Tag Archives: ocean

Sterling Silver and Amazonite, Chrysoprase, Topaz, and Turquoise Infinity Pendant

My lovely friend Margaret is an artist, and I met her when she commissioned me to create this coherent wave pendant for her to wear to her art exhibition, Bliss.

 

Sterling Silver and Amazonite, Chrysoprase, Topaz, and Turquoise Infinity Pendant

 

The symbol is for infinity, of course, and also represents the number eight, which is a very lucky number in Asia and kept cropping up throughout Margaret’s painting journey!

 

Sterling Silver and Amazonite, Chrysoprase, Topaz, and Turquoise Infinity Pendant

 

We selected the turquoise, chrysoprase and amazonite as they were such delicious water colours, and I added the sparkling white topaz which reminds me of the sparkling water too.

 

Flirting with the Light (painting by Margaret Ingles)

Flirting with the Light (painting by Margaret Ingles)

 

Thanks, Margaret, your visions are lovely, and you’re a joy to work with!

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings


White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

 

I had originally created these seaglass earrings to be listed in my shop, but after some consideration, I decided I had to keep them for myself!

 

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

 

Y’ know, that happens sometimes. Especially when it’s a one of a kind piece!! ūüôā

 

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

The Ocean Cleanup

It’s a very scary thought – since we humans started making plastic, millions of tons of it¬†have entered our oceans. Plastic NEVER biodegrades, and so it simply bobs around in the sea. Due to the movement of the water around the world, this discarded rubbish¬†concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres.¬†The Ocean Cleanup is developing world‚Äôs first feasible method to rid the oceans of plastic. The Ocean Cleanup‚Äôs goal is to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution by initiating the largest cleanup in history.

 

At least one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution. The survival of many species could be jeopardized by plastic debris. On top of that, plastic pollution is a carrier of invasive species, threatening native ecosystems, to say nothing of the economic and health effects this plastic waste has on human beings.

While diving in Greece, Boyan Slat became frustrated when coming across more plastic bags than fish, and wondered: “why can’t we clean this up?” He decided to dedicate half a year of research to understand plastic pollution and the problems associated with cleaning it up. This ultimately led to the passive cleanup concept,¬†The Ocean Cleanup. A team of approximately 100 committed people, performing research in the fields of engineering, physical oceanography, ecology, finance, maritime law, processing and recycling, are all working to make this concept a reality.

Ocean Cleanup Concept

An array of floating barriers and platforms are attached to the sea bed to concentrate the plastic before extracting it from the ocean Рa collection process which is 100% driven by the natural winds and currents. Instead of nets, solid floating barriers make entanglement of wildlife impossible. Virtually all of the current flows underneath these booms, taking away all neutrally buoyant organisms, while the lighter-than-water plastic remains in front of the floating barrier, up to the microscopically sized particles. The scalable array of moorings and booms is designed for large-scale deployment, covering millions of square kilometers. Thanks to its projected high capture and field efficiency, a single gyre can be covered in just 5 years. The method is theoretically highly cost-effective.

 

What worthier cause than the health of our beautiful oceans? 10% of all The Silver Forge sales will be donated to The Ocean Cleanup this month. Head to my shop now to help out, won’t you? I love to support enterprising and hardworking people dedicating themselves to the future of our planet!

Heart Shaped Sea Glass and Sterling Silver Pendant

Heart Shaped Sea Glass and Sterling Silver Claw Set Pendant

Heart Shaped Sea Glass and Sterling Silver Pendant

Alana had me create this seaglass and sterling silver pendant for a friend of hers a little while ago, and she asked me if I would be able to create her a pendant using a piece of seaglass that she had found.

Heart Shaped Sea Glass and Sterling Silver Pendant

It’s a lovely heartshaped piece, beautifully soft from its time in the ocean!

Heart Shaped Sea Glass and Sterling Silver Pendant

I think it looks as good from the reverse as it does from the front. I hope Alana enjoys it!

Surfrider Foundation Australia

Wave Goodbye (Photo credit Elgarboart)

Wave Goodbye (Photo credit Elgarboart)

Surfrider Foundation Australia is a not for profit sea-roots organisation dedicated to the protection of Australia’s waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research and education.

