Posts Tagged With: leaves

Autumn is definitely here!

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I went on a brief walk today, not far, just outside my door and along the road a little way, in search of a few leaves to work with. The sun was shining so I didn’t bother with a coat, but I hadn’t got very far before I wished I had!

Anyway I walked far enough to gather a selection of leaves – some hawthorn, silver birch and ash (complete with its keys) – which I’ve already started work with to create some new jewellery pieces. There will be some pendants and a couple of pairs of earrings too I think.

I also started work on some other new ideas – I can’t wait for the first stage of the clay to dry out so I can crack on! I just want to see how they turn out.

I love autumn – the colours of the turning leaves are inspiring and that lovely smell in the air puts a spring in my step. But sadly it means that the leaves will start to fall too – which in turn means no more leaves for my jewellery for a while! What will I do?!? Looking around today I noticed that the oak is still holding on to its leaves well whilst the silver birch is loosing them very fast indeed. If you’re after a piece of jewellery made from leaves at all – now is the time to speak up. At least I’ll still be able to use holly and ivy though:

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But then comes the spring and we can start all over again! But now I’m just wishing the time away xxx

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The story of a beech leaf………

Beech leaves

“A copse which had worn it’s firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily.” – A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh

It feels as though spring has finally sprung in my small corner of Gloucestershire. Everywhere the trees are bursting into leaf and almost overnight there is blossom everywhere. For those of you who know me, or have read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I have a thing for trees and leaves. And so it will come as no surprise to you all that I came over all creative when I saw my parent’s beech hedge just starting to throw open its new delicate buds in a vivid splash of almost lime green.

I took just a few leaves away with me to see if I could turn them into silver. I thought you all might be interested in the stages a leaf goes through from tree to a finished piece of jewellery – so here goes……..

Firstly it’s important to choose the right leaves for your purpose – I recently found a perfect heart-shaped ivy leaf that was just crying out to become a pendant – so I usually sort through them to choose the ones that will work best. I wanted to make a pendant and a set of earrings and so I chose three leaves.

The perfect shape for a pendant.

The perfect shape for a pendant.

After being washed, the leaves are painted with thin layers of a paste form of precious metal clay. I recycle all the left over clay in my workshop into paste I can use like this, so the end product is really rather green! Between each layer the leaves must be left to dry. How many layers depends on how thick I want the finished piece to be – usually around ten, but I always lose count!

How many layers? I've lost count.

How many layers? I’ve lost count.

When the last layer is dry I roll out a piece of silver clay and cut a rectangle to make a bail on the back of the pendant, I prefer this to drilling a hole through the finished leaf. Look at my glamorous piece of kit, the drinking straw! I always drill my earrings after firing as I find they work better this way.

A ball of clay about to be rolled out.

A ball of clay about to be rolled out.

This has to be left to dry overnight before sanding and smoothing and filling and finishing it to perfection.

Waiting to be sanded and filled to perfection.

Waiting to be sanded and filled to perfection.

Then I fire the piece by hand using a butane torch. The original leaf itself burns away leaving pure silver behind with the impression of the leaf print. The pieces are always white straight after firing – this is the pure silver in its unpolished form.

No - this isn't a leaf but there was no one around to hold the camera at the time!

No – this isn’t a leaf but there was no one around to hold the camera at the time!

I then brush the piece with my soft brass brush and polish and oxidize if I want, before finishing with a chain and earring wires!

So here they are:

Beech leaf jewellery by MoonRiver.

Beech leaf jewellery by MoonRiver.

Fine silver beech leaf pendant – £35 – Fine silver beech leaf earrings – £25

Ivy Leaf Pendant by MoonRiver.

Ivy Leaf Pendant by MoonRiver.

Fine silver ivy leaf pendant – £35

All prices excl. p+p – please contact me for details or to buy!

So there you are – now you know! I hope you enjoyed reading – I’m off to find some more leaves, I’ve spotted some lovely strawberry ones!

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Inspiration is all around for those who choose to find it.

Inspiration is all around for those who choose to find it.