Welcome to Nancy Lee Designs, authentically handmade metal jewelry and objects. Thank you for visiting my website!

Getting Back to (Art) Work

June 4th, 2014 2 comments

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.

Making a Sterling Silver Ring with Vintage Jade Stone

March 6th, 2014 No comments

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.

Triple ring shank for Cake ring

The completed ring shank, pickled and cleaned up.

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.

Cake ring, after soldering the shank to the setting

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.

Cake ring, after applying the blackening patina

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.

Cake ring, after setting the gemstone

After setting the stone, I polished back some of the patina to let a bit of the silver shine through.

Jade Cake Ring, on hand

Enjoy!


Completed Jade Cake Ring

I Can Teach You How to Make Metal Jewelry

January 7th, 2014 No comments

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.

Here’s the Thumbtack.com link to my page:
Nancy Lee Metalsmith and Jewelry Instruction“>Nancy Lee Metalsmith and Jewelry Instruction

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.

Crusty Leaf Pendant Half-Day Workshop

Hammered Copper Bracelet Two-Hour Class

Textured Copper Earring Two-Hour Class

Soldering Better Bezels One Day Workshop Class - Nancy Lee

Two-Day Metal Jewelry Design and Fabrication Workshop

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.

Other course offerings are available, typically from 2 hours for a short class and up to 2 full days for a weekend workshop and lots of possibilities in between. Private, one-on-one lessons are available with a three-hour minimum beginning lesson.
Popular classes include tube setting faceted gemstones, gypsy stone setting, cabochon stone setting, fold forming basics, soldering basics, making clasps, quick earring workshops, etc. Students tell me that they learn a lot and appreciate the one-on-one attention, attention to detail, and patience they receive when taking a class from me. I love teaching and am passionate about what I do!
Contact me to get information on private lessons or on creating a workshop for you and your small group! Classes are created on an as-needed basis. I look forward to hearing from you!

Student Work

Student Work

Student Work