Surfrider Foundation Banner

Amongst other campaigns, Surfrider are currently campaigning to promote awareness about plastics and what they are doing to our world. Here are a few chilling facts from the Surfrider website:

  • Most plastic pollution at sea starts out on land as litter on beaches, streets and footpaths. Rain or overwatering flushes that litter through a storm drain system or directly to creeks, streams and rivers that lead to the ocean. After plastics enter the marine environment they slowly photodegrade into smaller pieces that marine life can mistake for food, sometimes with fatal results.
  • Ocean gyres concentrate plastic pollution in five main areas of the world‚Äôs ocean and various research groups are bringing back alarming data documenting plastics impacts.
  • The amount of plastic produced from 2000 ‚Äď 2010 exceeds the amount produced during the entire last century.
  • Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide.
  • An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.
  • Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources.
  • Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris.
  • In 2009 about 3.8 million tons of waste plastic ‚Äúbags, sacks and wraps‚ÄĚ were generated in the United States alone, but only 9.4% of this total was recycled.
  • Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins, and enter our food chain through fish, sea birds and other marine life.
  • Plastic bags are problematic in the litter stream because they float easily in the air and water, traveling long distances and never fully breaking down in water.
  • Cleanup of plastic bags is costly. for example California spends $25 million annually to landfill discarded plastic bags, and public agencies spend more than $300 million annually in litter cleanup.
  • It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the country.¬†

Surfrider Rise Above Plastics

RISE ABOVE PLASTICS

Here are ten easy things you can do to reduce your ‚Äėplastic footprint‚Äô and help keep plastics out of the marine environment:

  • Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
  • Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other ‚Äėdisposable‚Äô plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq‚Äôs, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
  • Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
  • Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
  • Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
  • Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
  • Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  • Volunteer at a beach cleanup. Surfrider Foundation Chapters often hold cleanups monthly or more frequently.
  • Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling.
  • Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics!

Blue Sparkles Handblown Glass Bubble and Sterling Silver Earrings

And from me, a reminder to you all, although the sentiment is a lovely one, please don’t release helium balloons into the air – they end up in our oceans, where turtles and other marine life think they are jellyfish, and get sick and or die from ingesting the rubber. 10% of all The Silver Forge Sales for this mnth will be donated to this very worthy cause. (And for goodness’ sake, if you smoke, bin your butts!!)

Sterling Silver Coherent Wave Pendants

Sterling Silver Coherent Wave Pendants

 

While I was creating the lovely Margaret Ingles her coherent wave pendant, she decided that she would love to have one each for her two daughters, too!

Sterling Silver Coherent Wave Pendants

I was happy to create this pair of pendants to match Margaret’s.

Sterling Silver Coherent Wave Pendants

 

Margaret is such a lovely person, it was a joy and a pleasure to work with her! Thanks, Margaret, you’re a treasure!

Moonstone and Sterling Silver Seahorse Pendant

Moonstone and Sterling Silver Seahorse Pendant

Moonstone and Sterling Silver Seahorse PendantA customer wanted a pendant for a dear friend of hers who lives on the other side of the world. Moonstones and the ocean were the theme!

Moonstone and Sterling Silver Seahorse Pendant

The faceted stone is a grey moonstone, and the rounded one is a white moonstone.

Moonstone and Sterling Silver Seahorse Pendant

I’m pleased with this little seahorse!

Grey Freshwater Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

I received an email from Sharon recently, asking if I could make a ring for her similar to this one which I created for her daughter.

Grey Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

Sharon wanted the same style, but a grey pearl instead of a cream one.

Grey Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

I love the luminescence of the pearl against the silky feel of the silver.

Grey Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

Thanks, Sharon, it was lovely to make this ring for you!

Kasumi Style Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

This pearl ring was a recent commission piece – a nice big Kasumi style pearl in a simple sterling silver setting.

Kasumi Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

Jade provided the design, and was just lovely to work with!

Kasumi Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring 

I learned a lot about pearls while making this ring. The mussel that grows this particular kind of pearl makes pearls with a lot of texture and variations in color. I really like that idea, as I like the “grown by mother nature” feel provided by some bumps and imperfections. A bit like all of us, really!!

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

Cuttlefish Casting and Seaglass Pendant

I finally finished making a pendant from the last piece of cuttlefish casting I had from our casting workshop earlier this year.

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

It’s a bit of a departure from my usual style, but the casting just seemed to need some softness with it!

