From the time I can remember, silver has been a big part of my life. I’m not talking money, I’m talking jewelry. My mother was very fond of silver and turquoise jewelry. Actually silver set with any blue stone, green stone, coral, or any combination there of. I always liked the organic designs that were incorporated into her rings.
I was about ten years old when I decided to help my Mom and clean one of her rings that I thought was dirty. Little did I know that the darkened areas in the veins of the leaves and around the embellishments were supposed to be there. Well, whatever I used to “clean” her ring, cleaned it alright. It also destroyed the coral set in the ring! I was devastated. My Mom thought, I don’t know what my Mom thought at the time. She just hugged me, told me it was ok, that she’d find another rock to put into her ring. She also explained about patina. That the black added to the beauty of the silver and gave it depth.
After that I was hooked! I wanted to make silver jewelry. Being a ten year old, silversmithing was out of my reach just then.
Fast forward thirt…..*cough*….years and I was given the opportunity to take a silver smithing class! WOOT! I jumped on it!
It’s a really basic 4 week class that teaches me the techniques for making a pendant that I can apply to any piece I’d like to make. I can use what I learn here to add to my PMC (precious metal clay) projects.
Having never done anything like this before, not to mention never used anything more complicated than a kitchen torch, this was exciting!
Here was my work station at my Lapidary Club silversmithing room:
A few of the cool things about the Lapidary Club I belong too is that not only do they give classes that are less expensive than the colleges and the rec centers I’m close to, but I can use all of their equipment! Torches, cabbing machines, rock saws, faceting machines, casting equipment, kilns, you name it. As of this post, I’m comfortable with using the torch, I can grind me a pretty good cabochon:
and I can saw rocks like nobody’s business.
The instructor, a really cool dude named John Poole, is really patient. I like his teaching style. He shows you what he does, then lets you do it. If you screw it up, he shows you again with maybe a couple of helpful suggestions, then expects you to do it again. I tend to learn best that way.
First, I practiced on copper:
The first two I screwed up spectacularly! The third one was pretty good.
On to silver! First try at the bezel…well:
not so much. Melted it right good. One more try:
WOOT! Now for the wire I twisted:
Now realize that I’m three classes in and I have one more to go. These photos were over the course of three classes. Can’t wait to post the finished piece. My Mom would be proud!