Monday, August 24, 2015

Hammer on....

Lately, I feel more comfortable using the term "metalsmith" in describing myself.  In my last post, I referenced purchasing a new-to-me-tool (the shot plate - I wrote a quick tutorial on the Love My Art Jewelry blog spot here).  Well, I found a few new ways to use this end result, known as decorative shot beads.

First up are these very cool mixed metals earrings which almost killed me in photographing.  For some reason, I could not get the angle/lighting to is what it is!

I took at least 25 pictures, all horrible!  Anyway, I twisted two lengths of square copper wire, then balled up both ends in the flame.  To the bottom, I cut some teeny tiny sterling silver discs, and soldered on those tiny decorative beads.  These look so much better in person - they swing beautifully from one's ear!

For the next pair of earrings, I cut two sterling silver discs, sawed and filed out the petals, textured the petals, and dapped them  - sort of like a bead cap - but I turned the petal "outward" just a bit.  I then soldered two of the decorative beads to the centers, making little flowers.  The ear wires have also been soldered to the back of the earrings.

I call these "quasi poppies" - poppies would actually have 3 tiny balls in the center, and they would also have 5 petals.  So, "flowers" fit the bill better than poppy, I suppose.

I took a short break from the decorative shot and whipped up a set of 5 copper stacking bangles. These are hand riveted with sterling silver, and textured on the top and both sides.  

LOVE this texture!

I have wanted to try "air chasing" for-ever.  There are plenty of You-Tube videos out there with great instructions.  The easiest way to make this style cuff is to use wide copper tubing - straight from the hardware store.  Well, my tubing is only 1/4" wide - and I have a ton of it.  Not easy to do....I truly believe a wider cuff would have been easier on me - but boy, I had a blast!  Just look at the craters and pits in the cuff! Texture, baby!!!!

And since my shot plate was just sitting there waiting to be used....I made two little flowers and soldered them to the ends of the cuff.

I do not want to state that the technique is difficult - a better word would be challenging, or even cumbersome!  You tape the ends of the tube to your steel bench block and, using various hammers and dapping tools, you hammer the SIDES of the tubing - not straight down the center.  Well, that metal moves with every blow of the hammer - usually right out from under the mounds of tape!  I used a lot of tape, and I had to anneal the cuff many times to make the copper soft.  

Though I actually like the slim style cuff, the next time I am out and about, I am definitely making a pit stop at the hardware store in search of wider tubing! :)

I have been on this jewelry-making-journey for a long time now, trying to find my niche.  I truly feel comfortable with calling myself a metalsmith, and it feels good!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  Have a lovely week!



  1. Love that shot.... As for the air chasing, I can't imagine trying to use tape to achieve it! I had a class with Eva Sherman, and we used a drill press vice to hold the flattened edges (which have to be trimmed) while we hammered. It worked with wide cuffs, but I don't know if it would be suitable for your bangles.

  2. I think you can certainly call yourself a metal smith. Your work is so beautiful and the workmanship is wonderful! I love what you're doing with the shot plate! Those flower earrings are fabulous!

  3. Patti, you are defiantly a metalsmith! Your earrings are beautiful and look fun to wear. I love the bracelet and can understand why it would have been difficult to work with 1/4" tubing. Maybe you could use U clamps to clamp the tubing to the table instead of tape next time.

  4. Your work is Beautiful! Thank you for sharing photos and how-to-do!
    Have a lovley week!

  5. Hi Patti, I am so glad to hear that you are comfortable calling yourself a metalsmith. You are one of my favorite metalsmiths. I am always impressed with what you create.

  6. You're doing great! You're fearless! yes, try using that new vise of yours (or an old one), as Gale suggests. That's how I've seen it done. I think you'll be much happier with the process.

    1. I don't know about fearless -ha! I am still researching how to do this using sheet and a vise - I think it will be easier! I will keep you all posted with my progress...if I have any to show! :)

  7. Beautiful pieces, new tools, ideas, techniques... there's nothing better. It's a great feeling when you can 'settle' into an identity as a maker - artist, artisan, jeweler, metalsmith, whatever it happens to be. Lovely stuff. xo -- julie

  8. Wonderful pieces here Patti. I especially do love your 'quasi poppies' - those are awesome. Definitely a metalsmith in my book - indeed!! And I love how you always share so openly your process and feelings about things. Makes your jewelry all the more real and meaningful in my opinion. I do love my earrings I got last week -but I think my sister will nab them once she sees them, so I may have to snatch up those poppies for myself if they go into your shop! LOL!! :-)

  9. Thank you, Shel! :) I am so glad you like those earrings! :) :) :)