Work in progress

I made a few more open shank rings last weekend. It’s amazing to me how much faster (and more neatly!) I’m producing things than I was at the beginning of the summer.

Sapphires

Gradually working up the courage and skill to work with smaller stones and gems. These are 4 mm sapphires from @rosecutselect. I am equally thrilled and terrified to set them! Stay tuned …

Playing with patterns

Last winter I patterned these four pre-cut copper discs in a rolling mill. Yummy, right?! I *really* want to do basse taille (an enameling technique where you reveal some of the metal) on them, but it is waaaay harder than I anticipated, especially with the equipment I have. In this work in progress shot, the dark blue is counter enamel (for the back of the piece).

Workshop improvements

Even with layers of cold weather gear on, around Halloween last year it got too cold for me to do any more metalsmithing in the garage. I was feeling really discouraged about it, and not sure how to channel all the creativity energy I had at the time.

On a whim, I had a handyman come and assess what it would take to overhaul my little corner of the garage. Knowing that I would not be able to metalsmith for a few months, I gave away the rickety table I was using, as well as a bunch of mismatched shelves. He put in butcherblock, shelving, and overhead lighting.

Continue reading “Workshop improvements”

Texture plates

I’ve been wanting to etching steel plates so I can make my own patterns on metal. The technique I’m using here is one that I learned from a Leslie Villareal YouTube video.

I like the idea of having end-to-end control of the creative outcome on these plates, and being able to create patterns that aren’t generally available. And it’s a bonus that I can prepare the vinyl resist during the winter months when it’s too cold to be in my garage workshop.

Homemade jump rings

One of the many things I love about metalsmithing is that I have Beginner’s Mind – I have no illusions about my level of mastery. I derive so much pleasure in learning how to use new tools, and then making components I would have purchased in the past. Here are some pictures from a few weeks ago, when I successfully made my own jump rings.

Sawing practice

Finally getting around to posting this. It’s another piece I did to practice my sawing. Lots of imperfections but I still enjoyed the process! Trying to decide whether I’m going to do it again in silver. Pattern from @lucywalkerjewellery.

Augustus Rose

I’ve been spending hours surfing Pinterest, looking for inspiration – especially simple ways to add a bail to a pendant. Along the way I found an archival scan of a jewelry making book by Augustus Rose from 1917. After seeing this piece I was inspired to reproduce it. I had to learn how to transfer a design to metal, pierce it with a drill, and then saw it. It was a test of my limited sawing skills but I still enjoyed it thoroughly!

A few weeks later, I made the same Augustus Rose piece again in silver. My sawing skills have improved thanks to Metalsmithing class at @lillstreetmetals. Plus, silver is much easier to work with than copper … and thinner sawblades helped too. I’ve gone from hating sawing to finding it *really* cathartic in just a few months. #silversmith

Ruby chrosite pendant

I’ve been researching and practicing different bail techniques. Setting this ruby chrosite was just barely within reach but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

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