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Work has begun on my new Orrery collection, which draws inspiration from the visual phenomena and temporal events of our solar system and the planets within it.

I’ve been delving though NASA’s photographic archive, which contains stunning  imagery of solar flares, shadows of stormy cloud formations passing over the surfaces of planets, illuminated night-time landscapes of the earth seen from above and distant chaotic topographies marked by impact craters and swept by solar winds.

Over the last few months I’ve been busily adapting and abstracting these patterns to form beautiful linear designs and textures, which will be transferred on to silver through the process of etching to create the focal points of my new collection.  Graceful orbital rings and tiny moons in polished gold will be added later, with soft finishes and curved forms creating tactility.

Here’s a look at the very first stages of creation through the etching process:

My initial sketches, along with pieces of flat sheet silver will become the etched components.

The silver sheet is painted all over with black masking fluid and left to dry.

The design is carefully transferred on the the surface and scratched away using a scribe, rulers and a set of curves.

Once the design is completed it is ready to be etched.

It is suspended upside down in ferric nitrate solution, a strong chemical solution which eats away any exposed silver.

After several hours, the piece is removed and cleaned with methylated spirit to reveal the etched design.

The metal is then heated to anneal it and remove any trace elements…

After which is is textured and formed and cut to created the finished component.

These lovely hemispheres will form part of two brooches in the new range; check back later to see the finished pieces!