Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Building confidence

I spent a wonderful morning today attending a soldering class at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. You may recall my first experience with soldering in June was a very frustrating one for me. So, I signed up for this 4 day class (every Wed. in August) devoted just to building soldering skills.
The relaxed pace and skilled teacher were just what I needed to boost my confidence and hopes that I will someday be able to master soldering and expand my metalsmithing line. Today we learned all about various types of solder and fluxes. I found it really helps me to understand the whole chemical process of what happens to the metal when it's heated as well as what happens to the solder and how it flows. The process makes so much more sense to me now and as a result, I'm having an easier time with the skills involved.

The treble clef bracelet pictured above is a custom order prototype experiment at the request of one of my etsy customers (I love repeat customers!). I formed the bracelet a few days ago out of a single piece of copper wire. I brought it along to class today to try my hand at soldering the places where the wire overlaps. It worked!!!!! Big sigh of relief!!! I'll be making it in sterling sometime in the next month. I spent the afternoon hammering, sanding and polishing it with my new Foredom Flex Shaft. I'm pleased with the end result and I think I'll be wearing it occasionally - because I want to "test drive" the design before I make it in sterling silver and because I really like the bracelet itself. I think I'm attracted to it for two reasons; one I love music and two, the treble clef has a spiral in it and you know how much I love spirals in my jewelry! I think I'll probably use a heavier gauge wire when I make it in sterling silver (I used 12 gauge here), just to give it a little more heft stability.

The ring pictured is one I made at my June class and my only 4 successful solders during that stressful 4 day class. I had originally polished it to a high shine and have been wearing it daily for 2 months now. It was getting all kinds of scratches in it, so today when I was polishing the treble clef bracelet, I decided to try giving this ring a satin finish and then oxidizied it lightly. I can always polish it again later if I decide I want it shiny again. So far, I like the satin look and I hope it will eliminate the problem of the ring appearing scratched. It's is subjected to all kinds of scratchy things on a daily basis because I wear it constantly - even while I make other jewelry.


  1. Pretty bracelet. It looks delicate. I too love swirls in jewelry and use them often in my designs.


  2. Beautiful bracelet, I LOVE the design. It is so unique!

  3. Very nice Sandy! I have been staying away from high polish finishes for the very reason you mentioned. It's so much fun making progress! Nice to be on this metalsmithing journey together.

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