reticulated earrings

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Summer of Solder

How did I spend my summer, you ask?   Soldering and sweating, I answer.  It’s all about heat, baby!  When I’m not behind a torch, I’m in front of a fan, trying to ward off either the honest hard-earned sweat of work, or the devious annoying sweat of a hot flash.  Torch, fan, torch.  Repeat.

Early in the season, maybe even in the spring, I took a class in texturing metal.  It was great fun, even though from the moment I registered, I felt like an imposter, a sham, a pretender, a massive loathsome blob in the cozy glorious world of real metalsmiths.  In fact, I absconded with a few secrets. 

For the a process called Shibuichi (hold the wasabi), we melted down scraps of copper and fine silver in a small crucible to make one big scrap.  Already an exciting development, but it gets better; then I found out that if  you heat silver to a point just before it liquefies you can break it into these fantastic jagged edged pieces.  By soldering those jagged pieces together you can make something really interesting. 

Shibuichi (with Wasabi)

Well, you can make something really interesting.  The process was so cool and simple and inspiring and awesome that I had to put it on the back burner.  Instead, I have been trying like a melting fool to become a “master” solderer.
Django Jingles Necklace
Nestled Necklace

Yeah, well, don’t call me Master just yet.  Yesterday was a soldering bust.  Nothing I touched with a flame worked the way I wanted it to.  I’d been boldly bonding all summer and suddenly I had to pay some unforeseen toll—the toll of abrupt inexplicable incompetence.  At least this time it did not involve lighting my arm on fire. 
New hand wrought clasps
 But the nice thing about life is that today is a whole new day.  With new energy and enthusiasm, and a shimmer of fresh sweat, here’s what I am working on today.
Today's experiments are tomorrow's treasures!
And before you go, don't forget to check out the new work in both the ETSY shop (just click on the picture of the door) and behind the Gallery door. Leave the door cracked and the light on, somebody else will probably stop by. Try to stay cool and thanks for coming by.