Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Zen and the Art of Chain Making

When I first began my jewellery studies I did not understand why one would ever actually 'make' a chain.  Surely it didn't make any commercial sense to labour away on something which could easily be bought, strung through a loop and hey presto, job done.

Then, one day, I understood.

Fiercely Feminine Necklace, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2010 (for more detail see here)
I finished the leaves on this pendant and knew that I needed to make the chain (I wrote about this piece earlier here).  Nothing else would do.  The chain was part of the piece.  It needed to be designed, not sourced. It needed to be bespoke, couture, haute couture even!

Today, I had cause to consider anew the need for a hand made, back to basics, from scratch, chain.


Cut 12 lengths of solid silver rod.

Use dividers to mark how far the drilled holes will be set in from the end.

Use a centre punch to mark where to start drilling with a 0.9mm bit.

Re-drill the holes with 1mm.  Re-drill the holes with 1.2mm.  Burr each hole.

600 grit, followed by 800 grit, followed by 1200 grit emery paper and wire wool to finish.

bit more patience and determination

Link the chain.

And that my friends, is how it is done.

I look down at my hands at the end of the day and see the dirt and the impression the shaft of my manual drill has made on my finger tips.  I feel keenly the determination of two generations of my family to rise above the condition I now see my hands in.

It lays on me heavily and propels me to imagine a bigger future.  With patience, persistence and many more days of dirty fingertips - I'll get there.

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