Undiscovered landscape – freshwater mussel

This is my first post on the freshwater mussel project, because although I’ve done hours of research these are the first tangible products. I’ve photo etched a piece of steel to use to press the shell details onto copper. This first pic is the etched steel:Image

This is the steel in the acid etching:


This is the copper, pressed with the steel through the roller to pattern it, annealed and then  press formed to start the shape of the shell:


This is the copper before it was press formed:

musselroll    musseltemper2

This is Dougie working on the circuit for inside the shell, thanks Dougie


There is plenty more work to do on it, but this is work in progress.


week 6

I threaded the stalks together, not really a vessel, but a pretty pre-vessel. It would be easier to take this forward with wire fusing:

stalks1 fusingtwigs

I finished the silver scrap vessel, giving it a base, reticulating it more thoroughly and adding a smidge of silver solder:


I nearly finished the rowan berry large vessel. I used a different wiring process (which takes forever) and have identified that the larger ripe berries will not hold this large form. I look forward to seeing how it dries. I think this wiring technique with the berries could make an interesting cuff bracelet as it wouldn’t need to support itself in the same way as a vessel and the wiring could be interesting as the berries wither.

DSCF0003 DSCF0005

I tried different finishes on the mokume piece to accentuate the different metals. I think that polishing it may have removed too much of the copper, so I have oxidised the gilding metal by hand. I removed the silver solder smear to make the piece more organic and diamond burred the dimples on the back made by hammering over ball bearings. It has been an interesting piece and would like to take this combination of techniques further.

mokume mokumegane

I also took photos of the granulation as a more decorative piece and liked this too.

lichengran stalkgran

To conclude PNC1 (college project) I have very much enjoyed trying different metal working techniques and the use of repetition; I respect what D Huycke has achieved with his work and have learnt more about what I like to do – which is more organic, less scientifically controlled and more feminine.

Week 5

My berry vessels are shrivelling nicely. Such a contrast to D. Huycke’s vessels – they’re outwith my control, temporary, and organic:-

dryberries copy dryberriesorange copy

I used scrap silver to make another ring vessel, which reticulated rather nicely, although some of the ring solders popped, which was not intended.


I patinated the large ring vessel, partly after speaking to Alistair McCallum who uses ammonia to bring out the silver in his mokume gane pieces, I wanted to see how it picked out the silver solder in my piece.


I drilled and made pins for some shells. I found one riddled with worm holes and thought the repetition of simple pattern was something that D.Huycke uses and it’s appealing.

shell1 shells

I photo-etched a piece of mokume gane as an experimentation with technique. The process of making mokume gane involves either soldering, which is what Alister McCallum does, or hot forging which is what Craig Stuart does. He’s invited me to his workshop, I must work out when I can go. I thought the technical challenge of making mokume would be something D.Huycke would approve of. And I really like how the acid has eaten away the copper to show the gilding metal beneath.

etching etchclean

Finally I liked the stalks I had left over from getting the berries, so I tried some fusing of copper wire to produce simple stalk forms that can be repeated and will try and make a vessel from the stalks.

fusing2fusing copy

week 3

I finished the copper ring vessel, which is quite rough and ready, but I like the effect.


ring vessel in the evening sun


ring vessel base


rowan berries

I also tried some vessels where the granulation used is berries, as I wanted the colour and the organic, decomposition as a contrast to the more formal controlled appearance of Huycke’s work.


rowan berries and rose hip