Sunday, June 3, 2012

Session 1, Week 1

Penland in the Springtime...Ahhhh...  There are smatterings of Mountain Laurel in the woods...

...And the remnants of the Spring Azalea bloom in the gardens- it's too early for the Rhododendrons, I've only seen one little tassel of flowers open so far.   But on to the real reason I'm here: steel jewelry.

Our first session was on making chain, and cold forging- this bracelet was my project, with flattened and curved S-hooks and flattened jumprings...and little peridot and pearl danglies!

This necklace involved flattening and making scrolled S-hooks, and then linking them together with labradorite bead links.

This hairpin was my first experiment with hot forging- round and squared tapers, two different kinds of twists, and a scroll.  The MIG welding equipment scares the living daylights out of me, (I don't respond well to sudden loud noises, even when I'm expecting them!) so I think I will be sticking to torch welding, soldering, and cold joins for sticking things together!

This hairpin with a double twist has a blue topaz set in silver on the end, and is my contribution to this session's scholarship auction

One of the nice things about taking this class is that it gives me the opportunity to make equipment that I'm too cheap to buy: this little toy is a favorite book conservation tool.  Good for scraping, lifting, applying little daubs of glue in hard to reach places- indispensable.

I've had this faceted tourmaline floating around my gem box for over six years waiting for just the right ring idea- it's my favorite color, a dark peridot, but far more durable than actual peridot, and thus suitable for a ring stone.  One reason that I was interested in taking this class is that I've always liked seeing the juxtaposition of the "coarseness" of steel against the "preciousness" of silver, gold, and faceted stones-this ring gave me the chance to try it out!  The ring shank is made of a re-used cotter pin, lined with silver which I made slightly wider than the steel, and hammered up and around the edges for a decorative bead edge.

More tools!  These are draw ring pullers for atmosphere firing- one was a trial by fire on just how much I like doing twists (a lot, as it turns out), and the other is very simple, with a little forged leaf decoration on the loop for hanging it up for storage.

Other fun stuff:  I spent yesterday at the fabulous new MICA Gallery in Bakersville- it's a new cooperative gallery run by a group of local artists (mostly potters).  They did an amazing job putting it together- it has enough polish to make it classy and uncluttered, but without giving it the frigid traditional gallery atmosphere...and they have a truly inspired display layout; zig-zag islands of shelves that are divided into segments that allow viewing from either one side or both sides, so you can never see everything from one angle.  It pulls you through and makes you wonder what is on the other side...there are also pedestals and shelves along the walls, and a long table running through the center as a domestic touch.

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