8 Jan 2010

Knotty issues

As blogged earlier, I made several Christmas gifts this year, hoping that the recipients would forgive yet another hand crafted gift from me, in view of the difficult year we’d had. I hoped that spending time on them would be as meaningful to them as it was important to me.

One of the shapes I’ve been tinkering with recently is that of a metal reef knot (also known as a square knot) and once I’d mastered the techniques necessary and fashioned some tools to assist me and honed a reliable methodology, the possibilities are endless if using it as a link shape – I have many more ideas in mind yet.

The first reef/square knot done as the centrepiece of a necklace – as yet unfinished.

The first idea I started with was to use it as a central section in a necklace, but having got close to the shape I had in mind, I wasn’t sure it was going to work as I visualised, so that particular one is still on the bench waiting for me to decide how best to proceed. I find that if solutions don’t immediately jump out, I leave them well alone and somewhere in the future, a suitable design will present itself via my subconscious. So that one is waiting for the appropriate inspiration to strike. Finishing a piece, for the sake of it, that turned out slightly different than you hoped doesn’t often give good results. So I never force an idea if I have any doubts. The end result will certainly be better if left well alone for now.

A Sterling silver pin featuring the knot, with a single haematite bead.

But the work certainly still had value, as the process of thinking about it and looking for a solution gave me new ideas and one of those was the pins shown. I changed the shape of the knot link to accommodate a separate straight pin and then worked on the best way to both prevent the pin from dropping through the loops and to provide some tension to keep it where intended, in wear. A large bead at the top of the pin, married with a matching curve on the knot section allows the bead to seat itself under a little tension and stay in place.

Some of the antiqued copper pins made for Christmas gifts.

I made a shiny polished Sterling silver one initially (above), adorned by a large haematite bead and then upped the size a little with some heavy copper, which this time I antiqued to enhance the detail of the knot itself. The ones I’ve finished to date have either green jade or jasper beads – largely because they were just the right size and worked well with copper.

Finished pins in heavy gauge copper, antiqued to enhance the knot detail.

I wondered how small I could go with the knot, so made some much finer ones in silver for earrings (3 different sizes in total), the smallest of which I hung rock crystal dangles from for my own Christmas jewellery and the pair below were the middle size hung with red pressed glass flowers for a friend off to the Caribbean soon.

All Sterling silver with pressed glass flower dangles.

Ironically, they’re rather more fiddly to make small and the smallest ones I made for myself are likely to remain the only pair that size. I think the ones shown ended up just about right and I aim to make some more shortly.

I haven’t abandoned my love for twisting metal together yet either, this is the last of the gifts I’ve just made, for a friend to wish them luck in a new job. Heavy copper wire, twisted, soldered into a ring, hammered to the stage where the links just opened but kept the form of the twist and then hanging by a wrapped bail. I polished it quite substantially, so that it feels silky smooth to the touch (it’s not really evident in this photo as I was trying to kill the reflections and did so rather too well) – then antiqued to bring out the textures. I wish I’d made two, I rather wanted to keep it myself. That’s a task for another day . . .

6 thoughts on “Knotty issues

  1. Loving all the new pieces of recent. I think it’s better yo give friends and family handmade pieces, it’s different from the usual things you get at xmas.

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