I’m excerpting from my recent newsletter, and updating my blog as to my whereabouts these past several weeks. But, unlike overprotective fathers, my blog doesn’t really care. It’s rather an inanimate object, yes? All kinds of bad keyword search Google-ish damanable metric-adverse things may have happened to my blog during my hiatus. I’ll never know for sure. However, just in case someone stumbles across these words, I’m compelled to apologize for not posting for awhile.
My plate has been overflowing with more activities than I can name. I took an this unusual break from my monthly newsletter for the past two months due to a temp job working the primary election – which turned into a job with major overtime! I’m glad I did it…but I won’t be doing it again. It gave me an appreciation for artists who work full time and try to fit in their art on the side. It validated that I’m not meant to split my time! So my focus will be on my custom clients, the creation of jewelry, and jewelry instruction. Feels good to know – again.
I’m back in the studio in fits and starts, and have completed a few projects for my lovely, patient clients, and more are underway. I’m currently making a wedding band for the engagement ring pictured below, and a wedding band for the groom based upon the bride’s ring. Soon, I’l be sharing photos of more “dreams made by hand.” Until then, thanks for sticking around.
Sometimes, handmade jewelry names itself. This is one of those instances. The gemstone is a vintage piece of jade that I took out of an old setting. I wanted to fabricate a ring that was bold and had a vintage quality with a modern edge.
First came the setting (not pictured), then the triple ring shank. This shank is a bit tricky to solder. First, you make three rings, each the same size. Then you solder the three rings together on one side. A sturdy soldering setup is key. Here I used broken pieces of ceramic flameproof block pinned to a soft soldering block to keep them from moving. The rings are wedged in place and soldered. Mine still slipped a bit when heated, but I was able to gently move them back into place with my soldering pick.
After the ring was soldered, pickled and cleaned up (above) it was time to level the top of the ring a bit in order to create a flat place for the setting. This would facilitate a good seat for soldering the two pieces together.
It’s important to check the setting from all angles, to assure that the shank and the setting are centered properly before soldering. The above photo shows the ring after soldering and before pickling.
After all soldering and finishing work are completed, I applied Silver Black to darken the entire ring. Then I set the stone. At this point, the ring got it’s name: Cake! It looked like a fancy, decorated cake to me. No matter that it was green.
After setting the stone, I polished back some of the patina to let a bit of the silver shine through.
Are you inspired to learn something new in 2014? Or hone a nearly-forgotten skill? If you’re interested in metal and jewelry, maybe I can help. I’ve been creating jewelry for over 20 years, and have been creating metal jewelry (sterling silver, copper, brass, gold) for 15 years. I offer private and semi-private metalsmithing and jewelry making lessons in my own metals studio and will travel to your studio location teach groups of six or more students. Just today, I created a page on Thumbtack.com to spread the word a bit. I generally teach privately and semi-privately (1-4 student max in my studio space, depending on the nature of the class), and have taught at the Indianapolis Art Center and have acted as Instructor’s Assistant in a teapot fabrication workshop at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
You can request my services directly through me by clicking here, or through the Thumbtack website.
Here are a few photos of classes and workshops I’ve taught over the years.
Besides the classes listed above, I offer a solid basic metalsmithing class that is 3 hours long and teaches a lot of basic metal working skills, such as using a bench pin, piercing metal, cutting it with a jeweler’s saw, using metal shears, filing, sanding and hammering metal into shape, and heating with a torch (annealing) to soften it. If the torch work is too much, I demonstrate the technique and allow students to do the metal work after the torch work (annealing) is done. Students typically begin with copper and sterling silver.