Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jewelry School Adventures - Flush Setting & Sweat Soldering

As the week has progressed, my sawing skills have improved dramatically. The instructor and the three students all had a good laugh at the planning that suggested only three saw blades per person for the week. Even Ronda went through at least a dozen. We started out with 3/0 blades and worked progressively finer as we attempted more complex cuts.

Saw-piercing practice
The fine inside curls in this pierced piece were cut with 8/0 blades, so fine and delicate that I literally broke one when I blew silver dust off my piece mid-cut.

Along with sawing, we learned roller printing and flush stone setting. I admit to flunking stone setting on the first day, which just made me more determined to get the hang of it. On the second day, I set the same ten 2mm CZs over and over again.  I could still use some practice, as in my final piece, the setting bur took off on me and cut the center hole too deep. I also still sometimes slip with the burnisher and put a scratch into the pre-finished front.

bird brooch sketch
For the final project, I deviated from the assignment to make something more my personal style. Here's the sketch that the instructor approved from a selection I drew with constrains of a 1.25" square of silver.

fused argentium & 22k gold with flush mount CZs

Then I deviated again, as I felt I'd prefer to practice fusing Argentium rather than sweat soldering. The assignment was to learn to work with thin widths of metal overlay, to fuse on 18K gold granules and to set stones. No solder was used for this construction so far, although I may solder on the pin mechanism.

I can officially say that I got what I came for after two weeks of class. My vision was to make my window pieces out of argentium with the bird & branch made of metal clay fused on top. Can do. Next week's class is Earrings, Mechanisms, and Granulation.


  1. That is beautiful work! It's great that there was the flexibilty to allow you to change the brief to something more suited to your tastes and needs.

  2. I love reading about your classroom adventures and expanded skills. It looks like you found an amazing class! Are you enrolled in multiple consecutive classes, are is this a multi-week program? I might have to check it out. Great work! So glad I found your blog!

  3. Your new work is really good. It's great to learn new skills and your classes sound excellent. I'm jealous!

  4. Many thanks, Jo, Barb & Tania! I'm glad it's inspiring to readers as I find the entire experience mind-boggling. Barb, this program is 11 weeks long, but set up in week long classes so that you can take shorter segments. I signed up for one to see how I liked it, and I'm getting sucked right along. I do know that I'm going to miss at least one week, because of the PMC Guild Conference where I'm giving a demonstration with Barbara Becker Simon.