printmaker extraordinaire who has lived on the other side of the world in Melbourne for many years. I have known her since we were five years old and friends do not get more special than this one.
I want to make her a birthday present - she isn't into bling or sparkly, so I decide on a pendant necklace which I will forge, hammer and oxidise.
I have in mind a particular bead but I cannot get it locally, and in fact what is in my mind probably doesn't exist. I want a cream rondelle, about 16mm, with a cracked glaze appearance. I find some magnasite beads that are almost right but have left it too late to order from abroad. I settle for a pandora style glass bead instead in a yellowy clear glass from the Southampton beadshop
I really struggled to find the right sort of chain sold loose. I wanted something simple, plain oval links, to mimic the shape of the hand forged ones. Had to compromise with some plain chase chain 25/11 from Cooksongold.com.
I join the handforged links with hand made sterling silver jump rings which I had great difficulty soldering. I messed up so many. I had stupidly used extra easy solder on the hand forged links so had to use the same again on the jump rings. I made many mistakes, too much solder, not enough filing to make ends meet before soldering, missing the joints, soldering the jump rings to the other rings, not enough flux............ sheesh! I bought some ready made jump rings and silver solder paste which made the job easier, though I still managed to mess some up. Luckily this is a rusticy piece so I can get away with a certain amount of mistakes.
Finally I join the pieces together with jump rings which I solder (getting the hang of it now - no filing needed before or after!).
I spend ages sanding and polishing - my nails are broken, my fingertips sore, but its in the name of love, so I put up.
Final step, I dip it in liver of sulpher (pooey) to oxidise it, and then polish it with car polish to bring back some of the silvery shine.
I like it, it's not perfect - but a true labour of love.
I wrap it in handmade paper, with 'Sweep', a glove puppet that she has coveted for years, and that has been up in my loft since forever.