Friday, April 20, 2012

Metalsmithing Class: Part VII

Last night, I started working on my bezel set ring. I've realized something important about metalsmithing: I really don't like soldering. I know, this doesn't bode well for me if I plan to continue my studies in metalsmithing techniques. But I find the process time consuming and tedious. I think it would be different if I were doing it at home with a soldering iron because it is rather neat to watch the metal melt into the seam. Then *I* could determine when my pieces were ready to be put together and wouldn't have to get the teacher's approval. But this particular teacher is very exacting; she makes us file the ends until they're *exactly* lined up, which can be a pain. And she always makes me change the size of my soldering pieces. I know, I know, I need to learn how to do this and she's showing us the absolute best technique. I appreciate it. I just don't find it fun. Then again, when I took flute lessons I didn't like doing warmup drills. I guess every craft involves some process that's a little dull. I was really surprised when she showed us how to make jumprings and a chain... and expects us to solder each individual piece. I've been making chains for a while and always use a cold (non-soldered) connection. She did say that there are many ways to make chains and just wants us to practice soldering techniques. That makes sense. What's weird is that I enjoy a lot of the other processes. I find sawing really relaxing. I don't mind filing so much; it just gets a bit frustrated when I have to file the ends to be 150% even. A lot of times an end will look perfectly straight to me and my teacher will note that the planes are uneven -- and I just don't see it. I guess her eye is way more trained than mine. I feel like such a spaz using the files, too; she's able to do it in such a smooth motion and I'm always dropping the file. I think what this really comes down to is me being impatient! When I have a beautiful piece in mind, I want to see it completed! Call it the five year old in me, LOL. I am glad I'm learning these new techniques, though. The thing is, with my own jewelry, I don't *have* to solder my pieces. I can learn beading, how to work with metal clay or continue using cold connections with wire. I just figure it's good to learn different things in case I *want* to use these methods. By the way, I signed up for Jewelry II and enameling for the summer semester. I'm still deciding on a third class, but am stoked that I got into enameling. My teacher says that it's very popular and there are only 10 slots. But I signed up for the morning summer class, so there were openings. It's only six sessions (they abbreviate the summer classes), but this will put me on the priority registration list for fall if I like it and want to take the longer version. Sweet! To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

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