Grown up steampunk jewellery

Steampunk is in danger of becoming a cliché.

Of course there are wonderful makers out there doing amazingly original things but for the majority the steampunk aesthetic can be summed up thus: It is steampunk because it has a cog on it; it has a cog on it because it is steampunk. Cog-ito ergo steampunk.

This often frustrates me but I do sometimes succumb to the lure of a sweet little cog and I do love old watch movements…and so I too am guilty of making jewellery with cogs in.

This was my first such piece; a lovely deep cut rock crystal whose lower arc happened to be the perfect match for the edge of a watch movement I had in my collection.

13211075_10154123056371774_390161108_o

Deep, rose cut quartz cabochon set in silver with steel and brass watch parts.

I do hope that you will see these as grown-up steampunk jewellery. They are not made of brass-coloured, pre-made elements wired together, but of silver. The cogs are carefully chosen and set almost discretely behind gemstone cabochons. In their turn the gemstones are chosen for their cut and even for their characterful flaws.

img_9676

Steampunk Industrial ring in hammered and oxidised silver, set with a rose cut quartz and watch parts.

The ring above  is set with part of a watch movement and oxidised. The oxidisation was done with liver of sulphur which makes up for its nasty smell at the time of using by turning silver first ochre and then russet before going an oily bluey greenish colour. The colours are subtle and as this ring is worn they will change, weather and develop character. The rose cut stone brings out the intricacy of the watch movement even as the facets split its image, making it hard to pin down.

13225097_10154123056601774_1590391211_o

Finally these are part of a collection of tie or lapel pins simply set with a labradorite, a cog and amethyst and, finaly, a star sapphire. I also have pins set with glass taxidermy eyes but they are surprisingly expensive.

Thank you to my friend Mark  Todd for taking the first and last of these pictures for me.

Two Rings

My family has always had a passing interest in rocks, geology and minerals. I bought myself loose stones long before I ever learned to silversmith, with the vague idea that one day I would do something with them and in the meantime they don’t take up much space.

Now my family occasionally buy stones and get me to set them…

Star ruby in hammered silver ring

The one above is a star ruby my father bought for my mother for their ruby wedding anniversary and then promptly lost in the bottom of a purse for several years. I made the band of silver because gold prices have been ridiculous since the recession and did the ring around the bezel in gold because the stone wanted to be near gold. It’s not perfect but then I like a slightly rustic look for a slightly rustic stone!

Medieval-style citrine and silver ring

This one is a citrine my brother bought himself (set against a chunk of something volcanic from Iceland). Again the setting is hammered silver.

Flowers for a Friend

100_3625

A friend of mine asked me to do a sunny, happy picture for the room where she does positivity training and life coaching. I prefer slightly gloomy, wistful scenes (more of which later) so this was a bit of a challenge for me but she was adamant the flowers couldn’t be dying (not even ever so slightly!) so I decided to give it a go in oils.

Because I saw it as just a bit of fun I completed it in three sittings and used bright, opaque pigments. At the end of session two I stood back, quite pleased and then realised I had made a perfectly adequate advert for sunflower spread. The slightly abstract swirl into the blue sky that I had intended to express freedom and sunshine now looked suspiciously like margarine.

For session three I added some hints of brown into the petals (purely to stop it looking like an advert and nothing to do with my need to paint decay, honest gov!)
My friend was delighted though, so all’s well.