Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cuff Coming to Life, back to jewelry making for Care...

I have a 20/20 respect for smithers who take their time and go thru all the necessary procedures when working with metal. I am coming to believe more and more that a steady pace is better than a fast assembly-type line (remember that classic 'I Love Lucy' episode wher she's wrapping chocolate from the conveyer belt?)
where items are cranked out. I say this from my own experience. (golf ball markers and other sweet items) :)

This cuff was started from 16 gauge sterling silver sheet. (It was purchased a while back for making super chunky spinner rings ~ of which I've made and sold.) From now on I'll use 20 or 22 gauge, if anyone has thoughts/opinions on this please feel free to comment!

It was time to make a cuff, but I didn't want a super thin one. I wanted chunky. So...what a perfect time to channel my chunky metal in my smithing class.

My instructor is Nick, he teaches at The Art League in Alexandria. (The Art League is associated with the Torpedo Factory) Nick has been making beautiful metal pieces for years. (He's a gem too!)

I've been taking his classes off and on for the past few years, and he has quite a following (students, know...followers :P)

Anyway there are other amazing smith instructors at the Art League if you live in the Baltimore/DC Area and are interested in learning to silver/metal smith, I have a link to the lower right side of my blog.

Okay back to the sterling silver cuff. I started with 16 gauge. (Crazy huh?) Well I did roll it out to 17 gauge. (It's really important to anneal your metal in between these next steps.) I planished it to even out the strip so I could then solder the bezel to the band. There are several methods I could choose from as far as placing the bezel.

There are so many nuances about building a piece like this to take into consideration~
Overall Look and Balance (art is subjective eh?)
Comfort (taking it on and off - the edges need to be very comfortable, and it should fit and sit well)
Durability (this will be bent slightly as it goes on and off a wrist so thin thin metal does not seem appropriate, imo)
Building Steps (what goes first, second, third, etc...) this is something you're taught and learn the hard way) I have learned to write things down.
Tools (appropriate tools, what will work for all of the things mentioned above, down to the yellow ochre used to keep the solder in place, etc...)
Patience (nothing has to be finished in one sitting, that's my new motto. I would rather make an outstanding piece than redo - which some of you know I will do and do to get it right)and I applaud those of you who can make a wonderful piece in a sitting :-)

These steps seem stern when I read them over, but really they are just basic pieces of information to keep in mind (I am by no means an instructor or on that level of expertise). Blogging about these steps is helping me to instill these as well (nothing can replace actually building your piece)

So...until next week when I finish the overall design and set my stone, here she is. (notice the Yellow Ochre, lol...I have 3 more lines to add. I prefer Yello Ochre to White-out for solder control) Also the ends are soooo not what I have in mind for a pleasing detail (I see the ends as blank canvasses and they make me drool...) I will probably stamp a piece of poetry to the back and, of course - my mark.

Also, I had a boo boo on my left pointer finger. It turned black right away...then later while using a rawhide hammer, i hit the same spot, ouch! Live and learn!

Driving home from Alexandria is interesting because the distance to home isn't super far, but traffic in the DC Metro area is usually a mess. I do get to have a gander at the Washington Monument and pass the Pentagon, as well as Arlington National Cemetery, all sobering sites.

Speaking of sobering...I sat out back on the deck when I got home and took this shot, I forgot my FRESH lime in my Corona! :( A lime makes all the difference.


CarolynArtist said...

psst...i am in need of a pedicure, and hubby married me for my ankles but you wouldn't know it from this pic :P

sassyglassdesigns said...

The cuff is going to look great....where do you get your yellow ocher?

CarolynArtist said...

it's just paint, and it's less toxic than white out, though I'm sure it would not be good to inhale it :) It works just as well at keeping the solder in an specific area

wireddesign said...

OOh - I can't wait to see the finished product!

miznyc said...

Having taken just one class with Nick can see how he might have stalkers! lol.

That cuff is going to rock the house and I never knew you could just use yellow ochre to control solder flow. I have just prayed to control flow. Sometimes that works. lol. I was afraid to use white out because I heard its nasty stuff to breathe.

I have some questions for you then missy! Do you just get the yellow ochre at like Michaels? And what do you use to remove it from your piece? Sorry this comment is as long as your original post. LOL!!

CarolynArtist said...

Hi Dana! :-) I look forward to finishing it :P
Nina! (he is easy on the eyes) :O
Yellow ochre is just that, paint, in a lil tube, it dries well so you can just put it on and deal with the soldering whenever, or right away. It sort of burns off when you use your torch. And I agree, the white out is supposed to be just awful for your lungs. (not that paint is any better) I admit to using white out at times in lieu of the ochre, when I can't find it...:O
yeah my post was longgggggggggggggg....i guess i was so excited when i got home yesterday

Janice said...

Cuff is looking great! Sorry about your boo-boo. :( I use powdered yellow ochre - its messy but so better than white-out!

susie said...

wonderful advise and tips. I love to see pieces in progress, thank you for sharing. I need to get back and take more classes- there is so much more to know, and I'm sure there are many more easier ways to do things (seems I always do things the hard way). Take care.
P.S. Cute piggies!

Willow Branch said...

That cuff is going to be beautimuss!!! Yellow ochre?? I've heard that it works really well, but I wasn't thinking about yellow ochre as the paint. No matter, I only have oil paints, but I'll have to see if I can find some around here. I just finished setting the stone in a necklace for a custom order last night. this morning I decided I had to take it apart (bezel) and start over. Grrrrr. I hate it when the stones aren't a uniform thickness along the edge.

Can't wait to see your cuffy cuff when it's finished.


lisaslovlies said...

gosh, that bracelet is going to be beautiful. I love the size!!

JudyB said...

Wow, nice start. I have to have that mantra as well. Not everything has to be done quickly in one sitting. It's hard to contain my excitmement when I start something!

CarolynArtist said...

hi guys! It's such a different perspective to be making this large cuff as opposed to the (seeminly) tiny rings. (my rings are pretty chunky)
it is fun to go back to basics susie...i have to undo some bad habits in smithing...and i'm sooo open to learning new tricks!
nice to see you here Judy! :-)

thebearaffair said...

Can't wait to see the finished product!! That DC traffic would make me go home and drink - for sure!!! Have a great weekend. Hugs, Sal

CarolynArtist said...

Hi Sal! Oh that traffic, you know what it's like! I always see someone texting in the left lane it drives me nuts too! (and Virginia has a new law stating that you cannot legally text while driving) people hide it down on their laps and look down- look up- brake unnecessarily - look down- hesitate-brake again- look's so obvious what they're doing! (but annoying to have to pass them in the LEFT lane!) :P At this point I don't even mind when guys shave, at least their heads are up for and looking ahead for the most part!

Fashionably Adorned said...

the texting and driving I just don't get it... does anyone have common sense anymore?? besides us blogger ladies of course :) lol