Yemenite Filigree Cheating
For the past several weeks I’ve been slowly working on Yemenite filigree, with mounting levels of frustration. I can’t get the solder to bind. I got Yehuda Tassa’s DVD on basic filigree and it showed me why I was screwing it up. I’m doing a bunch of things wrong, and so in the next few weeks I’m going to try and correct them and get the right materials.
I decided to try and get a preview of what being able to actually do filigree work would be like, if only i could make it work. To do this, I decided to use superglue in place of solder.
First I bent some 20 gauge silver wire into a loop. Then I did that again, and soldered (not glued) both rings closed. I put one of the rings around the head of a hammer and hit it against a brick till the wire took on the shape of the hammer’s 8-sided shape. After that, I heated that ring up and hit it with a hammer till it flattened. Then I glued the two rings on top of each other.
To make the filligree elements, bend the wire in half, and twist the two ends together and then twist the wire together until it’s reached the right level of twistiness. There’s more to it than just that in the traditional method, you have to ‘cure’ the wire through annealing (heating up to allow the molecules to rearrange and settle in their new shape) and then putting the wire in an acid bath, but since I’m cheating and doing a piss-poor job of adhering to tradition, i skipped those two steps. Then you simply twist them up into the shape you want. I did two elements in 20 gauge wire and then annealed them until their color changed (shouldn’t happen ideally) and then flattened them a bit, then sanded down the top to get a shine. I popped a little coil on top to cover the center.
Then its just a matter of winding up some high-gauge (therefore very fine/thin) wire into coils and arranging them in the frame.