After my last post I saw a post by Wanaree Tanner on her blog that got my creative juices flowing. She was talking about Lora Hart's 4 a month Flickr challenge. I thought, 4 a month... That can't be bad. Somehow, one a week seemed less doable. I know it's the same amount of things, but the timing is totally different. Four a month can be done all at once, or one a week. I liked it. So, sketchbook in hand, I started the challenge. Now mind you, I've been creatively barren of late. My sketchbook was oh so helpful in getting me going. There were a couple of things in there that were similar. Part of the challenge is that these pieces need to relate in some way.
As I created each piece, I realized that the soldering class I was scheduled to take (yesterday) would come in handy. I wanted to make more complicated designs, with soldered on ear wires and bails. The diamond shaped earrings and pendant are made out of two triangles each, joined on 45 degree angles. It had been some time since I joined two pieces of metal clay on a 45, so this was a good refresher. The other design grouping also has the eggs, but it also has a lightening bolt I created out of very dry clay. I made the earrings first. The pendant was made with a new batch of clay, therefore the lightening bolt was a bit more challenging. How often do you wish your clay would dry out? I kept working it, working it and working it. I added in sanding fines to my ball of clay a couple of times to speed up the drying process. Finally, I was successful in creating a similar focal.
Yesterday, I spent the entire day in Bellingham, at Pouncing Rain - a jewelry design studio and store. It was a fabulous class. There were six of us and the instructor. We learned sweat soldering, pick soldering and wire soldering. We sweat soldered two flat pieces of metal together and two perpendicular pieces of metal to each other. We soldered copper wire perpendicular to a piece of sheet copper - this was the hardest because my hands were shaking so bad yesterday. We also soldered jump rings and a ring shank. It was great fun.
It was great to be able to try out different torches. I found I really liked the Smith Little Torch (oxy/propane). It was much easier to maneuver than the acetylene torches they had. The hand pieces were so big, bulky and hard to move around in ones non-dominant hand. The little torch had its challenges too. Regulating the flow of the gas and oxygen was much harder than I thought it would be.
I am very pleased with how these pieces turned out. If you'd like to see more shots, please visit my flickr page: www.flickr.com/mybrownwren. Next months 4 a month will feature shells. Oh, I am hoping for a low tide so that I can collect some limpit shells...