The leaves are turning, the air is crisp, it’s time to get back in the studio and take a class with us!
NR: My favorite musician is Macklemore…I’m more of an audiobook addict since I spend so much time in my studio. My favorite book of late is The Nightingale.
NR: I took a couple of silversmithing courses in college over 20 years ago. I made a really fun ring with lost cast wax that I was proud of at the time.
NR: My recent collection of botanical jewelry has taught me a tremendous amount about complex soldering, how to use heat syncs, how to heat just enough of the surrounding silver for the filler metal to melt perfectly into targeted seams, and how to make the most use of my pick while soldering.
NR: Yes…this one. It’s a larch cone. Soldering on each of the tiny layers presented a challenge.
NR: These poppy seed pods, primarily because it’s easy to explode a sphere while soldering on the additional components.
NR: I can’t say that I have just one favorite artist, but I’ve recently discovered the work of John Grade: http://johngrade.com. I would love to take him out for a glass or two of wine and listen to his story. As an artists, how did he reach where he is today?
Saturday + Sunday | July 16 + 17 | 11am-5:00pm | $240 | Register Now!
In this weekend workshop we’ll be exploring different styles and techniques to create your Perfect Pendant. Learn to construct bezel settings for cabochon, faceted gemstones, and fancy shaped stones. Working with sterling silver, we use hammer and stamps, as well as high polish, and oxidized finishes to accentuate textures and highlight designs. Students may bring their own stones or purchase from the tutor’s collection. Materials are provided.
Check out some of our students amazing work!!!
Join us this weekend for a great foundation class in stone setting!
This Saturday and Sunday, Dec 12 + 13, 11am-5:30pm Register Now!
The bezel setting is the earliest method for setting gemstones into jewelry – and hasn’t changed much over the last few thousands years. To create a bezel, you take a piece of metal and fabricate it to the size and shape of the outside of the stone. You then place the stone inside the bezel and push the metal over the top the stone.
Bezels are a simple, clean and secure approach to setting gemstones. They keep your gem safe and clean from dirt and don’t catch clothing.
photo source: The Why Files
Best known for its use in things like surgical tools, building supports, electrical appliances, and hot water heaters, steel is often used to create objects where strength and safety are of utmost importance. However, despite its industrial reputation, it can also be used to create delicate and intricate jewelry.
There are several types of steel used in jewelry-making, the two most popular being stainless steel and mild steel. Stainless steel is an alloy of steel that contains at least 10% chromium, which combines with oxygen to create a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide. This protective layer is what makes it “stainless”, however despite its title, stainless steel is not actually “stainless” but just extremely resistant to corrosion. Mild steel, or “carbon steel” is an alloy of steel that has no more than 2% carbon and no other appreciable alloying element, it differs from stainless steel because it is not resistant to corrosion and is more easily weldable.
Steel can be a great alternative to non- ferrous metals in jewelry making, as it is relatively inexpensive and lightweight. It is extremely strong and resilient and though it takes a little more strength than other base metals to bend and form, steel will retain its shape and durability much longer. Stainless steel can be an excellent alternative to metals that can cause sensitivities and allergies such as copper and brass as it is considered hypoallergenic. Carbon steel exhibits ferromagnetism (meaning its magnetic), which can make for some interesting jewelry design solutions. Because of its low price tag and lightweight and durable qualities, steel is also a great medium for larger scale pieces.
According to the Worth Global Style Network, this modest metal is gaining in popularity, through industrial and urban-inspired trends and is appearing more and more in both fashion and jewelry. Looking to jump on the steel jewelry bandwagon? We have an upcoming Steel Fabrication class that explores the many possibilities that this metal has to offer. Check it out and join us for a fun, informative six week course!
Brooch by instructor Brice Garrett
We had a great time this weekend at our Filigree workshop. It was so much fun and the students created some really amazing work.
Using oxidation to bring out the design of a piece of jewelry is a very common practice in the jewelry world. However, many of these finishes are achieved with chemical patinas, whose safety is often questionable. If you’re looking for an alternative and natural way to oxidize your pieces, look no further! You can use egg yolks to achieve a darkened finish on your silver jewelry. (Note: this technique does NOT work on fine silver but is effective on sterling silver, copper and bronze).
1. Boil an Egg. Use two if you are working with alot of metal.
2. Put the yellows (yolks) into a plastic food storage container, or into a bowl that can be easily sealed. Break them up a bit.
3. Put a wire rack over the egg yolks to hold your jewelry above the eggs. If you don’t have a wire rack, use some paper toweling to keep the egg from touching the silver. Anywhere egg touches, it will oxidize faster, and unevenly.
4. Put your jewelry in the container and seal it. Leave it for a day, then check it If not dark enough, leave it for another day or two.
5. Remove the jewelry and wash it with a gentle soap.
6. Use a buffing cloth to bring the high points on the piece back to a bright shine. Cheap, quick and easy!
If you’ve ever used hammers to texture your jewelry pieces, you know that any scratch or mark left on a hammer will, most often frustratingly, be left in the metal. While this theory does often lead to cursing and hair pulling, it can also be used to your advantage. You can deliberately roughen your hammer faces and even cut deep grooves and patterns into it, in order to make your own custom texture hammers. All you need are a few simple tools- a flex shaft, files, and sandpaper.
photo source: Art Jewelry Magazine
1. Saw, file, or grind a pattern on the hammer face. Most texture hammers have flat faces with a subtle or complex pattern. You use these almost like a stamp, bringing the face straight down on the metal, avoiding overlapping strikes. You can transform a flat mild steel hammer into a texture hammer by using coarse (#2-8) saw blades, files, drill bits, or separation disks to make patterns on your hammer’s face.
Mount one separating disk on a screw mandrel with a washer below the disk. Tighten the mandrel in your flex shaft, and use a medium-to-high speed to carve a line in your hammer face. Once you carve one line you can carve more- parallel lines, perpendicular lines, checkerboard patterns, short and long lines to make random patterns, or try dipping the disk into the steel repeatedly to form a fur-like texture.
photo source: Art Jewelry Magazine
NOTE: Make sure that your carving or cutting doesn’t wear down one side of the hammer face more than the other, this will create unclear textures.
2. Sand the texture. If you choose to create a more defined pattern, you’ll want to sand the high points with a 600 grit sandpaper, so that your hammer will burnish your metal at those points as you hammer. Load a split mandrel with sandpaper strips, and sand the face until even.
3. Buff the texture. Though this step is optional, the more you polish your hammer, the more your hammer will burnish your metal. Charge a felt buff with polishing compound and and buff to a smooth polish. Now you have your own custom-made texture hammer which you can use to create your own textured pieces.
Want to learn to make your own textured bangles? Check out one of our upcoming Bangle Bracelet workshops!