Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Silversmithing (pt4)

Well the box is finally finished, all that remained to do was filing all the surfaces to remove fire stain (copper that moves to the surface of the silver during heating, Sterling silver is 925 parts silver, 75 part copper) and sanding with fine grades of wet and dry paper. I di not use a polishing wheel as this would have rounded off the edge  causing the loss of the nice sharp look.

The box will now be sent off to be hallmarked in Birmingham. The raw materials to make it cost about £130 so I imagine if I were going to sell it (I am not!) it would be at least £400 given that 25 hrs work went into it.

I would recommend the course to anyone, our tutor Linda Robertson was fantastic, really patient and as you can see from her website really talented. Central St Martins is also an amazing place to do the course, the facilities are absolutely first rate. It also helped to be in such a great class everyone was so friendly and we all helped each other out.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Silversmithing (pt3)

The first job I had to do on my box this week was to check the alignment of the bezel and to file a small mitre around the top of the box section. The mitre allows the solder to flow around the gap between the box and the bezel without it forming a raised seam on the top of the joint.
Once the bezel had been soldered in place I had to carefully rmove any solder residue (the brown stained areas in the picture), once this was done I again check alignments and the fit of the lid. When I was happy with everything I could start sawing off the excess silver, while being careful not to damage the box.
Once all the silver had been removed the lid was place back on the box and I could begin filing. The lid remains on the box while it is filed as the filing action closes the gap between the lid and the body, it also insures that the box will appear as one piece.

All that now remains to be done is to finish the filing and to polish the box.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Silversmithing Course (PT2)

The next stage of the project was to solder the ends onto the body of the box. Both ends wee soldered then the top was cut off with a piercing saw

 One the sections had been perfectly alined by filing the bezel needed to be fitted. It was shaped on a forming mandrel to form a perfect fit inside the box. 
 Once it was sized it could then be soldered together.

 The next step will be soldering into the box.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Silver Smithing course

 As some of you will know I have just started on a course in Silver Smithing at Central St Martins or the London University of the Arts as it seems to like to call itself these days. The course is designed to teach techniques that can be applied across all types of silver work.

The first project is to reproduce this, a silver box designed by the course tutor Linda. To make it require accurate measuring, cutting, forming by bending and soldering.

The first stage was to cut the blanks and to form the shape of the box using a mandrel. once this was done, checked, double checked it was prepared for soldering. To do this we raised 'Stiches' (small raised nicks of metal) in the flat piece of metal to hold the sides in place during heating.
Sections of the main body pre soldering

Once this was done we could apply Flux and cut solder pieces to the joint and heat the piece until the solder formed the joint

The piece was then cleaned in pickle (dilute Sulphuric acid) and remeasured. the Excess Silver was then swan off and the edges filed.
Soldered body and cut pieces at the end of day one
The piece is now ready for the next stage when the top and base of the box will be soldered on

Monday, 16 September 2013

Copper Bowl

I had a bit of a frustrating day at work today so to de-stress I thought I would have a practice at Copper smithing. I have signed up for a course at Central St Martins in London starting in October to learn basic Silver smithing so I thought some practice on Copper was a good idea.

Copper Bowl
The bowl is about 8" across and roughly 2" deep. Copper is a lovely metal to work with, but these days it is not cheap. Once I get a bit more experience I intend to make a large Copper platter maybe 18" across.
I have also got some idea's for some silver bowls and dishes but I want a bit more experience before I tackle them.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Copper Bangle

I made this Copper Bangle this evening as an experiment. I used a combination of line and T folds to texture the metal and then Liver of Sulphur to add a patina. I am very pleased with the results so hopefully I will have some for sale before to long.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fold Formed Brass Flower

Fold formed Brass Flower
I was playing around with some Fold forming techniques last night and made this brass flower. I am using these techniques in some silverwork/Jewellery I am designing at the moment, it is cheaper to practice in brass. I am also working in copper which also allows me to combine Foldforms with enamel, hopefully I will have some designs on here before long.

