I had a fantastic commission for a kraken pendant recently and thought it would be a good example to show what goes into the process of making a layered pendant. So I took a lot of pictures! Let’s get started!
After the initial sketch the first step is to get all the layers cut out. This pendant has a whopping six layers where most of my layered pendants have four. But it was necessary to get the detail and depth that I wanted.
To cut the metal holes have to be drilled to get at the inside parts of the design.
Once holes are drilled the sawing begins. The blade is a tiny, flexible thing, no wider than a needle.
When everything is cut I stack up the layers to see how it is going. This is the first idea I have of how the design is going to work outside the world of pen and paper – which isn’t always the same as real life.
Next it is back to the drill again. This time it is to drill the holes for the rivets. It is a tricky part of the process. If a layer slips while drilling it can mean I have to re-cut the layer and try again.
When the holes are drilled stack the layers and put in all the rivet wire to make sure it all fits together.
Next comes the filing. All the layers have to be filed both to smooth out the edges of the design and to ensure that all the edges line up.
When the filing is done it is time to sand it up to a fine grit. I love my rotary sander.
All the details are engraved by hand. The octopus is given a little bit of menace and the ship is given a wood texture.
For the ocean I have it a hammer texture to give it a look of waves glistening in the light.
With everything filed, sanded, textured and engraved it finally starts to look a little less rough and a bit more like a snazzy pendant.
To protect the metal during riveting I cover the pendant in a cocoon of painters tape. With a few tiny pieces of wire and several hammer strokes the layers are firmly fit together.
But it still needs a bail to be able to hang from a chain. So a little more copper is cut out.
Stamped with my initials as the signature.
Once the bail is attached the whole piece is run over with a brass brush as a final clean up.
Almost done but not quite. After being washed in hot soapy water to remove as much grease as possible it is time to play with some chemicals.
The patina (a chemical that changes the coloration of metal) I often like to use for my layered pieces darkens copper and brass while leaving silver bright and shiny. It makes a really nice contrast that works well with mixed metals.
To help the patina last longer the piece is rubbed with a fine was to seal it.
It can be a lengthy process but I love seeing these pieces come together. I always look forward to creating new scenes out of intricate layers of metal. I hoped you enjoyed seeing this one come together as much as I did!
If you are interested in the Kraken Pendant or any of my other pieces please check out my Etsy shop at Etsy.com/shop/Sarakear.