Thursday, 5 February 2015

Runcible Spoon

Our first big project for Advanced Techniques Jewellery class was to make a Runcible Spoon.

Runcible was a term first coined by Edward Lear in 1871 in the poem The Owl and the Pussycat in the third verse.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince, 
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, 
They danced by the light of the moon, 
The moon, 
The moon, 
They danced by the light of the moon.

It is a nonsensical term and we were asked to design a spoon for a nonsensical purpose, which included a bezel setting.

With my interest in pioneers and landscapes I decided it could be fun to make a mini shovel which could for digging yourself out of trouble, or perhaps digging yourself deeper into trouble. Playing on the colloquial saying 'keep digging'.

Of course, not content with using hard stones which are easier to set (because they don't break) and only silver, I decided to incorporate opals I had bought in Australia at Christmas. I wanted to use opals because they are uniquely Australian, they are my birthstone, and they are made up mainly on solidified water. They are also considered a soft stone, and will chip easily.

I also wanted to make the bezel setting out of gold, because the warm colour of the metal enhances the colours in the opal.

Combining silver and gold was a new experience for me. And it took quite a few goes to get it right. At first I was using 22k gold solder to try and attach the bezel, but all I managed to do was melt the silver plate. After talking to a couple of established jewellers, they all suggested that I use silver solder instead. I did, and had a much better result. Yay! 

The shovel idea originally was going to be attached to a stick, but as the idea evolved it turned into a brooch-like pocket watch. There the handle can be attached to your sweater, and the chain is long enough for the shovel to be placed in the pocket. 

I ended up making 3 handles to get the perfect result (I didn't like the pin connection on the first one, and in the second one the stone chipped) but during the process I have ended up with a series of brooch-like pocket jewellery.

The first is the shovel, the second is a pocket thimble/bucket and the third handle is going to be attached to a handkerchief (which is still in the process of being made).

Image by Deng Chen

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