Friday, March 12, 2010

A Learning Experience

I have been working on a jewelry project that has been making me CRAZY! I'm not even really sure why things are going so badly with it. I've been making jewelry for about 23 years now, but this one project has me feeling like a newbie!

I love working with wire, so that was the basis for this project. I've gotten kind of low on metal, so I started digging through my sterling drawer to see what prizes I could come up with. I found a piece of 6 gauge sterling silver wire that has already been cut to a fairly short piece. It had started it's life as another piece of jewelry, but was in great shape, so I thought it would be great for repurposing. I pulled the metal that had been soldered onto it back off and went to work.

I took out my hammer and beat the ends thinner. Then I pulled out my 18 gauge wire and started making swirls that I could attach to it. The swirls were more difficult to attach than I thought they'd be because they were so thin and the back was so thick. It was hard to get all of that metal to the same temperature so that the solder would flow. I nuked a wire. I repaired the wire. I had everything soldered, so I went to polish it.

It fell apart! I was heart broken! So I got a new piece of wire, swirled it, and soldered it back on. I wanted the solder to flow just a little more smoothly in one spot, so just a little longer on the piece with the flame, and... I nuked another wire!

So now I've put it away. It needed to go away before I decide to turn it into a pile of molten metal. Someday, I might finish it. For now, it will be a nice little bench sculpture sitting on my bench MOCKING ME!!! I hope to get it finished someday and make a mold of it. That way I can cast a copy of it AND NEVER HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER FROM SCRATCH!!!

It's been a wonderful learning experience, though. I feel like I'm back in college! But not in a good way...


  1. Lisa, I feel your pain! It will be such a beautiful piece when you finally come to an agreement with it.

  2. This picture was taken before I finished polishing it. Right before everything went south. In other words, looks can be deceiving!

  3. I so know where you're coming from! Just looking at it I can see how it would cause those frustrations. I agree, it's probably the heavy-gauge wire taking longer to heat up that's causing the problems. Were you able to heat it from underneath or was it laying flat? And were you pick soldering or laying out pallions?

  4. With the wires going in all directions, it was hard to heat it from a side that didn't have something meltable on it. I've heard the term "pavillions" before, but I'm really not sure what it means. I tend to pick solder, just because then I can get the solder right where I want it.

    It was a nightmare. The next one I make will be cast!