Texturing Silver: Silver is a metal that can take on various textures and finishes to create depth and added interest. Starting with a sheet of sterling silver (925), or fine silver (999), the metal is heated – this is called annealing. When the silver is annealed it is softer and can take on a pattern. Various materials are used for this. I use fabrics that have ridges or surface designs, papers, netting, string or rope can also be used. The material is laid on top of the silver and held in place and run through a rolling mill. The pressure of the rollers on the silver will cause the pattern to transfer to the silver. The silver can also be hammered with special hammers that have patterns cut into them or brushed with abrasive materials, to create a surface texture.
Keum-Boo (금부): This is the ancient, Korean process of applying pure gold to silver. “Keum” (금) meaning “gold” and “Boo” (부) meaning “attached”. For this process I use fine silver that contains no copper. I texture the silver as above and cut my shape. Then, very carefully, I cut my 24karat gold foil into the desired shapes. The silver piece is then placed on an electric hotplate and the gold is placed onto the surface. As the silver is heated, the gold starts to sink into the surface. I help it along by applying gentle pressure with an Amber burnisher.
Reticulation: This is another method I use to create a surface design on silver. Using sterling silver I heat the metal using a torch until the surface starts to melt. I then cool the metal and clean it and repeat the process. Each time the heat is applied and a high temperature is reached you can see the metal start to crawl. Applying the heat to the edges can cause the edges to curl. This is a very unpredictable process and almost impossible to get 2 pieces that are identical. On the other hand the results are unusual and make interesting earrings and pendants.