Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tink, Tink, Tink

Today, I was inspired to finish two cuff bracelets made from Nugold.

They were already cut to size so my next step was to create the design. I decided on a hammered texture combined with stamping for one, and a hammered texture with a roller printed stripe for the other.

Hammering is therapy for me. The tink, tink, tink of the hammer on the metal puts me in a meditative state. I hammer and examine, hammer and examine, and repeat again and again. The process is easy, and pretty fast. And, the gratification comes quickly for this project.

Cuff #1 has a "v" shape pattern made with a pointed tool. I hammer short linear lines inside each "v" area. I think using two textures makes for a more interesting piece.

Cuff #2 has recessed wide roller printed stripes. I decide to hammer a linear pattern in each raised area. I like the contrast between the smooth recessed area and the linear lines.

I complete the look by hammering the side edges. The cuff is turned on its side for this step. I think this extra detail gives the cuff a more finished look.

The last step is to send these off to be gold-plated, followed by a patina. Yeah! Don't you just love it when a project turns out great!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer Bliss

Wow, summer is coming to a close, kids are back in school, and fall is quickly approaching. My summer went by so quickly because I was able to take a jewelry making class from Brad Smith. Brad's classes are always full so registration is by lottery. I got really lucky when they pulled my name from the wait list!

The summer project was to construct a hinged bracelet of hollow links of our own design with a box clasp. I was so excited that I would learn how to make this clasp. This is the kind of clasp used on high-end jewelry. We had twelve sessions to complete our project. It was a challenging assignment when first presented, but each step was first discussed, then followed by a demonstration. Everyone was so proud of their bracelets. Photos are posted on the Venice Metal Facebook page.

What did I learn?
  1. I love jigs. Jigs make it easy to make multiples. And, I have my plastic jig to use for future projects - just alter the design for an entirely different look. I am going to make more jigs for future projects.
  2. Paste soldering was a great revelation to me. So much quicker than using chip solder. We were shown how to condense the number of soldering operations. Wow, the thought of higher productivity dangles before me.
  3. Hinge making, while not difficult, just requires me to really focus on the task at hand. One wrong cut and you have a do-over.
  4. The box clasp is the best feature of this bracelet. It adds sophistication to the piece and looks more complicated than it really is. The step-by-step instructions made it an easy task.
I am so happy with my 'Summer Bliss' bracelet.

I liked this project so much that I got a head start on my holiday gifts. I made a pair of clip-on earrings and a pendant set with a peridot.

If you are interested in jewelry making, checkout classes taught by Brad Smith at the Santa Monica Adult School. This project has inspired two new creations that I'll share in a future post.

Don't stand on the sidelines. Be inspired to create!