Studio, tools, and some words about the way I work
After twenty five years as a goldsmith, it naturally happens that over time an artist specialised more in specific techniques. There are many ways a goldsmith can create jewellery, many techniques. Some of that wide range are mainstream techniques taught in jewellery schools these that most jewelers in the “industry” tend to use.
In these techniques I have nothing special to offer, nor am I specially good in many of them, and for sure I’m slower then most of my peers.
There are some interesting modern techniques that could be of great benefit but require very expensive specialized equipment.
And then there are the specialized traditional techniques usually very beautiful like Filigree Granulation or traditional Enamel and others that I hardly ever or not at all tried, I was not really pulled in these directions. They all require extensive torch work that as the years goes by I can do less and less due to physical limitations. An elaborate relief or semi relief patterns is perhaps my style signature, not always by intent, at times my left hand simply gravitate that way.
These detailed reliefs are at time so small pushing to the limit the minimum size the various tools can be made to. Many of the small tools are shaped and finished under the microscope for their working end is too small to properly see with a standard jewellers [magnifying] visor. The relief patterns you can often see in my work are a combination of four different techniques each with it unique sets of tools. One that I’m using less and less, is modern, a Micro-Motor hand-piece used with the smallest of burs.
The three other are traditionally rooted going back hundreds of years, the difference from the way they were worked in antiquity is that I work them on a much smaller, cleaner and more detailed scale, and I do that under a microscope without which I can see next to nothing of my work.
These techniques are: Engraving, Micro Chasing and miniature burnishing. For these techniques most of the tool sets are hand made in the studio. With the exception of Engraving as many shapes of gravers are available as blanks, these are formed and sharpened in studio, some more specialized gravers are fully studio made.
I’ve mentioned the tools a bit because tool making has always been an intrinsic part of a goldsmith set of skills. These tools are not available to buy, a few rough versions may be found here and there, but none that are of any use [to me]
In this world of ready made everything.
Therefore if one wishes to learn these techniques, the starting place is tools making! One can and probably should learn to work in the “normal” larger scale; similar to the way the craftsmen and artist of old worked, it is simpler to learn and fully allow for the creation of beautiful work.