First Online Bench Sale – Success!

My first online Bench Sale was week was a success! A heartfelt thank you for all your support! I hope to do one twice a year depending on my teaching, demonstration, and show schedules for I usually do not have enough inventory to do more than one venue!

I’d like to recap this momentous event with pictures of what were available. Happy to share that the majority of the items have already arrived at their new homes! 😀

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Enchantment Series
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Scheherazade Series
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Celestial Series
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Dragon Scale Series
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Forged Copper Leaf Shawl Pins

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Sterling Silver Interchangeable Necklace

 

 

 

Thomas Mann Workshop

I had the opportunity to take one of Thomas Mann‘s workshop at the Mendocino Art Center this summer (after visiting his gallery and studio in New Orleans the month before!) and it was fantastic. Tom was a very generous teacher and shared with us all the different facets of his trade. We did various exercises – some basic, others thought provoking.

His book, Metal Artist Workbench, is an excellent resource for those who are interested, as well as experienced, in metalsmithing.

During this four-day class, we learned the mechanic of sawing and did a quick exercise (left). We learned and practiced soldering and did two skill-building exercises. The first was to solder a piece of six-gauge twisted copper wire seamlessly (right) – this was my second try and still was not done perfectly.

A more complicated project was Wire World – not only did we learn how to solder well, we did it in the most timely manner thus understanding how it was in the “real production world.”

img_1745_wireworldWe learned various cold connection techniques using rivets, machine screws, nuts, tubes, and “stitching” with wire.

After two and half days of demonstrations and exercises, Tom gathered a plethora of found beach debris and rocks down the nearby cliff and challenged the class to create a jewelry object utilizing the techniques learned using some of these found objects.

I picked a piece of broken shell that was etched by the ocean. While I was sawing it lengthwise, one of the halves cracked leading to a pair of asymmetrical earring using the shell pieces, sterling silver, brass screws and nuts, and base-metal findings.

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First Shawl Pin Prototypes

After learning the foldforming technique and created a bowl in my metalsmithing class – blog entry on 29 February 2015, and designed a bracelet – blog entry on 1 March 2015, the idea of incorporating the technique for shawl pins lingered until I finally brought it to reality.

Here are two prototypes of the same foldformed shawl pin design direction, in copper with liver-of-sulphur patina:

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Here are pictures of how they are used on a shawl. These are about 4″/10cm long. Next prototypes will besome refinement and shorter versions!

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Dinosaur Stone Pendant

Traveling always disrupts life and it takes a little time in order to get back into the swing of things. With my travel schedule ramping up again, the plan to keep a regular blog went right out the window! A short trip to Santa Monica, an incredible birthday trip to the north shore of Kauai, and a glass teaching gig at the wonderful Scarab Glass Works in Fresno, California, later – March flew by in a flash!

Fortunately routines are what ground us. A new session of metalsmithing class got me back into the groove. Having an incredible opportunity to purchase this amazing piece of dinosaur stone – a rough piece that was polished just front and back per my specification, I wanted a simple setting that would showcase the stone without any distraction. My teacher, Lisa D’Agostino was instrumental in helping me arrive at this perfect solution.

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Back of dinosaur stone pendant

The exact footprint of the dinosaur bone was cut out on a piece of 18-gauge sterling silver. Six pieces of 14-gauge half round wire were soldered onto the side as prong. The trick was to cut the pieces much longer, file the ends to a point, and stick them into a soft soldering pad perfectly butting up against the back piece. Finally a curved tube was soldered onto the back in an angle so the pendant would hang exactly the way I planned.

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dinosaur stone pendant

 

 

 

Cut Card Construction Pendant

This is a class project we did a year ago. The cut card construction technique uses tension without any soldering or glue. It’s done with three pieces of 16-gauge metal cut perfectly for the stone of one’s choice. I did mine in copper and onyx. Fun project!

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Cut Card Construction – copper and onyx

Foldformed Cuff Bracelet

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Foldformed Cuff Bracelet

I had so much fun making the foldformed bowl that I decided to make myself a cuff bracelet! I wear copper to help with the tendinitis pain on my elbows so am always looking for stylist bracelets so this will be worn often!

Again I used the same liver of sulfur method from Robyn Cornelius’ tutorial.

I ordered some copper sheets in a variety of thicknesses and found this fabulous book, Creative Metal Forming, by Betty Helen Longhi and Cynthia Eid. I see more foldforming projects in my future! 🙂

Foldformed Bowl

 

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Foldformed bowl

I was going to write about my metalsmithing projects chronologically from the firstOctober 2014 class on but for a variety of reasons (one being the multiple work-in-progress projects still to be completed!), I decide it’s best not to put any restriction on this writing endeavor! So we just jumped to 2016…

The first project of the current session is foldforming – a technique I have never done before and even though it doesn’t help the tendinitis on my elbows, it is FUN! It sure is one way to de-stress – pounding on metal – I highly recommend it!

Starting with a piece of 24-gauge, 6″ x 6″ copper sheet, we were to either use a square or a circular shape. I went with circular and decided to keep all my folds going just one way since cross folds often yield unwanted holes where the folds intersect.

As I was annealing, folding, pounding, unfolding, pounding, repeat, etc. etc., the piece of metal started to look like a shell. Thus when I was forming it into a bowl shape, I kept the ruffling on the edge and stopped short of an actual bowl shape to keep it looking like a shell. I know glass often times speaks to me as I flamework – guess metal does, too!

I used the method I learned from the Liver of Sulfur Secrets tutorial by Robyn Cornelius to add patina to the bowl. I see she has more tutorials up on her Etsy store … time to go shopping! 🙂 Incidentally, I highly recommend Robyn’s class, Artisan Metalsmithing Techniques: Layered Pendants, on Craftsy!

If you are interested in foldforming, check out Foldforming by Charles Lewton-Brain.