Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures in metal.

Last year around this time I was searching for a class in metalsmithing. I actually found one that I wanted to take, but it was full and registration was closed. I put it on my trusty google calendar to look for this year.

When January rolled around, I was on it like a hawk! I registered and paid for my 3-day workshop, Basic Metalsmithing Techniques, the day it opened up. I was so excited. Then the waiting started. Waiting for confirmation that there were enough interested students. Then waiting for the supply list to be released in April. And, of course, waiting for June 24. Waiting, waiting, waiting!

Well, I'm not one to wish away spring, that's for sure, but I was happy when my weekend finally came up. It was Friday evening, all day Saturday, and most of the day Sunday. I was nervous too. I've never used a torch, a belt sander, a rolling mill... I could go on. That's why I was taking the class though. There were 12 students total, a couple of them were in the same newbie boat as me. Our instructor was a gem, no pun intended. She is an awesome artist and just an awesome person! Her name is Ginger Seiple, you can google her to see her gorgeous jewelry.

We spent the weekend watching Ginger's demos, learning to properly handle and use various tools and completing some of our very own projects. It was really a ton of fun. I'm really glad I put my fears aside (those of setting myself on fire with the torch, cutting myself with the saw or hammering my fingers... lol) because I got so much out of the class!

This is what my workbench looked like towards the beginning of the class. We worked mostly in copper and brass as it is simply cheaper than sterling silver at the moment and not as painful if you mess something up. Not a problem to me, I'm a copper fan. Brass, not so much, but it was good to have the mixture at times.

This is my first soldered piece! A pendant. I believe it will eventually live on a leather cord, just have to make a clasp. This one is textured brass (palm) on top of copper, which I textured with the rolling mill, and a hammered piece of bronze wire that I drilled to serve as the bail.

My first ring! We were given the option to work in sterling silver for the rings, and, well, I am a silver girl, so I did opt for it. I love the mixed metals here as well. I textured the cup with one hammer and gave the band a different hammered finish. This one is not perfectly round, but, what can I say, it was my first attempt!

This is probably my favorite piece. I had the half drilled pearl from one of our Vegas trips where I stopped at the Pearl Factory. I thought of it on Saturday night as I was driving home, and I thought I'd take it in Sunday for our ring projects. I really love the way it turned out and I've gotten several compliments on it and the other ring. I would look for some rings in my Etsy shop in the near future. Yes, they will be round. :)

In the end, I faced one of my all-time biggest fears: public speaking. Since I was new to Craftsummer, Ginger asked if I would address the group of all of the classes taking place that weekend, telling them about my experience. I guess it was around 48 people. I couldn't tell her no, so I sucked it up and made it through okay. It really wasn't so bad, I guess. Wouldn't want to do that for a living though!

On top of all of that, I ordered a kiln on Friday before class! More to come later on that lucky deal!

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