Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Mixed Media: Leather, Metal and Stone

I've been getting a lot of requests lately for pieces that incorporate both leather and wirework. The wirework I got (um, we've been over that before, right?). The not so much. Leather is just a little out of my comfort zone. I don't use it much because I've never been good at finishing it off. Now that I'm accepting more of those orders I'm realizing that finishing off the ends is only a small fraction of what I need to know.

This bracelet was a practice piece for one of those orders. The issue I had here was that the customer didn't want the cuff to be more than half an inch wide, but the focal stone, as you can see, is a bit bigger. So, how to attach the stone in a way that fully supports it?

In this case I decided that a full metal back was in order. I attached the metal sheet, already cut to size, to the inside of the center of the cuff using a rivet. The rivet probably wasn't necessary, except that I was drilling holes in both the back plate and the leather at the same time. Riveting them together made it all stay in place while I did that.

As you can see in this photo, the leather covers the full back of the stone and is sandwiched between the stone and the metal. The wirework holds it all in place nice and tight.

Now that we have all that sorted out, I guess we should get back to my original concern. Finishing off the ends.

The one on the left was finished off with sheet metal, folded over the ends of the bracelet, and riveted in place. This is also the method I used to finish the bracelet from earlier.

The middle one is kind of hard to see correctly in this photo. It's the simplest I could think of, but I'm not really sure I like it. I cut the ends of the bracelet so they were rounded, then put a tube rivet into the leather. To attach the clasp I made large oval shaped jump rings from 16 gauge wire.

The bracelet on the right was, as you can probably already see, wrapped with wire. I think it gives it a nice character for certain types of designs, but I still like the riveted sheet metal ends better.

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