Opening new doors

May 9, 2009 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

I have just completed a course in jewelry fabrication techniques at Cuesta College called Jewelry I with Linda Lewis and her competent assistant Lee or Leigh or Li. Click on her name and go to her website, which is just as nice as mine. At first her jewelry wasn’t my cup of tea, but after taking this class I have a real appreciation for her work and I like it very much.

Jewelry I earring projectWhat did I learn? Well, how to solder successfully in several different steps for one and finishing (pickling, rinsing, filing, sanding, polishing) for another. We made a pair of earrings which required soldering joints in two separate steps and texturing with forging and ball peen hammers. Mine turned out to be a little abstract because I wanted to experiment with different shapes. We made a pendant with a bezeled stone and bail soldered on. Carnelian and sterling silver pendant from Jewelry IThe stone in the pendant rattles a little, it’s not quite symmetrical and I could have done a better job polishing around the bezel. On the double shank ring with bezeled stone it is really not symmetrical (I think the bezel moved on me a little while I was soldering it and there is a gap between the bezel and base plate. Jewelry I earring projectJewelry I takes four days to get through three projects, but we were so speedy we had time for a fourth, a sterling silver bead. The designs you see on the pendant and ring are made with stamps, much like stamping on leather if you ever did that at summer camp. I tried to do some texturing on the bead, but it all got pounded out while trying to make the disk round. Carnelian and sterling silver pendant from Jewelry IYou can still kinda see the ghost of the design. As I’ve described, these pieces are still a little rough around the edges, but I’m still pleased with the result. I’m learning from those little flaws. Click on the photo for a more detailed shot.

So now I’m gobbling up all the art jewelry books at my public library. One of my new favorites is the Penland Book of Jewelry (scroll down) published in 2005 (though Linda says there are some earlier iterations). One word: INCREDIBLE. This class and all these new ideas have opened another door for me in jewelry, the brave new world I mentioned earlier. I don’t imagine I’ll ever reach the prestige that Linda and the Penlanders have, but the creation process is so rewarding for me. Check out what I’ve made just in time for Mother’s Day.Carnelian and sterling silver pendant with red agate and periodot beads

I’ve gotten so many books at the library about soldering before, so I had all the concept down. I just needed a guide and some practical, hands on knowledge to actually do it right. Oh, and the right equipment (a torch, solder paste and a block just were not cutting it– or joining it, rather). I’m a little overwhelmed by the amount of equipment needed to complete our projects. Some of it is inexpensive and there are some ways you can cut costs, but it all adds up. If I do decide to go full tilt into fabrication, I’ll have to clear some space in the garage and negotiate space with Morgan. I foresee large credit card bills.

And too conclude, I’m addicted to all this learning stuff and will have to take the Casting and Jewelry II (forging) classes when I can.


Entry filed under: Inactive Gallery, One of a kind. Tags: , , .

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