My boy Frodo is my own Cheshire cat. Not only is he stripy and is a pale orangey-pink, he was also born in Cheshire and he has the cutest smiley mouth (it really does turn up at the corners and looks like he’s smiling).
Now Frodo has always been important but even more so now that he has CRF (Chronic Renal Failure or Kidney disease to the rest of us). I’ve got lots of sketches of him as he is quite the laid-back kitty, and I decided to turn one into a brooch design.
As he is such a pale coppery pink, what better than to make his brooch out of copper. I used the same technique as with yesterday’s bat pin but with silver wire on copper sheet. I won’t go into the same details (go read my bat post!) but I will say that after cutting out all the pieces, I soldered the face first, the leg next and then soldered both to the body.
I don’t know if it was just me, but I had way more trouble soldering silver onto copper than copper onto silver. I think that the melting point of copper is lower (don’t quote me on that until I can go check) but anyway it was a headache I could do without and I think I spent way too much time soldering and problem-solving because of it.
I don’t have any way of cutting tiny circles, except by hand, so I decided to take two of my silver beads (they were flattish rather than round to begin with) and hammer them flat. I also filed into the middle to make the cat-eye shape I wanted.
The brooch pin was made by coiling silver wire around a thin mandrel about 4 times (you could use a thin knitting needle or a metal skewer as long as it’s cross-section was round) and soldering the last loop of the coil to the back of the brooch. The unsoldered loops of the coil are then (as one) pulled 90° to the side (making sure the tail of the pin is uppermost) and then the pin is trimmed to size and the end filed to a point. I don’t push the pin down horizontal to the back until after I have added the catch. The catch was added the same way but the wire had only one loop which was soldered in place. The tail of the wire was then cut to size and curled round, leaving a gap for the pin to tuck under and be held in the curve of the catch.
I wanted the silver to have a high shine but the copper to be more muted. With this in mind, I haven’t tumbled this piece but polished by hand and with silicon polishing wheels on the rotary “drill”.
As I type, it’s 1am and my Frodo brooch is still a little polish away from being finished. I will post this and then add the photo tomorrow, when it’s all shiny and pretty. I’ll also add a photo of the pretty boy it’s based on.
BTW, just in case anyone was wondering … Frodo was originally a nickname for him when he was a little kitten and we were trying to think of a proper name. He has the hairiest, tufty-est paws I had ever seen (he’s half Maine Coon) and he ate at least seven breakfasts a day. The name just stuck and forever after, he has been known as Frodo (but more often as Mr Frodo or Frodo Bun (short for bunny – a term of endearment, just not a species-correct one).