The copper electroforming process - Part 1

An insight into how the magical process of electroforming copper jewellery works...

Every one of my necklaces and rings has been lovingly created.

Each piece is a multi-stage process involving an original creative idea, a dash of alchemy and many hours of patience.

Green leaves and delicate petals foraged and found, on a worn blue and orange paint surface First, of course, I have to find the item which will become the focal point of the piece. 

Often though, I think it finds me. 

The material is carefully washed and dried. At this point, especially when it comes to leaves, there can be casualties which have to be abandoned because they are too fragile, wilted or brittle.Seeds and leaves that have been sealed with acrylic, with red handled pliers to rights and superglue to lefyThe piece is then sealed with acrylic, varnish, nail varnish(!) or glue. It's left to dry and this process is repeated two to four times, depending on how much the structure needs strengthening.

For necklaces or earrings, I then attach tiny copper jump rings to each item, so that they can hang from a chain.  Everything is then left to dry for at least a day. Leaves, pieces of shells and seaglass sealer and now with copper rings attached on wooden boardFor rings, an epoxy is used to fix the stone, glass or shell to a copper ring (formed from copper wire). Once mixed, the epoxy starts soft'ish but becomes rock-hard in 24 hours, so at this point I use sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish.Copper rings attached to bits of broken glass and seaglass with epoxy, one resting on a sandpaper rollAt this point a special silver paint (supplied by the fabulous team at Gateros Plating Ltd - who also teach this whole process) is carefully applied.

Copper ions are attracted to copper and silver, so will plate everything that is copper or any organic (varnished) material that the silver paint has been applied to. The paint has to be left to dry for another 24 hours in order to become conductive. Leaves and seeds painted with silver paint Thin copper wire is then shaped to create S-shaped hooks (like the shape you sometimes get on Christmas decorations). The top end of the wire is secured to the copper bar with brass nails whilst the pendant or ring hangs on the bottom loop.

The loop at the bottom needs to be tight enough so the piece can't float off but also needs to be shaped so that the copper wire doesn't come into contact with itself.Rings hanging on copper S shaped hooks from copper bus barThen the magic really begins!

Shop the Original Collection (copper electroformed necklaces and rings)

The copper electroforming process, part 2

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Find me and my jewellery...

  • Friday 19 July, 6pm-9pm at Ware Priory Artisan Craft Fair with Folk & Bespoke (free entry) as part of a curated showcase of 30 artists, crafters and makers
  • Sunday 10 November, 10am-3pm at Sawbridgeworth Artisan Craft Fair with Folk & Bespoke (free entry) where you can browse stalls from 40 skilled artists and craftspeople, showcasing and selling their handmade arts

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