Monday, March 09, 2015

New Class - The Montford Bezel Necklace

This is one of our newest classes and I'm really happy with how it turned out. We have a grouping of classes we like to call Metals Bootcamp. This is one of the new offerings in that series. These classes are designed for beginners who want to learn to create a piece of jewelry and have little - or no - familiarity with silver smithing basics. Each class covers using a saw, using a butane torch, basic forging or forming, soldering, etc. Often, we get people taking more than one of those classes to perfect and tune up specific skills, or just because they like the project.

Designing this class was a group project with Sarah Tector (S. Tector Metals), Sonya Coulson Rook (Metamorphosis) and myself. We started with a list of materials and techniques and then worked from that point. Designing jewelry for classes in a group is fun. It's chatty, and there are lots of jokes, and we make references in rapid-fire patter. At one point this was referred to as 'yoga after-class wear' and 'kinda cowgirl' and 'kinda beach' and 'perfect with a hand-knit scarf' which makes no sense at all. Imagine a cowgirl wearing this, with a scarf, to the beach after her yoga class.

Wait, maybe that works...

Sarah and Sonya are both trained metalsmiths who produce a jewelry line. They have top-notch skills. Me, I learned to solder in the dark ages, I got an art ed degree, then made jewelry myself (but not silversmith work.) I don't have the assembly skills they have, I know just enough to be dangerous (and to say 'hmm, that's too hard, let's try a jump ring!' when it applies!) I'm the Creative Director/Art Teacher of the bunch; I tone them down if it gets too difficult or uses tools that aren't in our basic tool kit.

We want each Metals Bootcamp class to be an exposure to a technique or skill that can be done at home. Here in Raleigh, NC, there are about ten places where you can take a metalsmithing class in a $100,000 studio with every possible tool at your disposal. That's nice, but it's like learning to make a cake at a restaurant kitchen and then going home to your microwave. No baked goods for you!

What tools do we use in our Metals Bootcamp classes?
A butane torch
A soldering surface
A saw frame
Saw blades (plus cut lube!)
A bench pin with V-slot
A chasing hammer, or rawhide or riveting hammer (or all three!)
A bench block
Chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters
A tiny crock pot filled with Sparex or Citric Acid pickle

maybe we also use riveting tools, parallel pliers, metal hole punches, dapping blocks, or other 'oddball' tools, but the basic 8 in that list are all under $200 at our store, and could get you started metalsmithing. Tomorrow.

So, wanna take a class? Check it out, here. 

Oh, and this is a detail of the BACK of the Montford necklace...gotta love that Sarah! She snuck in some snazzy sawing.