds are lined up fine and it is time to bend the other four folds,two at a time. I put the square edge into my vise up to the line and pound over the metal and beat along the seam to harden or confirm the line fold.

This is the result after annealing and before fully flattening the metal. One more time it is to be folded diagonally this time and the same process to confirm, anneal and unfold.

Here the cab is positioned to show the piece still fits. within the design.

I then cut out the star shape leaving the folds as the edge. I used the jewelers saw for this.

Because i wanted to continue the riveted theme from the center piece onto the star, I traced the points of the star to cut out contrasting metals that matched the cab.

The triangle pieces were riveted to the metal one at a time after cutting them from the sheet with shears.

This shows the pieces in place. I used E-6000 glue to hold the points in place for punching the holes and riveting.

I wanted to attach the cab to the center with a dog ear finding. So it was traced onto copper sheet and cut out.

The jewelers saw makes quick work of cutting out the shape.

Here the cup is riveted into place. The piece was then polished,sanded and buffed to give texture and surface detail. And the cab was placed in the center and the tabs folded over to hold it.

Here is the completed piece.  https://www.etsy.com/listing/125377924/hand-crafted-mixed-metal-pendant-star    It is for sale at my etsy shop Oscarcrow.