Saturday, March 17, 2012

Metalsmithing Class Part V

We're now down to five students in my metalsmithing class -- and ever since the class got smaller, it's gotten better.

I'm still not done with my ring (I need to sand and clean it), but I needed a break. So in my last class, I began working on my pendant. It's going to be a hammered copper disc with a carved radial design; in the center will be a deep blue stone with a sterling silver bezel wrap. I'm then going to make a silver chain. My original plan was to go with all copper, but the teacher suggested mixing metals.

I spent the last class drafting the design and then hammering the copper. It's amazing how difficult it can be to draw a perfect circle! It seems like it would be so basic, but you need the steadiest of hands. I traced a pill bottle to get the right size and kept slipping a little on the page.I finally got one that looks good, but I was beginning to feel like I was back in kindergarten and just learning how to draw shapes.

Once I did that, I had to chop the metal into smaller pieces with these giant sheers that look like a guillotine. I then hammered the copper so I could create a nice texture on the metal. I don't want the copper to be shiny and smooth; I want it to have a worn and weathered "antique" look. So I spent about an hour pounding the crap out of that metal! Let me tell you, it was a great way to get out my frustrations -- even though my arm was so sore afterward.

Next week, I get to drill and saw my pendant and then comes the fun part: wrapping and soldering the bezel. That's uh, going to be interesting. I'm a little scared because you have to be so precise with it. But I've gotten this far...

Our instructor show us some other cool things you can do with metal like stamp it and create "hemispheres." It's amazing how many options there are and it's fun, but a little overwhelming. I want to try every new skill she's showing us, but I have to pick and choose which techniques are right for each design.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

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