Type of item: Accessory
Style: Classic, Romantic, Retro / Vintage, Traditional
I re-focus vintage sterling brooches and earrings into shawl pins. I use sterling silver, a torch, and solder. Yellow orchre and a "heat sink" have proved useful The left and center shawl pins are old brooches and the right is an earring that have been reworked.
What was your inspiration?
I wanted to combine my knitting and metalsmithing hobbies. I like vintage jewelry and wanted to wear it with my lacey knits. They make unique gifts for friends and relatives,
Jewelry from other eras or countries is not necessarily made the same as our modern techniques. I like the challenge of successful problem solving to create a new piece.
What are you most proud of?
The pins are a pleasure to wear and they really keep the knitted shawls closed with style. Old jewelry items that often just sit in a drawer can be enjoyed in a new way. I haven't seen this idea being used elsewhere.
I have made about 15 pins so far, and with exception of those from earrings, no two are alike.
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
Take your time. Think ahead and do your problem solving BEFORE you light the torch. Use the principles that different solders melt at different temperatures and yellow orchre stops the flow of solder to your advantage, Be willing to work in stages rather than trying to solder everthing at one time--it may be my technique but I sweat solder and pick solder a lot when I work on these projects.
Pay attention to the finishing on both sides of the piece--you don't want anything to snag your knitted item. I often do the final polishing with a clean piece of nylon stocking to check for sharp or rought spots.
Don't use a brooch or earring you treasure for the basis of this project--family heirlooms don't belong here unless you are willing to take a chance on losing them.
Relax and enjoy yourself--the end results are worth the time and effort.