Wednesday, October 28, 2015

So I tried something new...totally out of my realm....

I recently purchased an online class from Leslie Kail Vallareal (link to her website here).  Leslie is an amazing silversmith.  I don't want to post pictures of her jewelry, without her permission, so if you are unfamiliar with her work, check out her website!  Anyway, the online class was to make a Boho Saddle Ring.

Okay - that is for a horse, but the concept is the same.  Take one piece of silver, cut it out to resemble the shape of a saddle, form it, solder it, etc.  If you had asked me a year ago (heck...six months ago) to even attempt this technique, I would have laughed right in your face.  But, what have I got to lose? If nothing else, what I have learned from watching online classes is that the tips these instructors offer are invaluable to me.  So, I was looking for tips!  Instead of filling up today's post with tons of words, I managed to remember to take a few "in process" photos.

Cut out the silver - this is 18 gauge sterling, which I simply textured with one of my hammers.  I learned I need to continue to practice sawing straight lines!  I got the curves's those nasty straight lines!
The silver was formed on a mandrel (OMG - that was hard) and the seam was soldered closed.

The next challenge - for me - was to shape that bezel to fit a curve.....that took a looooong time!
Another new-to-me step was creating a ring of balled wire to surround the bezel...again...shaped to fit a curve.  
This is the step I wish I had skipped.  My end product is so far from perfect - as that balled wire is not flush to the ring.  Instead, one side is soldered right to the bezel, about 1 mm from the bottom....So close...yet so far!  No matter...this ring is for me!

I added a simple flat decorative element to the bottom of the ring, which I formed and then stamped with one of my handmade stamps I seem to be collecting these days.  This picture show the ring darkened with Liver of Sulfur - before buffing.
I added only one more decorative element, since I knew I was not going to even attempt to sell this, but keep it for myself.  That is a tiny silver bead, made with my shot plate, soldered to the top edge.  Buffed and, I prayed that stone still fit! :)
Love the bottom of the ring!
Yeah - the turquoise cab still fit...perfectly!
I even managed to get rid of ALL the tool marks on the inside of this ring.
What amazes me most about this ring is that it is large - but, boy it's comfortable to wear!  I honestly did not think I would be able to bend my fingers...but, proof is in the pudding!
It's not perfect - not even close to perfect. I can see SO. MANY. ERRORS.  But I don't care because I really enjoyed this class and making this ring!  It was liberating, in a way.
My attempt was to make a size 9 1/2 ring...and it is spot on!  Wish it was a 9, though!  My hands must have been warm when I sized my finger in the first place!

Leslie is no longer offering this class.  I vacillated several times before making the purchase, because, I typically do not wear this type of jewelry.  BUT, I will now! 

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Have a wonderful rest of the week!


  1. I adore this ring! I have seen them before but didn't know they had a name. This is just gorgeous! Your work gets better and better!

  2. I too took the class and found it quite helpful - even though we have done the soldering before the rings are totally cool- you did a great job on yours - I have you on my blog list so we can keep in touch - love your work

  3. You are amazing. I've only done this kind of soldering in two classes. I don't have enough patience to go slowly so I melted a lot of bezels (and broke a lot of saw blades).

  4. Bravo! You did a great job on a difficult project!

  5. I am so impressed with this ring. You can see all the errors, but I can't! I want to be more like you - trying things even though I know they won't be perfect the first time out.

  6. I was cleaning out some old emails and I found this. Patti I think that your ring is lovely. I don't usually like large rings either but I would wear this one.