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

My teacher gave me a couple of suggestions for how to finish it off – thanks Sue! ¬†I love the nature of silversmithing, there’s always some new way to look at things and something new to be learned!!

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

I’m keeping this piece for myself!

 

Inspiration – John Paul Miller

John Paul Miller

I came across the most divine pieces pictured in ‘Jewelry Concepts and Technology’ by Oppi Untracht, a fantastic book that I bought recently. I was inspired to research¬†John Paul Miller,¬†the artist who created them.

Miller was born in 1918, and started his career as a painter. ¬†Inspired by the creations of a fellow student, he started making silver jewellery of his own. ¬†After receiving advice from the director of his school that “we don’t need any more good watercolor painters. Why don’t you concentrate on jewelry?” he turned his full attention to the craft.

Miller rediscovered the lost Roman art of granulation. He immersed himself in enamelling.  I love his work, it is so intricate and organic. I can only dream of aspiring to be one hundredth as good as this!!

From the interviews I have read, he seems, at 94, to be a humble and gentle man, who has lived an interesting life Рwell worth reading more about. Thank you, John Paul Miller, for providing such beautiful, inspirational works to the world!

Cuttlefish Casting

As part of the goldmithing course I did in 2012 I attended a weekend casting workshop. We did some lost wax casting (more on that later), and also some cuttlefish casting. Yes, really using cuttlefish! Or more correctly, their little (or not so little) cuttlebones.  I hasten to add no actual cuttlefish were harmed in the making of this jewellery Рtheir life expectancy is around one to two years, they die soon after mating, and you can quite often find their cuttlebones washed up on the beach.

Giant Australian Cuttlefish

The procedure for cuttlefish casting is to cut the ends off the cuttlebone and cut it in half.  Grind down the two surfaces until they are flush.  Carve a funnel in one end of the two halves, and carve your design just below that.  Bind the sides together to form a mould, smelt your silver and pour it in!

Malachite and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

I cuttlefish-cast the bottoms of these two pieces, then set bezels with bails attached into the cast pieces to create pendants. One is set with malachite, the other with paua shell.

Paua Shell and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

I had to hand these pieces in as part of my final presentation, and then they were sold from my online shop.

Pharaoh Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are members of the cephalopod family, like ocotpus, squid and nautilus.¬† They emit¬†a brown ink to help them evade predators.¬† This ink, known as sepia,¬†was once prized as a dye. Cuttlefish have green blood, due to¬†haemocyanin, which carries oxygen¬†and contains copper, unlike¬†humans¬†who have iron-containing haemoglobin filled red blood.¬†¬†Cuttlefish have beaks.¬† Cuttlefish have chromatophoric cells, which enable them to change the¬†colour of their skin instantaneously.¬† Aren’t they wonderful!¬† And coincidentally in keeping with my (unplanned) marine themed year!!! Thanks, little guys!!

Green Seaglass and Sterling Silver Initial Pendant

Liam commissioned me to make this green seaglass pendant for his one year anniversary with his lovely girlfriend Gracie.

Green Seaglass and Sterling Silver Initial Pendant

It’s part of a ‘twelve days of’ series of gifties.¬†What a sweetheart!!

Green Seaglass and Sterling Silver Initial Pendant 2

Sterling Silver Seashell

She sells seashells…

Sterling Silver Seashell

Ok, so this piece is not for sale Рbut I did create it! This seashell is the physical component of my latest goldsmithing course project brief. Lots of wire bending and soldering made this an interesting and challenging piece to create.

Sterling Silver Seashell

It started life as a sketch from my mind, and went through some incarnations on paper, as a freehand art drawing:

Seashell Freehand Art Drawing

Also as a technical drawing:

Seashell Tech Drawing

One of my very favourite creations!

Ocean Wave Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

This ocean wave jasper and sterling silver ring was created for Maria.

Ocean Wave Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

What a gorgeous stone!

Ocean Wave Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

 

Linked Plate Bracelet – Squid and Seaglass

Another of the projects for my goldsmithing course was to create a linked plate bracelet.  I seem to be working with a very marine theme these days, and this was no exception:

Using a squid as my inspiration, and seaglass as a finishing touch to the clasp, I thought this bracelet turned out beautifully!

Sterling Silver and Seaglass Squid Plate Bracelet