Another summer is almost over and I'm happy to say that I was able to take Gia's class at Wildacres in June. The Florida Society of Goldsmiths puts this on every year and they do an AMAZING job! This time I learned a technique called "Niello." Niello is a black metallic alloy used as a surface decoration and is fused to a metal base. We made designs in sterling silver using engraving tools (and sometimes burrs), making designs in the silver. Once Finished we filled the spaces with the Niello substance and fired. Once cool, we then sanded until the designs surfaced.
Such a great class! That's Fred the Deadhead in Cyndi's hand. She snuck him into Meike's bed when Meike was off doing something else in hopes of freaking her out when she walked back into her room.
Personally, I would have screamed...loudly...if I came upon THIS in my room, but Meike is on to Cyndi's shenanigans. LOL!
Always a joy to come back to this beautiful view again.
Below you see us outside watching Gia make the Niello. He's firing silver, copper, lead and ground sulfur. Some of us came prepared for this with our heavy-duty respirator masks. If you are downwind from the smell of these chemicals while they're being fired, it's not going to be a good thing. The lead and sulfur are highly toxic.
Me & Meike
Here is the beginning of a piece. This was the first time I'd ever used engraving tools for ANYTHING, so my work is messy. But by the end of the week, I had a better feel for this process.
When the piece was finished with the design work, I added the black, powdered Niello and fired. This is how it looks once fired. Then I went to the sanding machine and took off most of the Niello there, and finished with a regular file.
Here's how it looked when almost finished. Just a little more sanding and polishing to do.
This is Gia's finished pendant along with the bracelet he made in class.
I was the lucky purchaser of this bracelet at the auction! Sooooo happy to have this. It's gorgeous.
Fred liked to be with us every day in our studio.
This is a sterling silver pendant that I had etched at home and brought with me to Wildacres. I filled it with Neillo, fired, then sanded and polished. It came out pretty good. I was surprised how much detail there was. Another person in the class brought some Metal Clay pieces she had made and they also came out great filled with Niello.
Another beautiful sky, another wonderful week in North Carolina.
There is a sign entering Wildacres that says, "You are now leaving the real world." At the end of the week as you begin to drive home, the sign says, "You are now entering the real world." I can't tell you how true those words are, but everyone who goes to Wildacres for a week knows what I'm talking about.