Guitar Picks - The making of...the Swallow motif Guitar Pick

Posted by Sally Lees on


Well I love music...particularly guitar music. So it was very exciting for me when I hit upon the idea of making some hand made aluminium guitar picks.

It was a chance to make a product which wasn't strictly jewellery, though I have since made some of the guitar picks into pendants that can be worn and used.

I started by drawing some silhouettes of swallows. The iconic swallow has been the preferred tattoo for sailors as it signified the hope of that they would return home safely. It is an instantly recognisable image and has become cool again in recent years.

So I drew my swallows then had the images made into stamps as I resist print the aluminium then dye it.

The dyes are industrial strength dyes similar to those used on colourful bikes, some keys and spectacle arms. They  produce colours that are durable in addition to being water and stain resistant.

Dying the aluminium is a messy business and requires a clean environment, a respirator and full boiler suit but is great fun. The results can be unpredictable as the process has to be timed and temperatures should be controlled. I do like to wing it sometimes though and see what happens. That's when you get the most interesting colours and effects but isn't so helpful if you are doing a run of items that have to be the same colour.

Luckily customers know that what they are getting is unique so won't be exactly the same as other people making it a unique item just for them.

After the fun bit comes the boring bit! Cutting out, sanding and filing.

Until recently I cut all of the guitar picks out by hand, I am excited to say that I have just had a hand tool made and am now cutting them out using my lovely bench press. Yipeeee!!!!

 All text and images Copyright Sally Lees 2015


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