Wednesday, 28 September 2011

 TAT  the  cat

Tat The Cat

Inspector Cat Tat
A small digression - Tat is our cat for whom nothing can happen without her inspection, be It climbing onto the laptop to see what is happening to wandering around my work bench to see what I am doing, by  now I am sure she has walked off with a fair amount of silver filings on her paws; this can be frustrating (not the silver loss) but the walking on the bench, I have to stop what I am doing and  wait  for her to finish for  no other reason but her own health and safety, this inspection takes time as an extended scratch and tickle is always required.
You want to work when??

Tat is very special to us as she was not bought at a pet shop but was abandoned by her owners when they moved out, my wife Pam first noticed her with 3 kittens in tow wandering around the streets, so she started feeding them on our verge, this then became the garden, at this point we owned 2 Scotties, Tessa and Baxter, who hated cats so we kept then separated in two sides of the property , then one kitten got sick, got caught by us and taken to the vet but didn't make It. (the kittens were totally wild at this point, while the mommy cat could be touched quite happily)  we then made a shelter in the garden for them to live under and get fed, we now had a "garden cat" (a friend of ours had a "roof  cat", but that is a whole other story)

Following a particularly  violent thunderstorm another kitten drowned so we made a plan to catch the last surviving kitten and mother  and give them a home, so a catching cage was duly imported (none could be found in Johannesburg for purchase) and the two of them caught, and brought inside, this proved to be a bit of an impossible situation what with the Scotties and the wild kitten, so the kitten was shipped out to a local kitty haven for re-homing ( the owner took on the kitten personally which made us very happy) and the mother cat now named Tat was brought into the house and slowly introduced to the Scotties, after a period a truce settled in the house but the dogs still looked at us as if to say " what the hell have you brought into our house.... this is the enemy".

House Cat becomes Tree Cat (Look closely at the tree) 
The dogs by this point were old and sick themselves and one by one shuffled off to the big park in the sky and we  were left with Madam Tat who now rules the home.
Her names are in no particular order: Tat, Tatkin, Tatsimolian, Madam Tat, Tatnip, etc. etc. all of which she answers to quite happily and very noisily, she is an extremely verbal cat and lets us know in no uncertain terms exactly what she wants or how she is feeling.

Out on the walkways

She is now a partly indoor / outdoor cat, by this I mean she has a whole section of yard that is cat proofed so she cannot leave the property and then full access to the whole house, we have done this for her own safety (It would mortify as to arrive have one day and find a flat cat lying on the road), and to keep her happy we have made elevated walkways around the walls of the house so she can exit the house through windows in the kitchen and walk around on her walkways giving her a view out into the neighborhood, she also loves cardboard boxes so she has those in abundance and tree stumps to sit on and claw, the washing line post has also been layered with rope to give a tall scratching post to claw and hang on.

Pole Dancing Cat - never said she wasn't versatile

Dinner is at six In the evening sharp!! and bedtime is at nine straight after she has had her "chewies", for an alleycat she certainly enjoys a very regulated routine.
I am the Lady Tat, you may bow, feed me, scratch me.... In no particular order !

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ear-rings and Cat Scan

The ear-rings started earlier in the week are now finished, they came out rather well and complement other filigree work I have done in the past of which I will in due course write up a blog entry.
Each ear-ring is composed of 8 individual pieces (excluding the shepherds crook hangars) that have been hammered out of 1.5mm round wire and then soldered together to complete the finished product

Filigree Ear-rings

The whole job was of course duly "cat scanned" by my in workshop quality control cat Tat

Quality control cat - Tat

Friday, 23 September 2011

Pieces done in the past

 I have done a number of jobs for people that turned out very nicely and have given me a lot of pleasure to complete and see being worn, I have always had the philosophy that jewelry once created has a Life of its own and should not be stored in a box but should be worn.
 I enjoy mounting stones in silver and to this end have created a number of pieces for people with Stones they have supplied on stones I think would suit their personalities.

The following are a random selection of pieces I have made for various people whom I am sure have enjoyed their jewellery as much as I enjoyed making it.
Amber Ring

"C - Curve"

Garnet Cufflinks

Glass in Silver

Lapis Lazuli

Pink Quartz


Sunday, 18 September 2011

New Projects

 New Projects

And so the rings joined a bunch of other failed projects to be reincarnated into something new and exciting.
Re-incarnation Begins

 I am trying a couple of interesting excersizes of my own design.
 The first is an arm bangle (It started like as a pendant but turned out too heavy so I am re-inventing it, might work, might not only time and work will tell.
Possible arm Bangle

 The second project is a pair of ear Rings so far the first looks pretty ok


Eternity Ring continued

Eternity Ring Continued. . . .

A while ago I  Started working on an eternity ring, I started with a ring "L" size with square profile 3.2 mm x 2 mm deep Into this I was to drill nine 1mm holes right down the center of the ring, evenly spaced 3.1mm apart as I was Instructed by my teacher, let me begin by saying it looked like a drunken woodpecker got hold of it.

The rings that didn't make the grade

My Instructor tells me at this point that at my level I should be able to drill free hand accurately, so I pop. off to the nearest Builders warehouse and buy a vice for my drill press and proceed to start drilling - No Iuck, enter drunken woodpecker, Back to the Drawing board and make another ring and drill and make another and stop. So after careful analysis of the whole nasty affair I work out if I sit directly facing the ring headon and look down the drill bit i should be able to drill accurately, so I make yet another Ring and start Drilling and Lo and behold It worked.

