Monday, January 21, 2013

BAW 52/3

Well, it looks like I'm continuing on with the fibula obsession. This week I took direct inspiration from Mark Nelson's video, and the 2nd inauguration of our 44th President.

I started by opening a 'Word' document and sampling a variety of fonts. I decided to use the 48 point, number 4 and affixed it to a piece of 18g brass sheet with a glue stick. Next a #3/0 saw blade pierced the two 4's, the oval, and the two long 'sticks' out of the brass. After filing and sanding the perimeter of the oval and interior of the numbers, I forged the long 'stick' into a roundish shape and filed it into a perfectly round wire!

Then I curled the long wire into a double loop, trimmed and shaped the pin catch, and voila! A fibula! I absolutely don't consider myself any sort of real fabricator. I dabble in hard metal work (as opposed to malleable metal clay). So I'm pretty impressed with the fact that I did this on my own - not in a class. I love learning a new technique.

I'll give you a few pointers if you decide to try your hand at a similar design.
1. Use rubber cement instead of glue stick if you need to glue a paper guide to the metal in order to pierce an intricate design. The paper kept releasing from the metal in my project and I had to both reapply the glue and hold the paper in place with my thumb as I sawed. You could also scribe the outside shape with a compass, instead of using a paper facsimile, as the video suggests.
2. To provide stability as you work, pierce the interior designs before sawing the outside shape.
3. To make a perfectly sharp corner, put gentle pressure on the back of the saw bade as you move it up and down in place, to turn the corner. When it's facing the correct direction, change the pressure to the front teeth of the blade and continue sawing forward.
4. Use a fishhook sharpener to refine the taper on the pin stem, or file a taper into your bench pin to sharpen the end of the wire. A few passes with a flat file, while turning the wire, will create a nice thin, sharp pin stem.
5. Take care which side of the brooch gets the longer wire. Most pins and brooches are designed for right handed people. A right handed person inserts the wire into the cloth from right to left, which means the pin stem should be on the left side of the brooch as you look down on it. All three of my fibulas work better for a left handed person and are kind of fussy for me to put on. Hopefully the third time will be the charm, and my next brooch will face the 'right' way.
6. Be careful how short you make the catch. The first two fibula's worked perfectly, but I cut the wire for the catch too short this time and the pin stem rests at an awkward angle when I close it.

Trying new techniques is a great way to stretch your imagination and spark the fire of creativity. Why don't you try to do something that is outside of your usual modus operandi?

1 comment:

Cindy Silas said...

Love how you cut the long bronze piece, then turned it into a wire. Cool! Ya know, I'm left-handed. Maybe one of those pins would be easy for me to put on ;)