I recently bought Ronda Coryell's DVDs on how to granulate using Argentium silver. I really like it, having completed a few projects using her technique. And now I want to make a pair of earrings that I've sketched up below:
Usually when I have a sketch that I like, I then try to make a template of it (since I'll need it twice) in order to get it exactly the way I want it. It's also important to get the template perfectly symmetrical. I create one by doing a rough sketch and then folding the sketch in half along the center line (twice if sketching a symmetrical shape along both axes) and then cutting out the shape. I then open the paper and see what I've got. If I like it, I'm done, if not, I fold and keep refining the shape. You can see my template below in blue:
I then traced the template on 2 pieces of Argentium silver and cut them out, filed and sanded them. Next I made the bezels for the stones (in this case, Ethiopian opal and rubies) and started experimenting with size and placement of my granules.
To make the granules, I follow Ronda Coryell's advice and bought steel washers in different heights.
I then stand up my Argentium wire inside the washer and use a flush cutter to repeatedly cut equally-sized pieces of wire. When placed on my charcoal block and melted to a ball, each one is the same size!! This process of cutting goes very quickly.
After making the granules in different sizes, I then use my diamond sieve to separate out the different sizes. I use a few pill dispensers (bought at the dollar store or drug store) to organize each size granule. You can see I marked the top of each compartment with the size granule as dictated by the sieve.
Stay tuned for another post of how I finished the earrings!!