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  • Nana Louise Nielsen

Making the Wild Grasses Ring

silver grass rings
I often make these wildgrass rings as wedding bands

Here's a look into the process of me making one of my band rings - The Wild Grass Ring. This one seems to suit both men and women and I love it myself. I'll show a few progress shots and you will see why no two are ever completely the same. 

Ring mandrel, sterling silver clay and the grass texture plate.

 To start making these rings I needed first to make a texture plate of real grass. I picked some out in one of Sheffield’s lovely parks.The stalks are then arranged carefully on polymer clay – a soft modelling clay that doesn’t harden until you bake it in the oven. That done I get the materials ready for the rings. The clay is rolled out in the right thickness on top of the plate and comes out looking like this: 

 I then cut out a strip that looks promising and wrap it around a ring mandrel several sizes larger than the finished ring needs to be. The clay shrinks both when it dries and when it is later fired in the kiln. 

Here it is on the mandrel. Joining the ends to make a nice looking seam is the tricky part of the process.

 Once dry the rings need to be sanded to smooth out all the rough edges.

Above are the two rings before and after sanding. My little maker’s mark have also been added to the inside. The rings might not be absolutely round at this stage, they can dry a bit wonky; but that can be fixed once they have been fired.

This is right after firing at 900 degrees Celsius. The clay binder is gone and pure sterling silver is the result. The rings have a matte white appearance at this point and need to be polished.

In the tumbler they go. 

After an hour in the tumbler the rings are all shiny. Time to make them dirty again :o)

 The rings are dipped in oxidation fluid and come out completely matte black. Rubbing with a bit of steel wool brings the white back inside and on all the raised points. 

 The last thing to do is to burnish and polish the ring, bringing back the sparkle and shine on the edges and the grass pattern. 

 After a final wax the rings are ready. 

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