Thursday, May 19, 2011

Days 134-139: Silver Smithing and BURNING STUFF

I spent five days in my hometown with my mom, taking classes in silver smithing.  Check out what can be made with my favorite tool, THE TORCH!

This was the product of the two-day beginning class. We learned basic torch technique and soldering to make a three-band sterling silver ring.  I designed the ring, bent and soldered the three wires to make the ring band, I bent the wires to make the curls on the top, and I soldered the bezel and design elements to the top of a sheet of silver.  We learned to set stones and finish the joints to make a professional looking piece.  Totally cool!

The advanced class was also two days long and centered around the completion of a solid band ring.  I formed the ring, textured it, sized it, and then added the bezel.  I set the stone and also did the polishing process with a rotary tool.  The polishing is very key and can't really be done properly with only a tumbler or a cloth.  Apparently a long-lasting shine is dependent on the polishing process.  Who knew?

In addition to this ring, we worked on small wire pieces to learn to refine our soldering and torch skills.

We did a number of copper wire pieces to use as little solder as possible and then become familiar with how to copper plate so that the silver solder joints become invisible.  I didn't know that copper pieces could be so interesting.

After practicing with copper, we worked on a silver piece and then extended the project to learn to use prong settings

We worked on using different metals and then added a post earring back.  I have only made french earring wires so far, and I am glad to expand my jewelry making vocabulary.  I lost one of the earrings somehow in the process....but they were just for fun/learning/practice.  So no tears will be shed.

We experimented with making twisted wire using a drill and it was so fun that my mom and I twisted up an entire spool of blue wire and then made them into little things yesterday before I returned back home. I ate my lovely baked oatmeal at a nice local restaurant, and my mom and I twisted wire.  We must have looked kind of funny with our tool kits and spools of different wire.

My friend the heron...this is a form I have drawn a lot over the last couple of years.  Across from my house is a little pond with a pretty heron that frequents.  I use the form for lyno stamp carving, drawing, pottery images, etc...I have gone through making a short series of them so I can get used to bending this twisted wire.  It behaves very differently than a single wire.  Pretty pretty pretty!

Here is an example from my series of dragonflies that I also did out of the twisted wire.  I still need to work on making them into plant labels or other variations.....They are just really simple, really pretty, and quick!

Today was my first day home and stationary for an entire day.  I worked a little in the garden.  I puttered around the house changing sheets and putting dinner in the crock pot.

I then sat down to do a little soldering work.  After making a copper practice design on top of several drawn designs, I worked on this series of sterling silver trees.  I will likely put little loops on the tops to become pendants.  I feel I have been very productive today, and I have blogged about it!  That means it really happened, right?


  1. WOW.....I'm glad you enjoyed and learned so much!
    As usual, proud m-in-l

  2. Oh my days, I love the 3 band ring! just the sort of ring I would buy! Looks like you had an amazing time and learnt so much. Fabulous stuff!


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