Creative Process: Latitude Longitude Bangle






This bracelet was originally inspired by a wonderful client, and it has become one of my best selling designs. Click here to find it in my shop.
I wanted to share how the fabrication takes place with a few 'in action' photos. A sort of photo journal, if you will.... Enjoy!

It begins like this....

I currently use any type of natural wood that is available to me here. In the near future, I plan to offer varieties of wood that are sourced from FSC certified suppliers. Environmental responsibility and sustainability are very important to me, and I try to implement responsible choices in my work as much and as often as I can.  
Re-finishing begins with heavy sand paper




and moves down in grit for a smooth finish on the wood.

I apply an eco-friendly, water soluble wood stain
to even out the colour. 

See. Nice, isn't it?

 I use a certified organic olive oil to seal and protect the wood. It also gives it a very nice sheen. I apply at least three coats, letting them be absorbed and dry in between. It's actually the same oil I use in the kitchen. :)

Look at the shine!

I then trace the arc of the bracelet on to bronze sheet metal.

Lube on the blade,







This is a great way to restore shine to your wood jewellery. You just place a drop of olive oil on a soft, lint free, cloth and apply it gently until it is absorbed. I recommend doing this about once a year.


and cut,

and cut some more!

Filing and sanding begin...

and continue....

checking the fit...

slightly grinding for a better fit. 
















I don't use the blue synthetic lube that is available on the market for jewellers. I choose natural bee's wax over this. Bee's wax does the job of keeping my blade and drill bits lubed just fine.
Newer products are also effective in keeping the temperature of the metal down, but I just hold my piece with a cloth if it becomes too hot for my fingers.
It's a small sacrifice in order to be able to use a natural product.
drilling with trusty bee's wax! 


Marking and drilling the holes on the bracelet.
































































I frequently check the fit of the plate against the bracelet through out this process, but I think one photo will do ;)

Once I am happy with the fit, I begin to make the holes for the rivets on the plate. I start with a drill bit that is 1 or 1.2 mm and then gradually move up through larger bits to get to the 3 mm diameter that I need for this bracelet. Usually about 5 or 6 different bits.
and fixing any rough spots.
 I then completely smooth out the edges of the plate, and polish the back of it to the same shiny but distressed finish that the front will eventually have. No one will ever see the back of the plate, but I believe that quality is 'hidden' in the details. ;)









Measuring and marking the tube for the rivets

Now it's time to cut the rivets! I use bronze tubing and make them myself.














sawing the rivet.

hammering the tube to form the rivet

on both sides
 Once the rivets are cut, I slide them into place and check the fit. They need to be perfect, or it will be very difficult to set them in place. Once they are just right, I begin hammering.

This has to be done very slowly so as not to damage the wood. I've shown two photos below, but this is quite a lengthy process and I'm certain the bracelet flips from one side to the other at least 60 or so times....

























Once the rivets are set, and I smooth them out slightly with high grit sand paper.
writing out the inscription in pencil.













I free hand engrave as you will see below, but a few pencil marks as a guide won't hurt anyone ;)


engraving.

I use a non-toxic eco solution for oxidising. I apply it with a small paint brush so I can really get it in to the engraving. I let it sit for a while as this doesn't darken as quickly as liver of sulfur would.
oxidising.








Once the colour darkens, I wipe away the excess and polish the plate back to a shiny, but distressed finish. The lettering remains dark, and is very close in colour to the wood.
The finished bangle. Now on it's way to adorn the wrist of a client and hold a special meaning just for her! 
I'd love to hear any comments you might have, or even questions about my process. Feel free to leave them below! 


7 comments:

  1. WOW! That is amazing that you can do all of that, just blows my mind!!!!! Thank you for sharing, I found it so interesting and cool and the bracelet of course is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

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  2. Thanks so much for tweeting my contest! I LOVE this bangle so much!! Your process is so amazing and I love how you take your time with each step. The bangle is so gorgeous!!

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  3. Wow, Kat, this is FANTASTIC!! Thank you for sharing this. Very inspiring. I love the hand engraving (well, I love it all, really). Do you get the wood in the form of the bracelets? The detail and attention that goes into one of these is truly amazing!

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  4. Thanks so much for all the kind words guys! Yep, it's an upcycled bracelet. :)

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  5. Great photo journal of your creative process! Love these bracelets!

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