Monday, 9 August 2010

How I suspended a brass sparrow

I won this brass stamping in the shape of a flying sparrow at the Vintaj blog. The easiest way to use this stamping as a pendant is just to attach wire, jump rings or a stringing material of your choice to the corners where wing meets tail. The way you can see it done in Vintaj's own examples. I was playing around with my swooping swallow, not sure what I wanted to do with it. I had been interested in getting one to make Melanie Brooks' cool Arteria Arcanum Pendant, but I don't have the supplies to make anything similar.

Instead, when sorting my Vintaj loot -- som bought, some won -- I found some leaf charms I'd bought to make a necklace never realised. What if... I thought. Soon I had begun bending by leaf charm to make the suspension you can see above. Here's some instructions for how I made it.

First I put the charm through the corner of the hole between one of the wings and the tail, flipside up and placed so the leaves where pointing inwards and the loop was beyond the tip of the wing/tail.

Then I just bent the soft, malleable brass charm so that the leaves now faces outwards, laying over the loop. I pushed the two sides of the charm together to minimize the gap and thereby not risking the charm falling off. Then I repeated the steps with another leaf charm around the second wing tip.

I carfully manipulated each leaf, moving it to one side or the other while holding the rest of the charm still, until I felt they were in the right position. As I use the same charm on both sides and the charms are asymmetrical, I didn't want the leaves to look as though one was just an identical but upsidedown version of the other.

The holes between the wings and tail are so large I could use the charms as hook-and-eye clasps, hooking the leaves around the tail, but I was afraid the thin soft charms would too easily be bent when using the "clasp", which could lead to the charm snapping from metal fatigue.

Now I'm ready to make my pendant into a necklace. I'm thinking an all brass piece of jewellery here. Don't really know why, but when I look at it I keep getting associations to the 18th century. Not least when adding the "flowers" and leaves I plan on using in the necklace. Perhaps it's the leaves together with the shape of the bird (especially that tail) that reminds me of the motifs used in interior decoration and frames in those days. They'd use gold or gilded materials: this brass looks like patinated antique gold or gilding I suppose.

I'm still working on the details -- this is a work in progress -- but when I get that sorted I'll post a pic or two of the finished necklace. Let's see if I can keep that 18th C feel throughout the design process.

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