Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Copper Leaves

I came up with the idea for these pendants as part of our effort to have a less commercial, mostly handmade Xmas this year (at least as far as the adults on our list are concerned). About halfway through our vacation, in Potter's Bar, Boy's cousin showed me some maple leaves that a friend of hers had smithed from iron. They were beautiful . . . textured and realistic. These particular leaves were much more "ornament" than "jewelry", but they got me thinking that leaf pendants to wear could be fun . . .

While on our forest walk, I kept an eye out for small-ish, unusually shaped leaves and picked a few up, still unsure how I'd make the leaf pendant idea a reality. I remembered leaf pendant that I had as a teenager which had been plated in metal, but plating isn't in my repertoire of jewelry making skills.

It eventually dawned on me that copper would make a perfect metal match for the leaves I'd picked up, and that, while I don't have plating experience, I certainly have metal sawing and filing experience. And sheet copper, too!

I continued to collect leaves on our trip and, once we were home, I painstakingly traced a few onto paper. I used rubber cement to adhere those paper tracings to small, roughly cut sheets of copper and then used my metal saw and bench pin to cut the images out:

I used metal files to smooth the edges, a ball pein hammer and steel block to create texture and bend . . .

. . . metal black and a polishing cloth to create an aged effect and a metal hole punch to make space for a simple, jump ring bail.

I had great plans to present these finished pendants to you as an "easy, inexpensive" kind of metalsmithing project, but looking over that list of supplies needed and checking prices for all that stuff on Fire Mountain Gems (over $150, before metal costs and findings!), "inexpensive" maybe isn't the best word. Easy, though, fits the bill perfectly. And I'm really pleased with how they came out in the end!

1 comment:

Diane said...

I love my Hampton Court oak leaf!