I wasn't sure what to write about for my first feature but i thought it might be interesting to take you through the type of commission that I'm often working on off-Etsy... i'm pretty new to selling on Etsy but love this way of doing business and hope that one day i can get my shop well known enough that most or even all of my work comes through there.
Anyway, this is a piece commissioned for a special gift from a boyfriend to his girlfriend on her 30th birthday...
The first picture below shows 4, step-by-step photos of the process. You can see in the top-left picture that a heart shape has been cut by hand from a nice generous chunk of sterling silver. The customer sketched the heart shape that I initially used himself. This is one of the lovely things about a commission as the customer has had some real input into the creation and design of the piece.
Picture two in the top-right shows me starting to file to get the shaping of the heart... this is the first and largest of the files I use, I will use three or four more finer files as the process goes on and four or five different grades of emery paper to achieve a smooth shape I am finally happy with (note the state of my nails - another inevitable result of this process!!).
In picture three on the bottom left I have just finished the soldering process. I have soldered on an extra piece of silver for the bale and a little spiral that I have hammered from a piece of 18ct rose gold. Rose gold is my favorite gold to use and I love its warm pinky colour against the silver. You can see the silver is a funny colour, that is because it has been coated with a chemical to stop it being permanently stained bythe flame. It will go into an acid bath next to remove this then I will form the bale by hand while the silver is still pliable from the heat process.
Picture four on the bottom left shows another benefit of commissions, a personal message stamped on the back of the piece, xxx for 30 and of course for kisses too!
Anyone who knows my work knows that my style is pretty dirty with lots of distressing and visible tool marks, I like to see evidence of how the piece was forged and I like a bit of grime! You can see in the final image how this piece is a little shinier and smoother than I would probably have created left to my own devices... it is good when a commission moves you in a direction that whilst retaining your own style pushes you into slightly new territory.
I love how this piece turned out and of course the best bit of all is being part of something that is so special to someone and will be treasured by them hopefully for years to come.