Finally, Another Workshop!

You’ve been asking about when I’ll be teaching again, and this December your wish is my command.

Now that I’m feeling more energy I am coming back to the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen to teach my Integrated Prong Setting workshop. It’s perfect timing to learn a new technique while creating a gift for a special loved one (or yourself!)

December 2nd from 11am – 3pm $108.00 for PGC members and $120.00 for non-members

Do you love stones? Do you wish you could add them to your jewelry but you don’t know how to set them? Is soldering something you either don’t know how to do or don’t have the set-up for?

In this class, you’ll learn how to set a cabochon stone using tools you already have – just a saw frame, drill, and bench pin. No torch necessary! You’ll saw and file your way to a beautiful pendant you can complete during class time. Learn a new technique and get a fabulous piece of jewelry you can wear home.

Students will learn how to create a prong setting integrated into a sheet of metal. Each participant will create a pendant out of brass, texture the metal, and pierce prongs to set a cabochon stone without needing to solder. You will leave with a completed project.

Skill level: Beginning jewelry and metalsmithing skills are helpful, but not required.


Where Did It Go?

Cuff made using the chasing over air technique (and then formed into cuff shape)
Cuff made using the chasing over air technique (and then formed into cuff shape)

Today I finally did what I’ve been saying I was going to do and I took off some posts here on Hammermarks. Yes, they were top performing posts, but they were also not exactly for the audience I’m trying to cultivate here. I love having metalsmith friends, fans, and followers, but my tutorial posts never seem to garner me actual interaction with people anymore.

I’ve debated having a separate site just for tutorials, but for now they are in storage. If you enjoy seeing in process posts of my pieces, musings on the art world, looks at other artists, and the lighter posts I sometimes offer, these will still be here.

If you have a comment about me taking these articles down, if it’s constructive leave it in the comments. Or you can always email me your thoughts.

Connecting the Pieces

The wire and bezel are soldered onto the silver sheet. Detail Image from Dusk ©2011 sterling silver, pyrite

You’ve read on here about my love for rivets to connect the parts of my work. But what other ways are there to hold two parts together?

Soldering – a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal (solder) into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the workpiece. Jewelers use a technique called “hard soldering” which is very similar to brazing, but using a silver based solder rather than brass.

Welding – joins materials by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld. (I took this from Wikipedia since I’ve never personally welded anything.)

Beautiful example of a welded piece by Gatski Metal. © The Steel Fork

Adhesives – this just means gluing parts together. In my experience, metalsmiths look down on gluing metal pieces together, it shows a lack of skill. But it is often used to attach non metal parts together (and sometimes to metal.) If you work with materials such as acrylic, it is almost necessary to have a good working knowledge of adhesives. Plus, a lot of people are now working in resin, which is itself an adhesive.

Cold Connections– This means any joining system that does not involve heat (and adhesives technically fall into this category.) Nuts & bolts,

Nuts & Bolts holding the parts together - Twist (detail) ©2011 WTEK brass, nickel, found steel screen

screws, and rivets are all cold connections. Twisting wire around two pieces to hold them together is a cold connection. Even setting a stone is a cold connection is you don’t cast them in place. These types of connections are often used if you can’t (or don’t want to) heat your piece up, especially if you are combining a non-metal part to your piece.

I’m sure that there are other ways to connect things and I only touched on these techniques briefly, but it gives you an idea of the different processes that metalworker go through to put a piece together.