Friday, May 5, 2017

From the Mighty Oak

Always on the lookout for interesting textures to incorporate into my jewelry,
I recently found a well preserved white oak leaf, 
left over from last year's growing season.
Oak leaves are generally pretty tough, 
making this one a potential candidate for my rolling mill.

The leaf was sandwiched between two pieces of annealed copper
and then rolled through the mill.
Because I used a thin gauge of copper to get a good imprint,
I planned to solder the newly formed leaf 
onto a piece of metal that had been previously etched 
in order to have a finished product 
with enough substance to maintain its shape.

I tried to be smart about my soldering 
and began by sweat soldering pieces of easy solder on to the back of the leaf.
After cleaning the leaf in pickle,
it was fluxed and placed on a piece of etched nickel....
also fluxed.
While these are relatively large pieces of metal,
I wasn't overly concerned
since neither is of a heavy gauge.

I guess I should have been a bit more concerned
since things did not work out the way I had planned.
Some of the solder flowed, 
and some of it didn't.
The flux must have been burned off
because no matter how much heat was applied,
I couldn't seem to get more of the solder to do what I wanted it to do.
I know I could have taken the partially connected assembly apart, 
pickled it
and start again...
but I just didn't want to.
I made the executive decision that this would be a 
partly soldered/mostly riveted piece.
Holes were drilled in strategic locations...
and rivets were made with short segments of sterling wire.

When I first found the white oak leaf,
I thought that maybe it could inspire a necklace.
It quickly became apparent 
that the copper version was a bit too mighty to wear around the neck.
Second option...
a bracelet.

The riveted, layered leaf was formed 
with a plastic mallet and my oval bracelet mandrel.
I feared that some of the rivets might pop as the leaf 
was bent and pounded into shape,
all connections held tight.
Sigh of relief!

Back to the garden 
to search for more millable leaves!


  1. You have put your creativity beautifully on the oaks in different ways. Your work is much appreciable and I am loving all the oaks you have painted and developed very nicely.

  2. Love being a part of the process... the end result is just wonderful!