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!

Monday, October 26, 2015

No Beads - Only Metal

I have been having moments  - way too many moments - when I sit down at my bench and draw a complete blank.  I do hate days like this - such a waste.  So, I made a few sterling silver bangles to try to help fill the creative void.

10 gauge sterling
8 gauge sterling
As much as I enjoy making these, it did not help!  Trying to mix it up a bit, I made this bangle.

This looks quite simple, doesn't it?  Well, first I made it with 16 gauge wire and it was just too flimsy for me.  So, I pulled out the 14 gauge wire - I had the hardest time wrapping the loops while keeping the beads "trapped" and the wire straight in the center at the same time!  It was comical the way I was swearing at my bracelet mandrel as I tried and tried to bang that bangle into a shape that would not spring out of proportion when I released the wire from the mandrel!

Once the wrapping was complete, the bangle looked too simple - too boring.  So I melted some silver scraps to make a charm, complete with hand stamping.  That little bail...that teeny little bail gave me fits at the solder station!  It is Monday, after all....but in the end, after all the swearing and idle threats ( I threatened that bail into submission!), I was content.

On least, I think it was on Saturday...I made these tiny little copper beads, with sterling accents.

These little guys are made from copper tubing, stretched into an oval shape.  I textured the top, and added the silver ball dead center.  Little purses...or rolling suitcases for Barbie...that's what they look like to me.  Don't get me wrong - I like them - they just remind me of accessories I played with in days gone by.

I had the hardest time trying to decide what in the heck to do with these little beads!  Used alone, it would be cute little charm at the end of a bracelet.  But I decided to make earrings instead.  I pulled out 8 different pairs of beads, including lampwork, ceramic, gemstones, nothing worked. I mean...I actually wrapped the beads and made the earrings...cut the wire...started over.  I should have stopped after I made the bangle because as I said, it is Monday.

I decided to keep it simple.

Truly mixed metal - all the way through (These have now SOLD - thank you!!)

I actually have a plan for tomorrow...and the next day.  I recently completed an online class to make a Boho Saddle Ring (Leslie Kail Villarreal) and I finally received all of the required supplies. These are BIG AWESOME rings. I have no idea if my skills are up to this level, but I am going to try.  I am  also glad that I did not start this ring today, given my "it's Monday and everything turned out wrong" kinda mood day!

Here's to better Monday's in the future!  Thanks so much for stopping by!!