Friday, June 17, 2016

Playing With Metal and Fire - Projects

Last week I was in Milwaukee playing with metal and fire. I've shown my hotel as well as the mobile I made for Chickie and her kittens in earlier posts this week, but the major reason I went away for a week was to hammer metal, scorch it under flame, and hammer it some more. I took five classes and had a great time. I'd do it again in a flash, even though I'll be paying the expenses off for the rest of the year. Here's what I ended up making.

Monday's project was this - the Lunar Pendant. We started out
with two small squares of sheet silver, a strip of silver and
some sections of three different sizes of sterling silver tubing.
We ended up with multiple layers soldered, textured and
sandwiched together to make this. My next one will be better and
I'll incorporate my enamel into it, but I was very happy with
the results for a first time run-through. 

Monday's class was the Lunar Pendant - a sterling silver enclosed setting for two layers of textured and three-dimensional silver. The teacher was great, the class was fun, and I ended up with something that I'm not ashamed of even though I hadn't played with metal for a year. I could have done better, but for a first-time effort in a new technique, it wasn't bad. My next one will be more uniform.

On Tuesday I was back at the torch for two classes - a Gimmel ring (also known as a Russian Wedding Band when made in three different types of metal), and a fold-formed copper encased in a sterling jacket cuff bracelet.

I made the Gimmel Ring in a size to fit my DH. I could have
cut it down another 1/2 size, but it does fit his middle finger. I'd
been wanting to make one of these for a long time and
enjoyed the class a lot. The teaching styles between my class
Monday and my class Tuesday were radically different. 

The Gimmel Ring was scheduled to be an all-day, six hour class, but I was finished four hours after it started. Since it was going to be a long day, I took advantage of some off time to relax for a while before walking back over to the convention center for my evening class. I enjoyed the teacher, but he was very quiet. Where Robyn, my teacher on the prior day, had been exuberant and active, Michael was soft spoken and a bit aloof.

I left class a little early, knowing that I didn't have this done, but
also knowing that if I stayed I wouldn't get it finished anyway. I have
some work to do on this one and would rather do it in the quiet of
my own workbench than in the middle of a cavernous and echoing
room. This class left me with a headache and I was absolutely
exhausted when I returned to my hotel room. 

The copper fold-formed cuff protected by a sterling silver jacket was a great project with a very friendly woman and her husband. She was a first-time teacher and extremely disorganized. Although it wasn't a disaster, I don't think any of us actually completed the project in class. The sound of sixteen people hammering copper sheet into textured fold-formed metal was horrific and there was a LOT of hammering going on. We didn't need most of the long supply list the teacher required, but ear plugs should have been on that list and weren't. I liked the project and after I finish the patina and resize the piece, I'll enjoy the bracelet. But I'd think twice or three times before taking another class from this teacher.

These haven't been off my wrist during the day, yet. I love how
they fit, how comfortable they are, and the gentle sound they
make when they clink together. The one on the left is sterling
silver, the one on the right is copper. They've been textured, shaped,
decorated and patinated. I want more of these and look forward
to trying some more out after a few other projects that are on
my mental back burner. 

On Wednesday I was back in class with Robyn, the teacher I had on Monday. This time I was making sterling silver and copper shaped bangle bracelets. I love these! I loved the class, I loved the project, and they fit beautifully, so I've been wearing them every day since. They're attractive and colorful, sturdy and whimsical. I'm over the moon with this project that started with two strips of metal and flame.

In this class we mixed a two-part epoxy putty together, pressed it
between heavy-gauge aluminum shapes that we had already
prepared, and impressed seed beads of our choice around it. We had
a bit less than one hour of total working time for the epoxy before
it would no longer hold the beads. I don't mind what I did, and I
had fun in the class, but it's a material I'm not that fond of. I have
a lot of it now, though. The manufacturer gave each of us one
packet for class use and another to take home with us. 

Finally, after a day off to head north and buy rocks, I finished out with this class - the inlay seed bead pendant. This was a silly play-time class that really didn't require any skill to do. It's something that I doubt I will ever bother doing again, but it did give me a good idea of what the epoxy product can do, what its properties are, and how to work with it. I'm not over the moon with my end project, but it was a fun four-hour class to wrap up the classroom segments of my trip. I'll add some jumprings to the back of this and make it into a double-hung pendant.

So, this is my "What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation" series of posts. I had a great time and I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip and seeing the various photos. I met with an LJ friend of mine and her husband for a dinner and catch-up on Saturday night (so much fun!!!) and headed back home on Sunday. I'm back in the grind now, planning my next project for some of the materials I purchased at the show. Have a great Friday - enjoy the day and stay safe and cool.

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