I took the Best Workshop EVER!

Recently, ok early December, I took a weekend workshop at Pullen Arts Center with Tim Lazure.  It was two days of metalworking heaven! I took what was described as a ring workshop but turned out to be applicable in so many other ways.  I have a new appreciation for and understanding of rings.  Especially how comfortable rings are made and how many things need to be taken into account.

During the workshop I made two rings.  Here are pictures of the ring I made the first day.

I started with three bands and then spaced them using rectangle wire.  After it was all assembled, I added the texture to the top and bottom bands.  This was a great review of skills I already know and a few realizations about construction I hadn’t made before.  I am thinking of making this one a part of my collection.

Here are some pictures of the ring I made the second day.

With this ring, I learned a new method of setting stones.  In this method, the top of the stone is flush with the metal.  I am very excited to use this new skill in my designs.  As for the construction of the ring, the extra piece on the back is to protect the wearer from the point of the larger stone.  Also, the texture on the front was made with a chasing tool.  Different methods of making texture in metal will also appear in some of my designs.

Creating Chasing tools is another of Tim Lazure’s workshops.  I would love to take that workshop and create some chasing tools of my own to use in the studio.  I am also excited to continue to take workshops and expand my metalsmithing knowledge.

Keep Creating 🙂

Reflection and Projection

This past year, my resolution was to learn and refine my finishing techniques. While I am still learning new techniques and products, I feel my work has come a long way in the finishing department.

My go-to finishing product is silicone carbide. I am learning a lot about more traditional methods, including finishing compounds like red rouge with a muslin wheel. I am excited o continue exploring different methods and techniques.

Looking forward to the next year, I am going to focus on narrowing the amounts of collections I carry at once. Right now I have quite a few, some I don’t even unpack at shows because I don’t have room for them! I am going to rearrange and focus my creative efforts on pieces that have been received well and more on enamel pieces of various price points.

Also, the most immediate task for this coming year is getting the new studio set up at our new house. This is an exciting task as I get to start from scratch and design my space as I wish.

Traveling is Full of Inspiration

For about a week, I have traveled to visit family in Cleveland, Ohio and to visit friends in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  While we were traveling, I had a few free minutes to take a deep look at my surroundings and make some sketches.  In fact, now that I think of it, I had a major delay on my flight to FLL and got some great new collections drawn out for the holiday season.

While we were in Florida, my husband and I got a chance to go down to the Keys and hang out on a kayak through the mangroves.  While we were paddling our arms to jelly, we saw some beautiful sights.  An egret extremely close up, a beautiful bird with such a graceful shape.  It took flight and I was in awe.  I was also taken with the beauty of simple things we see every day, like ripples from a drop, yet in the bright light and peacefulness of that kayak ride, they were amazing.

Though we were busy visiting with friends and family, taking time to appreciate all that the natural world has to offer will serve as inspiration for future pieces.

Bezel Class

So on Friday, I went to my favorite little craft store, Ornamentea, and got some inexpensive stones to practice my bezel setting.  This is because I have struggled with a piece that uses a bezel and I needed some help.  I was willing to practice on my own and figure it out, but to my advantage, Ndidi was teaching a bezel setting metals boot camp on Saturday.  I took it as a sign from the universe that I needed to be in this class, so I quickly signed up and looked forward to solving my bezel setting issues.

Ndidi is a phenomenal teacher! We had various skill levels in our class and she gladly accommodated all of them.  The morning was focused on sawing out and finishing the back plates of the pieces.   Then in the afternoon, we conquered the bezel! I learned a bunch of new tricks and tips that made me feel confident in what I had learned.  I have said before that the sign of a good class is one that you walk out of feeling like you could do it at home by yourself, this was one of those classes.  I highly recommend Ornamentea’s classes to anyone learning any new jewelry skill.

I got to practice a lot of bezel setting, which was exactly my goal!