I admit, I was rather cavalier about my silver back then....rarely worried about my scraps, never collected my sweeps, and recycling old pieces didn't occur to me. Now, you will often find me on my hands and knees scouring my studio floor for that tiny piece of silver I dropped while sawing or forming. And every piece of scrap goes in a container for reuse or to send in for refining. Now I'm looking at old pieces, or things in my "time out" box, for silver I can reuse in some form.
Another thing I've noticed is that I'm not the only one to incorporate alternative metals into my designs.
It's a good way to make an interesting piece of metal art, using less silver, and adding other metals like brass and copper. I've been seeing more steel and aluminum being used as well. I haven't tried that yet, but I'm sure I'll get to that soon.
I scoured Etsy for some unique designs by some of the talented metalsmiths, and thought I'd share them with you. Mixed metal pieces are becoming more popular, and these folks have created some unique and beautiful designs.
LittleGreenRoom, shows how combining silver and copper can add an attractive embellishment to leather.
BobsBrass ! It's simple yet totally unique, combining several metals.
A cool pendant by lpjewelry! It's a very clean design, using rivets and stamping. The combination is very attractive.
And of course, I personally love combining brass and copper in my designs. It's a good way to way to make a large piece and minimize the cost of all that silver that I would normally use. It makes the designs more affordable for my customers in this current economy.
So there you have it! I'm seriously thinking of trying steel and aluminum next and will let you know how that experience goes.