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Delicate and meaningful jewellery inspired by nature.

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Filtering by Tag: lost wax casting

Magical Ancient Ferns

Erica Sharp

Hi everyone, I hope you have had a fun and enjoyable February. Time seems to be flying by at the moment. Little shoots and buds are appearing and the days are getting longer, there's that positive feeling of Spring and all the hope that comes with it. I can't wait to see the tulips grow in the garden and in the late Spring for the buttercup fields to appear in the woods where we walk every day. Talking of flowers, I'm working on some ideas for botanical home accessories, so watch this space!

I found Winter quite a hard season to get inspired but the humble fern was a constant woodland feature during our chilly walks, so I picked quite a few and made some sketches of them. They are so delicate and fine, but I was determined to make one into a necklace design. 

Ferns are one of the most ancient plants that grace our planet; They first appeared about 360 million years ago, and most of the ferns that grow today existed about 45 or 50 million years ago. That's when dinosaurs existed. Isn't that incredible? They have been a real inspiration these last few months where the rest of the botanical world lay dormant. I love their delicate textures and colours, and because of their ancient history I think they symbolise something both magical and resilient.

It took a lot of time and patience to carve a fern in wax, I did it in intervals as it required a magnifier to see what I was doing, and very tiny tools! In the end I was really happy with the result but hadn't ever tried to cast anything this delicate before, so was a little nervous about how it would turn out.

I am really happy with the results and have so many compliments since wearing mine in gold. They are part of our Woodland Wonders collection, and available to buy in sterling silver, gold vermeil and rose gold vermeil, you can see the collection here.

Now I am going to start working on carving some wildflowers... I will post about this sometime soon. Enjoy your weekend!

 

Starry Starry Night.

Erica Sharp

Hi everyone! It's been a horrible week for a lot of us and it feels sad that there seems to be much hate in the world at the moment. Things feel quite bleak sometimes and hard to understand. In times like these I try to focus on the good of people and humanity, and move forward positively. It is the only way we can have hope for our future generations, to lead with love and compassion, and not hatred. 

I thought I would write about some new designs I have been working on recently, inspired by the darker winter months. Our dog Pedro barks at night when there is a full moon (he's a pug but thinks he's a majestic wolf), and because I'm a light sleeper I often wake up to gaze at the moon with him, it's so quiet and still in the middle of the night, there is something magical about it. It has been lovely looking at all the stars when the skies are clear.

I wanted to make some constellation jewellery, but nothing based on zodiacs as there seem to be a lot of these around already. I decided to look at constellations from different seasons, and chose Lyra, Cassiopeia, Orion and Ursa Major.  

My ideas always start in my sketchbook. I am always a bit embarrassed to show work at this stage as its just a lot of mess, notes and bad drawings. I felt a million times better about my bad sketchbook when I saw Alan Kitching's sketches at the Pick Me Up exhibition earlier this year; it was literally just scribbles and notes.  I think all artists have their unique way of working and I have to remind myself not to be so precious, to have faith in the process and not to get caught up in reaching an outcome.

My ugly sketchbook!

My ugly sketchbook!

I played around with some more drawing and painting, I love working with watercolour in particular as its such a quick medium. I did these paintings just to get in the mood for all things mystical and celestial. The first picture was inspired by an amazing star embellished dress I saw by Alexander McQueen.

Star gazer.

Star gazer.

I had some wax wire that I thought would be perfect for making the geometric forms of the constellations, and started to experiment with it. It was so hard to work with at first and really frustrating. I used heat to attach the wax together but it melted so fast into messy blobs. Eventually I found a way to make it work and to create textured clusters for the stars. 

Many attempts made to try to get these right!

Many attempts made to try to get these right!

When they were finished I took them to the casters. They said that they "should" work out okay but couldn't guarantee it as they were so delicate. So I prayed hard to the casting Gods....

Casting success!

Casting success!

Hurray! They worked. Now they have been tidied up, with jump rings soldered on, and multiples have been made. I'm at the stage of getting the finished pieces back from the platers, as I have some gold and rose gold versions too.  I will post an update about these soon.

If you want to follow my process please take a look at my Instagram page as this is where I post daily snippets of my work/life.

I'll end this post with a quote which seems apt for this week.

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; 
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” -Sarah Williams.

The art of lost wax casting

Erica Sharp

Hello everyone! Welcome to my first blog post. I'm not a person who is very good at writing, but I would love to share some of my processes and ideas, and keep you posted with news. I think my blog posts will be visual rather than wordy but will hopefully convey my passion and creativity in an engaging way!

I've just recently listed some of our charms in the shop in gold and rose gold. These are our most popular designs from our woodland collection. If you follow me on Instagram then you may know that I am a little bit of a wax carving geek, and the lost wax technique is how a lot of my creations are made.

Our rabbit charm carved in jeweller's wax.

Our rabbit charm carved in jeweller's wax.

My work always starts off in my sketchbook as pencil drawings and little notes. Originally I wanted this little bunny to be hopping but as I started to carve him, it changed.  I love the way he is sitting quietly, observing the world around him.  For this collection I read a lot about the Victorians and their jewellery. Their jewellery is known to be symbolic and sentimental, and often given as gifts to symbolise a significant life event.  For example, buttercups feature in many Victorian designs for young women as they embodied all things jovial and youthful. 

A little buttercup wax. The woods near my house are abundant in buttercups during the early summer when I made this.

A little buttercup wax. The woods near my house are abundant in buttercups during the early summer when I made this.

Once my waxes are carved, I take then to the casters in London and they are cast in metal. I tidy them up, file off the sprue (the small vessel where the metal in poured into the cast) and make sure they are in perfect condition for making a mould.

The casters can then make a master mould so I can have multiple pieces made.  Each casting is filed, finished and polished by hand before attaching to a chain and sending off to their new home.

 

Our tiny rabbit necklace in sterling silver.

Our tiny rabbit necklace in sterling silver.

I had quite a few requests recently to make these in gold and rose gold. So I took some pieces to the platers in Hatton Garden where they plated them for me. I make sure I get a nice thick plating so the quality is lovely and long lasting. I love the pieces in yellow gold the most, the colour is amazing, and I think they are most in keeping with the era they were originally inspired by. A lot of ladies love rose gold now, and these have had some lovely positive responses too.

 

Mister rabbit glimmering in yellow gold.

Mister rabbit glimmering in yellow gold.

Our swooping swallow necklace in rose gold.

Our swooping swallow necklace in rose gold.

You can see our little woodland charms here.  I'm thinking of making a few more woodland creatures next Spring- perhaps a wise owl, a butterfly and a magical fern. What woodland inspired pieces would you like to see?

Now the darker days are drawing in I am designing a collection inspired by stars, planets and the night sky.  I will write an update about this soon.

Have a splendid week!