Brooklyn-based jewelry maker Carolyn A’Hearn is known for one-of-a-kind unique pieces that border somewhere on the line between classic and sci-fi. Her process for creating the pieces is almost just as interesting (if not more interesting) than the final pieces themselves.
Using scraps of metal ranging from the size of a nail all the way down to powders, A’Hearn recycles the material into all of her new pieces that come out looking…well, flawless from a material standpoint.
In this photo series from photographer Ash Barhamand, A’Hearn opens up on her process for creating her own materials that she uses to fabricate into new and original designs:
“Often in the studio, I melt and recycle metal to create new models and pieces. Because I work with precious metal, it’s important to let nothing go to waste. I even collect the dust from my bench—when I have enough, I will send it to a refiner to be recycled. This is a mix of 10 karat yellow gold from old castings, metal scraps, and bits of leftover wire. It gets mixed with a little boric acid and placed inside a carved charcoal brick for melting.”
“Boric acid and a chopstick are a few of the tools I use to protect and manipulate the metal as it melts. The chopstick can be used to push stray pieces of melting metal back into the mold.”
“As the metal melts, it forms into a ball and starts to move like mercury.“
“Different metals and karats of gold look more or less yellow depending on the purity. The resulting lump of metal is called an ingot, which must be cooled and cleaned before being passed through the rolling mill.”
“I use different channels in the rolling mill to slowly stretch the metal into wire. Often this is a process done over many hours. Ten karat gold can be especially hard, so I anneal, or gently heat, often and let the piece air cool as I work.”
“The metal is annealed to maintain workability as it is rolled into shape. As the metal is rolled through the mill, it becomes work-hardened, and annealing prevents the metal from developing cracks or breaking.”
“After the metal is rolled to the desired thickness, it can be made into something brand new!”
You can check out what the final products look like over at A’Hearn’s site.