Handmade in Scotland by Claire Watson
I hand make all my pieces using traditional techniques
on a small scale in my home workshop.
I'm hoping to upgrade my workshop soon and build myself a more efficient work area which I can also take to my clients
Check out my Creative Nomad project to learn about that!
My main tools are my anvils (one Viking anvil in a stump and one adorable tiny one), hammers, jewelers saw, blow torch,
and a selection of punches.
And while its not a main tool, it is one of my favorites: My Polishing Wheel, because its magical watching things get super shiny.
Materials of the Trade: Copper, Brass, and Silver - Wire, Sheet, and Grain
All my materials come from within the UK and purchased through a very reputable
company known for supplying quality bullion
For my viking rings and rune rings, I will use round wire or sheet
These are the punches that I use.
The simple straight line punches on the left here are what I used to write my runes.
And yes, one of them used to be a screw driver! The others I ground down from other old tools
These triangle and square punches are of designs found on many viking hoard finds. I hope to expand
this set, and expand my viking collection.
After measuring out the length I want, I will punch my runes or patterns into the ring. With Copper and Silver I use a oxidising solution to black and bring out the designs. I then sand and polish the ring to bring the rest of it back to sparkling. With copper,
this is done while still flat. With Silver rings, this is done after they have been sized and soldered closed.
Because brass doesn't react to the same degree as copper and silver, I sometimes use other materials to darken the runes.
Brass and Copper Rune rings made from sheet cut to size
Silver rings made from round wire hand hammered flat
After filing and sanding the rings, they go into my tumbler which will harden and polish them. The final step is to run them along my polishing wheel. I have also been requested to keep some rings matte - which means I forgo the final polish.
Viking Knit (also called Trichinopoly), is an old Viking chain making technique involving weaving many threads of wire together.
Wires are woven around a mandrel to keep its shape while weaving. When I've got the right length, it comes off the mandrel a stiff stick, which is then pulled through smaller and smaller holes on a draw plate. This lengthens it and makes it flexible - like a necklace should be.
I use two materials for this technique. Either Sterling Silver wire, or a Silver-plated copper wire with a coloured enamel coating.
For the coloured ones I make end caps for them and attach lobster clasps and jump rings.
I finish my sterling silver ones by melting the ends and drawing them out with hammer and anvil.
I was asked to turn this bracelet into two sets of something for a couple of sisters. I first removed the stone cabachons, and then sketched some simple designs for the client to see which direction they'd want to go in. After deciding on size and style, I hand cut the backs out, soldered on bezel stripe for the cabachons and added some silver balls. Once the soldering is done, it gets all cleaned up in a pickling solution to remove firescale and any excess borax from soldering. I decided not to add a patina, but to keep it high-shine and polished it up, before finishing it off with the stones, and adding a sterling silver hooks and necklace chain. I was very pleased that my clients were happy with the result.