The ring that made the grade

I have now cut a Saw groove down the length of the holes and across each hole and between each hole, then using a triangular file followed by a round file I  filed into each of the saw cuts to form the facets for the nine stones that will be set into the ring. But above and beyond this is the mental hurdle I had to leap to be able to do a simple task such as drilling

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pilanesberg Continued.........

Pilanesberg Continued.....

I never mentioned this previously but the camp we stay in is called Manyane, it is one of a number of camps in the Pilanesberg.
And so to revisit the scene of the crime; the first one is the front of the chalet looking in the front door, the second one is looking at the chalet and patio from the back.  
Front of the Chalet

Patio at rear of chalet

This picture is the very scene of the crime, the culprit's (Baboons) entered the front door at approximately  15:30 Hours proceeded into the kitchen (right next to the front door) leaped onto the counter top opened the bread bin - very quietly, removed the muffins and exited very hastily back through the front door with me in tow.

The scene of the crime... ahh the Kitchen

Baboons of the muffin thieving variety

This photo is looking out from the patio into the bush that surrounds Manyane, and the second very dark one....... if you click on it and enlarge the 2 bright dots are eyes looking back at you from the bush.... 

View from our patio
The eyes stared back....
There are small herds of Impala that roam around in the resort along with a family of bush pigs, guinea fowl, Banded mongooses and numbers of other creatures .....did I mention Baboons ...... muffin thieving Baboons - do I sound a tad bitter.
Rhino Grazing next to our car


Moon rise in the East
Watching me... watching you....

I'm just a passenger.....

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Pilanesberg Weekend

Took the weekend off from jewelry; my wife Pam and I popped up on Friday afternoon to the Pilanesberg for our bi-annual timeshare weekend.
The weekend started off with a great deal of excitement when our chalet was raided by baboons while we were unpacking.... more fools us for leaving the front door open while we were in the bedroom - never ever leave your car open unattended or leave doors or windows open to the chalet unattended.
Well we did and in they came went straight to the bread bin on the kitchen counter and made off with the muffins, Pam heard them and yelled for me, I then made a very undignified dash after the baboons with a camp guard , to no avail baboons and muffins gone.
A tad large

After all the fun and excitement we decided to close the chalet and head straight into the park for a bit of afternoon viewing.
The elephants crossed two by two
The weekend however proved to be one of the best we have ever had, the game viewing proved to be exceptional, we were literally up to our eyeballs in animals, we watched as a herd of over fifty elephant too a bath (water, mud and sand) then wandered off across the veld crossing a main road right in front of us.
By the left quick march

I'm tho mad I could thhhpit........

We were also privileged in quick succession to see a brown hyena, black backed jackal and 5 lion, further viewing through the weekend included Rhino, Giraffe

Monday, 5 September 2011

Twisted Arm Chain

Twisted arm Chain

Rings .... lots of little rings.... I had to make 1mm wire then roll it around a piece of metal (drill bit) to make a spring shaped object, then I cut along the length of the "spring" which ended up separating a multitude of separate rings, half of the rings are then soldered closed with the other half of the rings joining up the already closed ones these are also soldered closed.
This chain of rings is then clamped at one end in a vice, the other end is held taut by a pair of pliers and twisted and twisted and twisted..... snap..... re-solder and twisted to form a really nice chain.
Ends are then cut from flat plate and soldered on and then a lobster clasp (purchased finding) is added to complete.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Amethyst Earrings

Amethyst Earrings

This post is going to give a detailed view into a pair of earrings I recently reworked.
It starts with a pair of earrings done in a capped tube setting that was a bit old fashioned and pretty much hid the oval amethysts, I was asked to remake them to a design of my own choice.
Starting out I did the usual alloying of the silver and pouring out an ingot which was then rolled out into a strip on metal

Strip of silver

I measured up the stones and cut appropriate lengths to make oval tubes which were bent soldered and shaped until the stones seated nicely on the top.


Then I cut a slice out of the tube and soldered two wires vertically over the slice, then cut out the other side and again soldered wires on, these would later be the claws to hold the stones in place.


A pair of jump rings were then made up and soldered onto the tops of the earrings, the area of the top of the setting where the stones are to sit was beveled to give a seat for the stones and the claws were finished and closed over the stones
Finally a pair of shepherd’s crook hangers were fitted to complete the earrings.

Completed earrings

Repair of Amber Bracelet

Repair of Amber bracelet

The bracelet featured was missing the bottom arm and clasp, and I was asked to make up a new arm and fold over clasp so that the owner could wear it again.

To craft this I used a fantastic tutorial by Hans Meevis which can be found at this link Fold-Over Catch
The bottom arm is a strip of silver that I shaped and filed and added a hinge to match the original bracelet, then I fitted the catch to complete the repair.

Completed Bracelet

Clasp and Bracelet

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Rings Rings Rings

Pierced ring and Multi-part rings

I have had a bit of a ring making frenzy and made a couple of rings the first is a multipart ring with twisted wires and two half round wires, the second is a pierced multipart, the piercing is done in the round as it doesn't work (well not for me anyway) to pierce the flat plate and then bend into a ring.

Spinner Ring

The third ring is a spinner ring is made from a basic tube which I textured with a ball hammer then a wire ring is fitted over the tube and finally I hammered the two ends of the tube with a doming tool to form an anticlastic shape that will hold the wire in place.


Pierced ring

A colleague brought me a picture of a ring and asked me to make it up for her with matching earrings, again the ring is pierced in the round and not flat.