Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not a Tattoo...

Initial starting design
A friend wanted to get a tattoo to memorialize her family members, but she knew her dad would not approve of a tattoo... so she asked me about making a butterfly bracelet. 

As we spoke about the bracelet I asked about her parents and grandparents and found the love of roses and irises were as strong as butterflies. She also wanted to include their birthstones on the butterfly.

An idea began to evolve. I instinctively leaned toward sterling silver metal clay - because that's my first go-to... and then I thought about my new classic metalsmithing skills and wondered about doing it in sterling sheet... and then it hit me - sterling sheet w/ enamel! I could add color to it to really bring it alive. We hadn't considered color in the initial discussions.

More discussion and I found it was yellow roses and purple irises. As I worked the design, filigree seemed to fit perfectly allowing the wings of the butterfly to be open and fragile looking like a butterfly wings would be.
The focal is less than 2" wide approx 1" tall and the spaces for the birthstones were very tiny so I opted to "create" the colors using my enamels. Turquoise, Garnet and Peridot - got those pretty quick, the opal concerned me but with some "fiddling" I got an opal I was pretty pleased with!

Some process shots ...
Layers cut from sterling sheet
Pieces stacked to test fit

Pieces soldered together, cell
wires added and filigree wing wires

Fired and pickled many times
in prep for enameling

Initial layers of enamel
Additional layers of enamel

Finished focal with enameled
Chainmaille bracelet w entwined
rings, birthstone dangle & mag clasp

Once the focal was finished we looked at sterling wire bangle, leather, ribbon and finally decided that it needed a silver chain - so I created a chain including two pair of entwined larger rings in a "love knot" style on each side of the focal to again incorporate the family members being remembered - I added a fifth one near the closure to represent my friend and dangled HER birthstone from the focal.

This was truly a labor of love and I used almost every skill I have learned and loved every minute of working it out. I am thankful that she allowed me the freedom to create this piece for her and I enjoyed sharing the process with her along the way - loving the "ohhhs and ahhhs" she gave me in return! 

So happy she opted to NOT get a tattoo! :o)
Finished piece on the wrist of a pleased
daughter and grand daughter

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