Steely Explorations

Over the past week, I have been quite aesthetically focussed, exploring the possibilities of working with mild steel. Hand forming was hard going, but not impossible. With the invaluable technical help and experience of Paul Evans, we decided to see if we could spin steel. Spinning steel is common place in the engineering world, but apparently this hasn’t been attempted before in the SOJ.

My interest is always spiked if I can utilise such an old technique in my work and to both mine and Paul’s surprise, it worked really well. There are obvious restrictions in size, gage and shape. The limitation of a circular shape, is easily overcome by piercing the steel post spinning. The process was really quick, and really opens up some options.

I have been quite captivated by the clash of the modern form of my ‘family history dice‘ against the more traditional base, so I have also been pursuing realising these in steel. These could easily be laser welded, but I was intrigued to find out how it would behave when soldered. On first attempt, soldering like hand forming steel was tough – I have invested in some different flux, so I am impatient to see if this makes any difference.

I am really playing with the different compositions, by enclosing magnets into my jewellery, only one component needs to be steel – This of course opens up material options. In each varying configuration, a different magnetic specification will be required, mostly based on a balance of weight verses function. So, in the background I have also been continuing my magnetic research – Testing out the magnetic fields through fabrics and materials as well as exploring taking advantage of the magnetic poles.

I am focussed on one element embedding, nestling into the other, and analysing options to materialise this. Hard against soft, steel set into wool, vitreous enamel encapsulated by fur. Almost organically, my iconic vintage shaped ‘base‘ forms have evolved into just that – A base, a box, and a home to keep your sentimental tales of provenance.


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