Another successful beginners day in February with some positive feedback and positive results.
Run by Ray Wilson
Six members participated in a cuttlefish casting workshop on Monday. While some members had previous experience, others had only heard of the art or watched videos on YouTube. All participants learned how to select an appropriate sized cuttlebone for their object and prepare the soft cuttlebone for casting. Various methods of creating a design from tracing to embedding to freehand carving were discussed. A variety of purpose ready and home made carving tools were demonstrated. Everyone was able to cast a piece of textured sterling silver that can now be used as jewellery item or encompassed in other pieces of jewellery. It was great to watch members back in the club learning new skills and being excited by the creation of artistic pieces from this simple process.
A further day for cuttlebone casting has been planned.
On the day - Anne using the torch
Attached are some of the items that I have made over the last few years using cuttlebone.
by Carol Money
My first ever locket which includes my first ever hinge. There is room for improvement, but it works, and so I am happy. Lots of new skills learnt and practising of old skills.
This was the next project in the group I am following (with a few other members of the club), “Lets Make Professional Jewellery” by Alan Revere. Luckily I had completed many of the tricky parts before the club shut, for example making the tube for the hinge, using the club draw plates. I had to improvise when cutting the tube from home as I do not have a tube cutter jig.
This is what I came up with.
A “V” shaped piece of copper in a vise. This held the tube straight but it really could have done with a clamp, other than my finger, to keep it in place, and a guide to make sure I cut straight.
One area of activity at North Brisbane Lapidary Club that remains popular is lost wax casting. A session is run about every 6 weeks. Members purchase waxes from a variety of sources and then sprue and invest their moulds in individual flasks. Generally the flasks are set over night to burn out and the metal is melted and thrown in the centrifugal caster after about an 8 hour kiln program.
The next work session is scheduled for 27 February so there is plenty of time to get names onto the list – limit of 12 per session. The session is suitable for beginners as instruction will be given and assistance available for new members to help them understand the process.
The photo shows flasks with moulds being prepared for investing ready to sell at the upcoming gem and jewellery festival.
Great day on Sunday with only a small crew of members attending. Lost wax casting went off with the normal efficiency and a few failures for which we did not have an answer. Most of the members who cast some jewellery spent part of the day cleaning up and polishing their creations.
Richard had his own show and tell with a large piece of mother of pearl that he purchased on their recent trip to Broome. Richard had made some cabochons of the mother of pearl and is now busy setting them in bezel settings. Interestingly, Richard has made a box bezel with a cutout back and then turned it over so that the rub over edge is at the back of the setting. Looks very nice and impressed the other members. Richard also took the opportunity to cab a few pieces of Prehnite from the dish of slabs donated.
After several weeks of the tumbler running in the shed, Carol has produced a few kilos of tumbled polished stones ready for next year’s show.
This Friday evening there is another popular lost wax casting work session. 15 members have indicated there attendance, so it will be a busy night. Probably around 20-25 flasks will be invested. The burnout will be scheduled for Saturday night so that we can throw the metal on Sunday. Members will be able to start working on their jewellery items on Sunday at the free work day.
Here are 2 pendants settings that I cast in sterling silver at the last work session. As the boulder opal pieces are cut in a freeform shape it is not possible to buy a commercial setting. So starting out with a piece of bezel shaped wax I formed the bezel and the bail around the finished opal. This was then sprued, had investment poured into the flask and then the wax was burnt out and molten metal thrown in a centrifuge into the flask. Voila pendsant just about completed.
Wednesday seems to be always such a busy day, but today was more than busy. It was hectic. Started out by sorting out all of the dealer bookings coming in for the 2015 show. Although the show is still 6 months away the hall is almost 40% booked. Then a quick trip to Vin Moulds at Carina to pick up the raffle prize. Once again Vin has been a great supporter of our club by donating a gold ring for the raffle prize. Tony Wheate’s round cut pink tourmaline looks absolutely stunning. If anyone is looking to have a favourite stone set in a special setting then Vin is highly recommended. After returning to the club I spent some time preparing copies of outdoor stall forms for Scott Bell to take to Bribie this Saturday. Bribie Island gem show is always nice and laid back (with free admission). Other activities that I noticed going on around me included Tom Power unsuccessfully trying to start the mower, Carol South up to her elbows in mud and grit sorting out the tumbler. Carol is busy tumbling about 6 kgs of offcuts and small stones ready for sale at our gem show. So far the tumbler has run for several weeks unattended in the store room. The first batch should be out of the polish next week. Peter Smith and Laraine Power were busy assembling and burnishing the sterling silver bracelet which will also be used as a raffle prize. Tony Wheate has cut 9 small cabs of lapis lazuli and the first fitting today shows that this is going to be a stunning raffle prize; made all the more special because several members have contributed to the manufacture.
And of course the highlight of Wednesday is always morning tea when Lola provides her home baking. Today’s offering was anut berry crumble on a tea cake. It must have been good as there wasn’t any left when I got back from Vin Moulds.