I love metals because it is challenging and rewarding. I am engaging my mind and body through moving around the studio and thinking on my feet.
After an idea strikes, part of the fun is figuring out how to transform it into a small sculpture and piece the parts together.
While I am driven to create innovative pieces, I also appreciate the traditions of the craft.
IN THE SKETCHBOOK
I draw out some forms and note how to put it together.
Then I note what other materials are involved, and what color can I bring to the piece.
WITH THE HAMMER
After I saw out a shape at the bench, then I can form the metal with various hammers.
Annealing is heating the metal with the torch to make it more malleable.
There are various hammers to raise, texture, or form metal.
After some hammering the metal becomes work-harded, and needs to be heated again.
WITH THE TORCH
once the forms are made with the hammer, I can solder the pieces together.
I brush on some flux around the joining area and then I place pieces of wire solder along the edges of the joints.
I light the torch and slowly move the flame over the joint. Solder will start to flow at the right temperature and if there are no gaps between the pieces.
The solder makes a beautiful silver glow as it flows, joining the metal.
AT THE BENCH
I file and sand, file and sand, there after some more sanding, I am finally ready to bring up the fine silver.
To makes sure that there are no spots on the piece, I bring up the fine silver in the metal by lightly heating it with the bushy part of the flame and then clean it in the acid bath.
The fine silver is now at the surface and will keep the jewelry looking clean and shiny.
After all of the work at the bench, the anvil, and the soldering station, it is very rewarding to have a well made finished piece.