For the love of it Pt 2

February 07, 2013  •  5 Comments

If you haven't already read the first part of this story, please check out the following link


I had a call from Elinor telling me that the silver had finally been delivered and did I want to head over, nothing was going to stop me. So I dropped the kids off at school and hot footed it over to capture the next instalment of this story.


Elinor had been busy already with mapping out the different pieces. Measuring out the silver, bending and manipulating each piece into it's required shape. Then some filing, and sanding (with each sanding block a little finer every time) and finally polishing to a high shine. This is not a five minute job.


Once all the pieces have been built, Elinor then puts them into place on the 'map' ready. You can start to visualise just how beautiful this piece will be, and the stones aren't even set yet...


It takes a little while for Elinor to decide which pieces to start joining together. This is the kind of knowledge, understanding of how the piece can play against each other, that makes her a mistress of her craft.


It's amazing, and mesmerising to see how the elements of the pieces coming together start to define the uniqueness of this piece.
I learned a few little helpful hints while watching (and asking questions) like why Elinor has to heat the whole piece every time she binds one piece to another. It ensures there are no weaknesses in the silver - it's tempered and strong. It's just so fascinating.


With all the tarnish from the heating process, it's hard to imagine that this will soon be polished up and glimmering ready to wear.  I think you must have a true passion for this work to create such intricate pieces.


The soldering leaves some rough edged that need to be taken down and smoothed. Also the back needs to be prepped ready for the piece of silver that will form the loop where the chain will go through so this piece can be worn.


Elinor preps the silver by rolling it through the press, hammering it and bending it into shape. Compared to the rest of the piece this is quite small, but it is very important.


Tried, filed and tried again. The little piece of silver is made to measure and fit perfectly. Then it's a case of bind the two pieces together.


Using a bonding solder that melts at a lower temperature than the other solder Elinor had been using; it looks like a soggy clay and it also smokes quite a bit when it reaches temperature; it doesn't smell of roses, but it creates great images.


Finally, the completed sliver work is finished and goes into the 'pickle' to prepare it ready for polishing. From the pickle it dries in the bowl of gravel looking cereal. 
Afterwards, one of the longest processes of the whole job begins; with hand tools and electrical ones, the polishing starts. This is when the piece starts to come to life. It'll be ready for the stones to be set, but first the sliver needs to head off to London to be Hallmarked.

Patience is a very important part of this whole process, whether polishing or waiting, some things that are worth doing well can often take time.

I've had a call from Elinor to arrange for the final shoot, which is when she'll set the stones into the mounts. I'm really looking forward to seeing this piece finished. It's been a wonderful journey and although I've got a little more knowledge, I'm also aware how just how much there is still to know about this craft.

If you want to see more of Elinor Cambray's work, please go along to her website

Or you can visit her at Fisherton Mill, 108 Fisherton Street, Salisbury, SP2 7QY


Importantly, watch out for the third and final instalment to see how this piece looks when it's finished.






Jane Breakell(non-registered)
Now desperate to see the finished article, this has been a really interesting and informative story to follow Barbara and your images have really brought it to life. Don't forget to send me the link for the final piece!
Wonderful read with such a beautiful narrative through the photography - it really brings this talented lady's day to life with so much emotion. You are a talented photographer, and writer. Looking forward to the next blog.
Wonderful feature, your images really make this story come to life and its fascinating to see the piece taking shape. Looking forward to part three !
Great to see the story unfolding. Such a nice blog to read.
Alexandra Davies(non-registered)
Babs, I could read and re-read this and look at the pictures time and time again, it's simply fascinating. Beautiful images put to a lovely story.
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