For most of my enamel jewelry projects, I've been working with squares or circles, but I'm ready to move on to more complicated shapes. Next, I'm going to make an enameled and cloisonne cat pendant and hamsa (a Judaic/Middle Eastern symbol that's shaped like a hand and wards off the evil eye) pendant.
This afternoon, I cut the shapes from 20 gauge copper sheet metal. In the past, I've cut metal using a jeweler's saw, but that can take hours. This time, I used super strong Joyce Chen scissors and they ripped right through the copper! It wasn't easy as I had to put a lot of force into it, but they worked. Now I'm eager to try these scissors on 22 or 24 gauge copper because they'll probably cut through the metal like butter.
I spent about an hour filing my cat and hamsa and crafted copper cut-outs that look pretty good:
You can see the outline that I drew on the hamsa. I plan to put the traditional (evil) eye in the center of the palm, but cover the rest with an abstract cloisonne design. I think I'll use bold jewel tones for this so it looks a little like stained glass.
I also plan to do an abstract cloisonne on the cat pendant, but I'm going to use "cat-colored" enamels: browns, black, ginger and white. I'm basing this a little on my kitty, Maya, who's multi-colored so my enamel cat will have those hues.
I have to say, I really got a kick out of using the Joyce Chens. I felt like a superhero as I cut through that metal! I'm also enjoying my enameling class this semester. I'm getting to do some more complex pieces and we have a good group of people. So far, no one has dropped out and everyone seems to be more engaged than in some of my former classes. In my first jewelry class, we went from about 12 students to three over the course of the semester, so it's nice to be a part of a group where everyone is interested in the craft.
On Tuesday, I hope to get as far as setting the cloisonne. I'm going to see if I can buy some studio time after class so I can finish my projects. We'll see. But now that I have my copper cut-outs, I'm eager to get started!