Sunday, September 5, 2010

SilverSmithing

I just returned from a week at William Holland Lapidary School, where I took my first Silver class.

So. Much. Fun!!

Had a great teacher (Hi, Bill!), and completed 4 projects, and have 2 partially done.

The class was structured such that we had lecture Sunday night for a couple of hours, and then started work bright and early Monday morning. There were 2 mandatory projects, and once we successfully completed those, we could move on to an independent project of our own design.


This bangle bracelet was our 1st mandatory project, and was a great teaching project and a good choice for a 1st project, because while it taught us a lot of metalwork techniques, believe it or not, this gorgeous bangle required only 1 solder! So we spent a long time prepping the piece - twisting the wire, hammering it, etc - and then got it set up for the solder, and although the teacher had demo'd it for us at his workstation, since it was each student's 1st time soldering, we were all a little nervous and unsure, so we would call him over to our workstations when we were ready, and then he would help each of us individually.

And it is a truly stunning bracelet!


The next mandatory project was a ring - the teacher had many cabochons to choose from, or we could use our own. I had taken a few with me, but once I saw this turquoise cab (made by my Silver teacher, who clearly has talents extending far beyond Silversmithing), I heard it calling my name, and decided to use it for my ring.

The ring was a very difficult project; many, many solder joins, as well as the other metalworking skills required to create it.

It took me most of 3 days to finish the ring, although I was able to jump around and work on my other 2 projects while I was waiting for equipment, or otherwise needing to wait before proceeding with another step on the ring. So it actually probably took only a total of a day and a half to finish the ring, not counting the interruptions and waiting.



And after making all these solders, and having the ring actually fit, and the stone stay in its setting, I had a lot more confidence in my abilities, too! And I later learned that my ring would have been a whole lot easier to do if I had chosen a cab with even dimensions, instead of this irregularly cut one - but I always go for the asymmetric stuff!


Getting these decorative balls in the shank of the ring was a pain!


Back view of the ring, showing my blatant rookie mistake: the back of the ring had to be stamped "sterling" before the shank was soldered on, and I placed the stamp in such a position that the solder flowed right over the "ster" in "sterling". So I guess my ring is just "ling"?


This was a project we were shown to use up the excess wire left over from the bangle; I only had enough excess to make a small pinkie ring!


And this is my big masterpiece - I am so pleased with the way it turned out. I used my own dichroic glass cabs, and designed this pendant to hang from an Omega or from a hard collar, and with a lot of direction from the teacher, it all came together very nicely!


I also started a 2nd pendant, and reticulated the silver links for a bracelet, but I couldn't finish either before I had to leave. And it will be awhile before I can finish either of them, because silversmithing is expensive! I want to order all the tools and equipment (not to mention, silver) that I need to start doing it right away, but lack the necessary fundage.

But hopefully my pal MAK (aka Glenda the Good Witch) will perfect the spell she is working on for me, and I will soon have money growing on trees, or something like that.

A girl can hope, anyway....

4 comments:

Kristina said...

omg sweetie i just loved the bracelet and the pinki ring what a gorgeous stuff you do =0] are you going to star doing them for sale? .. lol if so let me know =0P i really would buy them

PussDaddy said...

I think you did a great job on all of them.

PussDaddy

MAKUstudio said...

I love your creations and I'm still working on that spell!!!

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks, PD - and MAK, now I know what your spring surprise is: you will fully blossom as a good witch, and all your spells will come to fruition!!