Remember how this is supposed to be my Sneak Peeks page? Here is a snapshot of the process of creating a fabulous almost-solid-silver Parade breastcollar.
I have made parade breastcollars before -- heaven knows --nearly 100 times. But this is truly the first one to have each spot and plate individually hand made from sterling silver. I am choosing silver because the saddle this is a portrait of is clearly using silver.
In this case I turned to one I'd made ten years ago, in 2003, for TSII #428, Bilon's. Even this one was made by copying from an earlier pattern and imposing the circle template on it.
The paper used can be ordinary office paper. I like to using drafting vellum, found in large office supply stores or artist supply places. This medium is tougher than paper and can handle water spots, yet is transparent for easy tracing and transference from one side to the other.
Symmetry is all-important... even if the horse is not symmetrical!
For Goehring's we are doing a portrait of a real breastcollar, so it's merely a matter of graduating the spots and drawing the joining plates between the conchos.
The numbers refer to the diameter of the circles. For example, the largest circle is fifteen-thirty-seconds of an inch in diameter. I get these numbers off the circle template -- an orange plastic jobber I've had since college.
My degree was in drafting, so I have all kinds of triangles and templates. Down through the years, they've come in VERY handy for tackmaking!
I place some tape on the vellum to protect it further -- but only on one side. I cut out the pattern. Next, some fun -- testing it on the horse. Excuse the awkward angle of the photograph.
It's very, very important to constantly hold parts and pieces up against the horse. In another world, it's called playing.
I took the step of cutting out the centerplate pattern, for ease of use on the hunk of silver I have to burn. This is an ancient earring I purchased from the local goldsmith-&-jewellers as scrap silver. You can see an earstud post sticking out of the lower corner. Ye gads, the weight of the thing -- I've cut it down before this.
This is after chopping around the edges with the slit punch tool and cutting the straight sides with the wire cutters. Twisting and bending will help the silver break apart along pre-stressed lines.
This shot shows the cutting out of silver blanks with an old pair of scissors, which I keep exclusively for metalwork. These blanks are also earrings. A complete earring can be seen in the lower left corner. I cut off the posts and hammer them flat.
The first Rough Cut of the breastcollar... very rough!
At this point I've done a LOT of hand filing and shaping, trying to get those joiner pieces right! I've stuck every piece on the sticky side of some tape... one way to keep small pieces in order.
Next: a lot more filing... and then, engraving.
I would like to congratulate Jennifer Buxton on achieving one million page views!! It happened faster than I thought -- and before I left town!! Technology is wonderful, and you should know that I believe I now have the technology to stay in email touch even while on the road.