09 March 2011

BTW: Adventures in Metalwork (and a Giveaway!)

Studio space, wide view. Thanks to a kitchen re-do last summer I now have plenty of working space.
(It's only neat because I haven't started working in here yet!)
Time for Bead Table Wednesday! Now that the weather is warming up, I've decided to move my messier jewelry-making projects and tools out to the little studio in the back yard. This was my mom's painting studio, and last fall I moved my mosaic supplies out there just to free up space in the house and garage; now I'm ready to start working out there and want to make it the kind of quiet, creative space that it was for my mom. It's also a much more suitable space than the dining/family room for my new adventure: metalwork! So this morning I moved my Dremel, new microtorch and soldering accessories, patinas and supplies, metals, and other metalwork stuff out here, and it looks like I'll have plenty of room as well as light and ventilation to start working out here soon.

New studio metalwork area #1: Patina, soldering, and chasing
I've been wanting to learn how to do metalwork for several years now but have not had the time or money for supplies or training. I was on the verge of signing up for a local metalworking class when my dumb car accident last fall took away the money I'd been stashing away for it. Since then I've gradually been accumulating tools to get started, most recently the very affordable Blazer micro-torch shown at right, which (for now) is about as far as I want to go in the playing-with-fire part of metalwork. I was able to get that, a jeweler's saw, and two books (Soldering Made Simple and Mixed Metal Mania) thanks to an Amazon credit from turning in used textbooks, and this week I picked up some sheet copper and brass, shears, butane, heat-proof blocks, tweezers, and a few other supplies at Thunderbird Supply in Albuquerque so I can get started during my upcoming 3-week break from school.

Following suggestions from other metalworkers and common sense, I'll start with copper and brass given my total newbie-ness and the price of silver; this works for me anyway because a lot of my jewelry lately has included those metals. Once I've made a few things I can then play with the patinas I got from the wonderful MissFickleMedia, whose tutorial I also bought and have found really useful as well as readable. While I love the patinated components I've bought from her and other Etsy sellers recently, I also love the idea of making my own, not just to save money but really to experiment and see what I can come up with. Again, this little studio is perfect for that process, which thanks to my experience with Liver of Sulfer I know can become smelly and a bit messy.

So what new things have you all been up to lately? Tell me all about it in the comments section and, if you're also interesting in trying or refining your skills in soldering and other metalwork, I'll enter you in a random giveaway for a copy of Soldering Made Simple! I accidentally ordered two copies, and this fabulous book is a great way for me to thank both my long-time and new visitors and followers. I'll draw a number using a random number generator next Wednesday (March 16) and announce it in that day's BTW post. Good luck, and thanks as always for visiting!


Courtney said...

I would love to play with fire and metal, just don't think a small table in the basement is the right place right now! :)

Wishing you lots of luck and fun, and, can I come play in your studio? It's beautiful!

Kristi Bowman said...

LOL Anna, I have several books I managed to get 2 copies of. Keep meaning to give them away too. I don't think I have this one so I'd love to put my name in the hat. Have fun with your metalsmithing!!

Norma's Clay said...

During my last visit to Borders I had that book on my hands but didn't get it! Well I'm working on combining my polymer clay beads and pendants with chains to create a new collection. You can check my blog to see. Thanks for the giveaway!

Lois Moon said...

Yeah! I've been doing the same as you - gathering tools and supplies for metalwork. So far I've only soldered wire (made a cool bracelet of rings connected by triple jumprings and made a toggle closure). I've also been working with silver metal clay. Although usually I'm buried in seed beads, I have a huge stash of cabs and gems which were collected by my mother and now I want to learn to bezel. I read about this book. Count me in!

jamberry_song said...

I'm so jealous of your studio. ;) It looks like a truly fabulous place to work! I hope you'll post more of your metalwork endeavors in the near future so we can see your progress. :D Kudos to you for being brave enough to try something new!

For My Sweet Daughter said...

What new things am I working on? I have been trying to use up the beads I have before I buy more. I am failing.
I would like to learn to work with polymer clay and I want to master soldering which I am currently failing at. So please pick me to win the book, I need it-bad! lol
Shannon C

stregata said...

Your studio space looks delightful!
I want to master the art of bezel-setting cabs this year.
Can't wait to see your metalwork.

somethingunique said...

Good morning Anna,i am new to your blog well lets just say i am new to blogging in general and its the best thing ever. i have met so many wonderful creative people. i would love to win this great book i have accually had my eye on it,i got a tumbler and a really nice micro torch for my birthday and just started making my own copper,brass & silver balled headpins i have to rely on books to teach myself as there are no workshops & bead shows in Ontario to attend so thank-you very much for this generous giveway ttfn :)

Marian Hertzog said...

Great studio space! I tried soldering once. Did ok! Would love to do precious metal clay and have everything I need to do it... still can't get enough of the polymer clay... the colors and mixes are amazing! Good luck with all that you are doing!

Kate said...

I am always up for new books! And one on soldering would be perfect. I definitely need some pointers and practice.