Posts Tagged ‘jewelry class’

I’ve been super busy these past 2 weeks working on pattern-writing and design, and working on advertising. I have a collection of 6 hats that I’ve been working on for self-publication (due for release in late October/early November), and I have 2 secret projects that are due in 3 weeks. Furthermore, I’ve been busy planning and working on the Handicraft Café Fall Sale (up to 30% off many goodies!! Check out the sale page here.)

Tchotchke FAIL

The Chicken Pie Shop is a very old local diner where the employees have worked there for like 20-30 years. Despite its unassuming and lackluster appearances, they have the best chicken noodle soup — it’s so good that my friends and I have dubbed it “Magic Chicken Noodle Soup” (and it’s cheap!). They also have great homemade pies. My favorite is their cherry pie.  YUM.

Most of the time, I just go there to pick up some Magic soup to take home, so I don’t get to see much of the inside of the restaurant.  Recently, a couple of friends and I met there for lunch and we got some great unexpected clucks and chuckles.

Almost as good as their Magic soup is the kitch-tastic chicken-themed decor. Yes, as you would imagine, there are chicken statues, paintings, tapestry, ceramics, and ironwork every where.  However, apparently, the little tchotchkes do not want to stay put, so they’ve all been restrained with tape. Every. Single. One. Has. Been. Taped. Down.

Jewelry Casting

This semester, I’m taking a jewelry metal casting class instead of metalsmithing/fabrication.  So far, I think I like fabrication much better.  The casting is fun and the application of cast pieces to fabricated pieces would be really cool, but in the beginning, casting is just lots of detail and prep work. It’s not as instantly gratifying as fabrication.

We start by making plaster molds of objects. Then the idea is that you cast wax into the mold, shape, cut and combine the different wax pieces from your mold to create something new.  It’s basically mini sculpturing of wax.  After the wax pieces are done, they are cast into something called an investment and fired in a kiln with metal bits. In the end, the wax dissolves and evaporates and the metal replaces the wax.

Above: I’m making molds of a seed pod, part of a necklace, and the flower part of an earring. Then the wax castings of those pieces will be used to make a decorative skeleton key.  I don’t have pictures of the key yet.


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In my jewelry fabrication class, the instructor told us to make anything we wanted with 2 caveats: it had to be jewelry-sized and hinged.  At first I felt uninspired and so I worked on other things.  Later, inspiration came when I thought about my dad.

I rushed to make and finish the box without the hinge and entered it in a local art show, as requested by the teacher.  To my surprise, the box placed 2nd at the art show!

After the box was returned to me, I decided to go ahead and add the hinge so that I could give it to my dad for Father’s Day.

After more than 2-3 months of hard work and several snafoos and mishaps, I finally was able to send it to my dad for Father’s Day. I think he appreciated it.


Material: Copper sheet, copper wires (frame, rim), copper tubing (hinge)

Design: Features cut outs of a Chinese character and bamboo stalks.  Bamboo leaves were individually cut, shaped and soldered on.

Finish: Wire Brush and lacquered to prevent premature patina.

Dimensions: 1.5″  x 1.25″ x 0.5″

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Last Fall, I took a jewelry fabrication class, and decided to continue taking it this Spring.  In the Spring class, we have complete freedom to work on any project we wish, except we have to work on 1 thing with a hinge, such as hinged box, book or locket.

I decided to make this box for my dad, but the teacher, in the end told me that I didn’t have to do the hinge because I had incorporated enough skills and difficulty in it. Plus, she wanted me to put in into the school’s student art gallery show. This photo shows the box in an unfinished and unpolished state.  The character at the bottom is my last name.  The bamboo leaves were all individually cut, shaped and soldered on.  The box is roughly about 1.5″ x 1.25″ x o.5″.

Some of the other pieces that the teacher asked me to put into the art show:

Shawl Pin. Sterling Silver. Each "petal" was individually cut, shaped and soldered on.

end of pin was filed to a blunt point

Copper and brass pin I made last semester. I guess I was inspired by bubbles and crop circles.

Copper and brass pin I made last semester. I guess I was inspired by bubbles and crop circles.

Sterling silver and lab-created Ruby Pendant. It was really hard to get the points of the teardrop to meet perfectly and to then set the bail.

Sterling silver and lab-created Ruby Pendant. It was really hard to get the points of the teardrop to meet perfectly and to then set the bail.

Coordinating and matching ring to the pendant. Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby

Coordinating and matching ring to the pendant. Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby

Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby Ring.

Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby Ring.

In order to rush in time to finish the box, which was the last remaining piece, my fingers have been rubbed a little raw from all the bending, sanding, filing and polishing. At least, it’s not so bad that I can’t knit. Just bad enough to make me consider a manicure, of which I’ve only had 2 times in my life.

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I finished up my knitting-themed mini box for my jewelry class. I think it will be perfect for some stitch markers.

Left:Getting ready to solder the base to the bottom piece.  Right: Soldering with the very hot torch. I have not burned any hair yet…thank goodness!

Left:The top and bottom pieces now soldered with the base and top cap.  Right: Sawing off the excess metal.

Completed box with the knitting-themed band motif that I designed. I plan to patina the bottom part of the box in order to contrast and highlight the band design better. Clockwise from top left: A sock; baa-baa sheep; yarn ball; and knittng needles.

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Knitting Jewelry

This Fall, I signed up for 2 enrichment classes at my local community college: Jewelry Fabrication (Metalworking) and Advanced Clothing (sewing).

progression of my design sketches

progression of my design sketches

I signed up for the jewelry class because I really wanted to learn how to work, cut and design with metal. It’s not something I can do teach myself easily, especially with all the specialized tools.  Our first project was to cut interlocking letter graphics. I think I did a good job on it, but I already misplaced it somewhere in the house when I was showing it off to a rather disinterested husband.

For our second project, we are to make small metal oval boxes with a cut out design that continues all around.  The instructor let us determine whether we wanted to design our own motif or use some graphic books she had. Of course, being knitting-obsessed a knitting and fiber enthusiast, I decided to designing my own motif to reflect my interests.  Furthermore, the size of the box would be perfect for stitch markers — definitely prettier than the Altoids tin I’ve been using!

I keep forgetting to take my camera into class, and furthermore, I’ve been forgetting to take progress photos.  So, these are the earliest progress photos I have.  I started out with a strip of copper, to which I transferred my sketch. I then cut out all the negative space, annealed (softened the metal with a high-heat torch) the piece, rolled and shaped it and then soldered it.  What you are seeing is the soldered frame.

It’s actually to see all the motif if I put it on the shaping block. Later, I will make the second half of the box, add the top and bottom to the box, and do the final sanding and polishing.

showing the sholdered join I wish I had done the heel differently.

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