INTERVIEW WITH GENEVIEVE FLYNN (continued)
Do you have a favourite piece that you have made incorporating Argentium Silver? What is it that you like about that piece?
My favorite piece to date is the Taro Leaves and Dragonfly Bud Vase (below). I am so very proud of how I executed my skills. The use of Argentium on this vase saved me some much needed time when cleaning and polishing. My seams were so clean from the fusing process.
Taro Leaves and Dragonfly Bud Vase
The concept of the vase comes from my adoration of antique bud vases that graced the tables of the Victorian and Art Nouveau eras.
It was spring when I decided to sketch my design for the vase. My studio window looks out onto a small pond in my backyard and I found myself watching the dragonflies land on my plants in the pond, more than I should have. In my mind it was only natural to have dragonflies in the design. Although I do not have a taro plant in my pond I fell in love with the shape of the taro leaf. I decided that the dragonfly resting on the taro leaf was to be the design on the body of the vase. I am passionate about the chasing and repoussé technique, hence the leaves and dragonfly body were to be created with this technique.
While laying out the pattern of the dragonfly I made the decision that the wings were going to be pierced and attached with 18k yellow gold rivets. This allowed the wings a little bit of movement but to be attached securely and give the vase another 3-dimensional component. While chasing the edge of the taro leaves I decided to remove sections of the Argentium between the taro leaves. By doing this it gives the vase more interest when looking at it. But it also meant that if I wanted the vase to be functional I would need to find someone that could custom blow a glass insert. I was in luck as I found an aspiring young man who is a glass blower in Kansas City, Tyler Kimball - Monarch Glass Studio became my source for the glass insert.
Even though I had sketched my preliminary design I was not sure how the base was going to look. I knew that I wanted to have some forged branches encircling the base, so I proceeded to forge out a few wires to choose from. This allowed me to lay the forged pieces in several different patterns before making a final decision of placement. During this process it became clear to me that the base needed to be simple, so as not to draw attention away from the vase.
I have not fused a long seam in Argentium, such as the seam on my cone shape used for the body of the vase. I chose to do a lap joint and solder the seam, which was then planished to blend seamlessly across the surface of the vase. I fused the two discs used for the base and then soldered the forged branches onto the base. Once the body of the vase was completed I attached a wire surrounding the rim. I then threaded a rod of silver and soldered it to the underside of the base of the vase. The rod is long enough to pass through the hollow base. A custom shaped nut of silver holds the pieces together. This allows me the ease of repairing the item if needed in the future.
The vase’s overall height is approximately 5” with a base diameter of 3”.
Oak Leaf Series Earrings with Tahitian Pearls
If you could give three pieces of advice to anybody starting their own silversmithing/ jewellery business, what would that be?
- Make a business plan.
- Do some research about what you kind of business you want to pursue.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for advise, and don’t be afraid of failing.
How do you market the difference between Argentium and traditional sterling to your customers?
I explain to my customers the advantages of using Argentium in my work i.e. less likely to tarnish and heat treating the item to harden the material.
How easy have you found fusing gold to your Argentium pieces?
Once you have learned the nuance’s of heating Argentium, fusing gold is so easy. I taught myself how to granulate, and not in the traditional manner, as at the time I had no guidance about this process. No one I knew had done any granulation, so I was completely on my own. After fusing gold to my first Argentium piece I could not believe how beautifully and easily it had fused.
What are your student's reactions when they first use Argentium?
Students are generally scared when first fusing a seam. I believe it is only because they have not experienced fusing at all. Or they are not comfortable with using the torch. I encourage them to practice, practice, practice. Once they get comfortable with the torch then fusing becomes easier.
If you could offer 3 pieces of advice for somebody who has just started to work with Argentium Silver… what would that be?
Be patient, practice and don’t hurry the process.
You can see more of Genevieve's work at GenevieveFlynn.com