I also plan to use these techniques to make some large sculptures for the garden, but I will need to scale things up a bit for that.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Busy weekend

I spent most of the weekend in the Studio working on a new range of jewellery based on natural shapes, getting it ready to send off to be assayed and hallmarked. I t should be back in a couple of weeks when I will put it on the site, so watch this space. I am really excited about it, I think it is some of my best work to date

The next major job is to get every thing ready for the Ely Art Society summer exhibition which runs from 5th August. Everything needs framing or in the case of the cards.. printing!
Hopefully it will all be ready on time.

Sunday, 30 June 2013


 These are the first items of jewellery to carry my hallmark. I made them to a design that Sharron suggested from Sterling silver and Walnut veneer. The Bangle weighs several ounces and the pendant is about an inch by 2 inches. I gave them to Sharron today when I met up with her in Cambridge today.

I also gave Sharron this pair of Emerald earstuds  whih I made up for her. They are also sterling silver but to small to hallmark.

If anyone would like me to make them silver jewellery please contact me, I am happy to discuss custom designs. I am also starting to create a selection of items as stock and will post pictures as I go.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Open Studio

On Saturday 29th June I am opening up the studio to visitors in the afternoon. This is going to be part of the village feast week activities and will coincide with the Cream Tea event at Fullards Farm opposite.

As well as prints, cards and original artworks for sale you will be able to see some of the silverwork I have been making

The address is:

The Willows
South St
PE28 3BW

Monday, 17 June 2013

Studio clean up and new projects.

I decided over the weekend that the studio needed a tidy up and as you can see I am nearly there, I just need to find somewhere to put my tripods and I will be happy.

This radical move had to happen for 2 reasons, firstly during the summer Bbq season the studio doubles as the garden bar. The second is that I am reviving a hobby from my distant past, jewellery making and silver work. As you may have seen on facebook I have applied for my own hallmark (something I have always wanted) and intend to make small pieces of jewellery as well as using silver in my sculpture work. I am currently working on a set of jewellery for Sharron combining silver and wood.

A benefit from this has been buying an oxy/gas torch for soldering etc, it has added another skill to my collection... welding. I have manged to fix one of our garden chairs that had rusted through, I am very pleased with myself.

Saturday, 8 June 2013


I made this fish sculpture which is again inspired by a piece by Alexander Calder to sell at the Ely Art Exhibition in the summer. But having hung it up I like it so much I am going to keep it. When the sun catches the brass discs it looks amazing
It's made from Aluminium rods, Brass discs and iron wire so it should be weather proof.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Wireman and his Dog

In the 1920's the great American sculptor Alexander Calder produced a series of works made from wire. As a great fan of his work I thought I should give it a go. So I present 'Wireman and his Dog. I have photographed him against a light box but in sunlight he casts a fantastic shadow.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Form 1 Carved Oak

This is the first of the sculptures I am creating to sell at the Ely Art Society in August. It is carved from a piece of recycled Oak that I obtained.  I was inspired by the grain of the wood and the effect of light on it's surface, the holes create dark voids within the piece and allow light to pass through the piece breaking up it's own shadow.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Linocut Preparation video 1

 I am just starting work on a new Linocut . I thought it would be fun to make a time-lapse video of the prep work, inking in the pencil drawing the image on the block. This video shows about an hours work and the block isn't anywhere near finished. I will insert more videos as I move through the process.

 Hope you enjoy this, I like watching the tea disappear :-)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Friday blues

Strange day today. I have had the day off work to catch up with things. I picked up a couple of prints I have had framed this morning neither of them by me. One is a stunning linocut by James Dodds, an amazing artist from Essex, the other a set of 5 wood engravings by Eric Gill printed in 1929. I also dropped off a couple of mounted prints for the gallery to try and sell.

