Thursday, June 18, 2009

A full day of metalsmithing class

Whew! Today was the first day of my metalsmithing classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. The copper cuff bracelet pictured here was the easiest thing that we made and pretty much the only thing I was successful at today.
After several tries, I think I'm now somewhat "proficient" at using a jeweler's saw and piercing techniques.
But soldering, well that's an entirely different story. I tried soldering 5 different things and only succeeded on one of them. The rest of the items I ruined, going so far as to melt my metal. Too hot, too close, too long, maybe my metal wasn't clean enough, too much solder, not enough solder mistakes were many. I have never soldered or even watched something be soldered before, so everything about it was new to me. The lingo was new, the tools were new, and I felt way too close to my neighbors to be using an acetylene torch safely. Yes, my mother told me not to play with fire. The class was 8 hours long and by the time we started to solder, I was already tired, overloaded and rushed.
Tomorrow, we'll be soldering rings and bezels and setting stones into the bezels. I suspect it will prove to be another deflating day for me since I've not mastered basic soldering yet. I need to start back at square one tomorrow. I'll try to just focus on mastering the skills, then do some serious practicing at home in the future. Maybe far into the future. I know several really experienced jewelry makers who won't solder anything. But I have so many ideas of things I'd like to make that would require soldering, I refuse to give up on it - yet. The next 3 days of classes will be interesting!
Time for some sleep, so I can concentrate tomorrow.


  1. Hi Sandy!
    This is such a lovely cuff. Beautiful detail.

    After my weekend workshop with Lexi, I understand all the terms you used in this post.

    And please don't give up. Lexi is an expert solderer...she's known by the name "The Torch" in her metalsmith circle of friends. I'm right handed and holding the torch in the left hand didn't start to feel comfortable until day 2.

    Lexi told us it all takes time and practice...we'll melt many a bezel :) And I too found that at the end of each day as I grew more tired that had an effect on my work.

    Anxious to hear how things go today. I know you will do great!

  2. Thanks for your encouragment, Kathleen. I'm refreshed and ready to learn (and re-learn) more today:)

  3. FABULOUS!! Every time I read your blog I feel like I'm really missing the boat when it comes to designing unique and fabulous jewelry! Your work is great!

  4. Love the cuff and I promise you the soldering will get just takes practice, practice, practice.

  5. Lisa, thank you for your comments; such a sweet thing to say.

    SassyGlass (I'm sorry I don't know your first name), Your work inspires me everyday with your beautiful creations. Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I will practice, practice, practice. Sucess occasionally helps, too :)