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, not...like...you 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.