When I got back I thought I would go out to the studio and try and do some work. Try as I might I can't settle to do anything, I am afraid the dreaded 'Black dog' is upon me again, I have been in bad depression for weeks now, everytime I think I am coming out of it, it gets me again.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Target art

I am taking part in an art project being organised by the International Union Of Mail Artists (IUOMA) to produce artwork using targets found in a house in Texas. The idea is that members decorate them and return them to be exhibited. If you are interested in IUOMA there is a link to them on the side of the page.

 This is the used target that I received last week
 And my draft drawing for the print I want to use sketched out on the lino block
 Starting cutting
 Snug in the studio while it's snowing outside
 After about a days work the block is ready for printing, I now have to mix the shade of blue I want for the print.
The finished print on the target, I am going to add a little watercolour when it is day. I am then going to add a poem that our niece Bex is going to write specially for the piece.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Framed version of Poppies

Here is the final framed version of Poppies. I am going to try and get it into a local gallery for sale in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


I have been looking at prints made by Edward Bawden and artwork by Eric Ravilious and Paul Nash in the last few weeks. This has inspired me to try and produce something in their style. I also wanted to experiment with a small (A4) landscape as I am planning a much larger print in the future. This print was also fun as I wanted to blend my own colour from dry pigments allowing me to get the exact colour I wanted, however being red/green colour blind it may not be the same colour you see.
Drawing sketched out on Lino block prior to cutting
Lino block during cutting. I use wood carving chisels to cut the image as these produce a much more defined cut than Lino cut tools
I mix the colour I want from raw pigments, I have to remember to mix up enough colour for an entire print run to ensure consistancy.

Applying colour to the block. I roll the blended pigments with clear extender ink on a glass plate.

Block and paper are placed in the press.

First test print
The final print will take a few days to dry. Once it has dried I am going to experiment with handcolouring the petals on he poppies.
I will then mount and frame them.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Owl Linocut Pt 2

 The next stage in the Owl Lino cut is to start cutting out the image. Having marked up the block you need to remove the bits that will remain white on the print. I use woodcutting gouges for removing the lino, they must be kept razor sharp to prevent tearing the lino, to keep the edge on them I hone them constantly as I am working.

Removing outline border
Cutting the details of feathers

 Once I think I have removed all the Lino I rub talc over the image this lays in the cuts to make them stand out, you can then see if you have missed anything.

This is my first test print of the image taken with the ink still wet. I will now clean up the block and once the print is dry check it for any errors and correct them.

The print is about A4 in size and will hopefully be ready for sale in a couple of weeks

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Tawny Owl Linocut

This is the prep work for my next Linocut. I have pencil drawn the image on the Lino block which is mounted on plywood to make it more stable to cut. I am now going over the outline in pen to give me an idea of what to cut out and what to leave.

As you can see it will be a very complex image to cut and I expect it will be at least a week before I am ready to test print. The final image will be about A4 in size. I will post more images as I go.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Latest Linocut

This is a test print of a  linocut I have been working on since the weekend, I am quite pleased with it.

There is something really satisfying about producing prints, really takes me back to my photographic days in the darkroom.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sketchbook Drawings

Since my last post I have been working on the ELY Art Society website so I have not had a lot of time to post on here. However I have been working with Pen and Ink in a new sketchbook and have promised myself I will either draw or do something else creative everyday. I find this a really good way of relaxing and keeping myself sane.

Anyway the time has come to share some of my efforts:

This sketch is of a farm track running beside a Fenland drain out near Chatteris, the building is a small pumping station. I photographed the spot last summer whilst out on a training walk, it is a really remote spot in beautiful fen country.

Sheep are one of my favourite subjects, mainly because I can draw them. This isn't one of our village sheep as they haven't started lambing yet, more sketches when they do.

The bridge at St Ives (Cambridgeshire NOT Cornwall). The structure in the middle is an old Chapel.