Thursday, July 7, 2011

Metal Class

Yes, yesterday I took time out and turned my attention to learning a few things about working with metal. Fine silver to be exact, in various gauges worked into various findings.

I made these....and more, they need finishing, some liver of sulphur and a tumble with silver shot....but they are acceptable.

It is sometimes hard to realize during the course of the day how much you are actually learning. I have a character trait that makes me always want to start out at the top, just skip the whole learning process. Unfortunately for me it never works that way. I really can't think of something where I didn't have to pay long dues to arrive at some level of proficiency.

With Kate's guidance I learned how to fill my butane torch, turn it on, and aim it appropriately at the silver, not the table, not my to use a rotation of the wrist to move the flame away from the silver when it was complete.

I learned to wrap and cut a jumpring using the rap and tap and a flush cutter, to flow the silver across the cut and close the jump ring and to work harden it with a hammer held at it's end for leverage. I learned to solder one ring to another by cutting a groove in my kiln brick, holding the previously soldered ring and presenting the join of the new ring.

I learned to ball up and end, and then to flatten that end into a paddle and cut a hole. I learned to smooth the interior of the hole and solder a jumpring into it.

I learned how to rivet something onto that paddle and how to make an s clasp and an earring finding and to pull my jumpring into an oval or a rectangle.

All in all, that was a lot of learning for one day, dontcha think? It all needs re-enforcing, so I added a couple of tools I didn't have to the arsenal and a little more silver. I'm less intimidated but also far from a professional result. My mind doesn't think metal, so I'm not entirely sure how to use it design wise yet, but learning new skills is always a positive.

Kate has a way of being passionate but low key, always watching, jumping in with the right information as necessary while letting one learn from their own process. I had a great day.


Danielle said...

I think you did a fabulous job! Just being able to create and make your own clasps will lead to inspirtaion for other unique pieces! Sounds like you had a great day and learned an awful lot.

lynsey said...

your findings are lovely. Sounds like a great class

tinybeads2004 said...

Wow, you learned a LOT in one day. I need a course like this too. congrats, Marcia!

Sally Anderson said...

That sounds like a week-long class not a day! I love your clasp and would love to take a class from Kate, too! How terrific to learn new tricks!

sandi m said...

What a great summary. Felt like I was back in Kate's class - and it's been 5 years! She is the best.
I'm not a seed beader, but always marvel at your work.
I can envision some beautiful fine silver ring chain with a magnificent seed bead pendant design in muted colors and crystals incorporating a larger hammered ring....

sue said...

your description of the class is very educational in itself--great writing. Glad you all are having a chance to work together. A class with Kate is eye-opening.

Nissa said...

I would love to learn metal work from a 'professional', however I have the 'why waste money when I can make/learn it myself' syndrome. So I'm basically teaching myself, starting off with simple metal clay then hopefully I'll get around to the real fun metal smithing stuff.
By the way, I'm a new follower, you can find me at