My word for 2016 is ‘rewrite,’ and I am rewriting how I usually do things. In terms of art, I am trying to push the boundaries by taking the time to experiment and play with my usual materials (glass!) and try new ones, too.
Working With Metal
On impulse, I signed up for a wave bracelet class taught by Andrea Guarino Slemmons. Working with metal is a push for me, since a) I am not really a tool person, and b) I don’t have many metal-working tools. And you need a lot of tools to work with metal.
But why not? #rewrite! Plus, Andrea is a friend of mine, and it is always wonderful to catch up.
She lives in a beautiful corner of the world called Port Townsend.
Wildlife abounds – raccoons, deer, ducks, and an eagle that lives in a tree in her yard.
An eagle taking flight after a seafood snack.
But I digress. Back to metal.
A Peek At The Process
My bracelets started out like this. Flat strips of metal that I stamped textures on.
The copper was for hammering practice and to see what the stamps looked like. The silver strip is sterling silver that I used for my bracelet.
Then I learned how to solder. This is joining the two ends together seamlessly with heat and metal (solder). The mini torch was fun!
Look how cute it is.
===lots more hammering, shaping, melting of wire to make pins, drilling metal===
Then… COLOR! ahhh
You can’t really control the color, but I called mine ‘done’ during the blue-purple phase.
I repeated the steps with bracelet #2. They were pretty at this stage too. I almost didn’t want to polish them.
But I did. And…Look what I made!
This was soooo exciting and fun. These two bracelets took all day, but I learned so. many. things.
We stayed a few days in Port Townsend and had a wonderful time. My mind was whirring with all of the new things I learned, new ideas, and the new tools I now must have. (bad!)
I needed a few days to decompress and let it all settle in.
Then a strange thing happened. I needed to pick up an order that I placed before my trip at my local jewelry supply. The usual stuff. Except they were abuzz setting up a display for a new (to them) product: enamels.
Enamel is fine powdered glass that is used to fuse on metal. I have some enamels that I use when making glass beads. But metal…! Oh, the possibilities.
Thanks to this class with Andrea, I had new information about working with metal and even some metal confidence to try enameling.
I am always driven by color first. Whatever I am working with — glass, yarn, metal — color! Enamels are almost instant gratification. Flame, melt, cool. Done.
I went with my comfort zone – greens and blues. These are my first color experiments.
I cut the shapes and was super happy to mix the green-blue ‘ocean’ colors. I am still working on smoothing out the bead holes though. That is tricky for me.
I am practicing cutting metal and shaping it. Like the class, I am working with copper because I have a lot of it and it is a good ‘starter’ metal. Easy to handle and it fuses well with enamel.
Here are some pieces that I cut and shaped, pre-enameling.
Here are rounds 2 and 3. I am branching out with colors.
For reference, the largest pieces are about 1″ (25mm) in diameter, the smallest circular pieces are 1/2″
It is all deliciously fun! Metal, glass, new ideas, new pieces to create. But first, I needed to order a few things…
To be continued…!