Friday, January 28, 2011

Metal crazy!!!

by Kelli Pope

After years of making jewelry, I felt the need to expand my horizons, and increase the creativity in my designs. I had a love for anything metal, especially rustic, handmade metal pendants and sculptures. I purchased a book, The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight (very technical!), bought my first torch, and some sheet metal. I did research on the internet, but after weeks, I just couldn't bring myself to light that torch in my studio!! I had the knowledge and the tools, but I just couldn't do it. Yep..... I could hear my mother's voice saying, "You'll burn the house down!!" I knew I was going to need some hand's-on training before I could do it on my own. Luckily, I found a 6 week metalsmith course at a local college and signed up. My husband and I both went and had a BALL! Lighting the torch in someone else's studio was SO easy!! :)
Better yet, I learned to saw my own shapes from sheet metal, and gained much more respect for the time involved in the process. The soldering, sanding, grinding, sanding, polishing, hammering, sanding, heating, (did I mention sanding?) is time consuming, but so worth it when a piece you envisioned comes to life. There is just COMPLETE and absolute joy in creating something with your own hands.





Something handmade. Handmade by you.





Whether it's forged metal, sculpted clay, precious metal clay, lampwork glass.. wherever your heart leads you, follow it. If you have a creative spirit, you know you have no choice but to create.

Here are some vendors I use that sell sheet metal and wire. Who are your favorites?

At the above site, you'll actually find a WONDERFUL tutorial on working with sheetmetal. No torch required :)

8 comments:

MaCarroll Beads said...

I love metal too! I first started to experiment with it before I started making my own beads. I'm just now getting back into it and have been looking for classes so that I don't have to just figure everything out myself. I have fired my torch many times though without classes! I was a rebellious child though, so if my mother said I would burn the house down, I probably argued! ;o)

mairedodd said...

how wonderful that you took this class with your husband! yes, i feel that same way when starting from scratch, it is very rewarding... i love www.monsterslayer.com for sheet and wire... i seem to have the opposite problem, i am too fearless with the torch... surely there is a balance!

Patty said...

Great post! I am just starting to do more with metal, and know what you mean about the sanding. I like monsterslayer.com too, but have also been known to ogle the metal tubing (brass, stainless steel, copper at the local hardware store.

VanBeads said...

I've been so tempted to start making my own metal components... I recently got my hands on a book about making metal jewelry components, and I've been reading it every night before I go to sleep. Although I'd love to start working more with metal, I think I'll have to wait - my garage is still full of glass tools!

D'Arsie Manzella said...

I have checked out The Complete Metalsmith also. I love learning about the fundamental alloys and metals identification. The science behind the beauty. Although I work with molten metal I admit I have never used the torch. I would also be nervous about a KABOOM! in my basement studio.

SummersStudio said...

Nice list of suppliers. I have used most of them at one point or another and have had good products and service from all. Metal is one of my loves too and expands your horizons. I've got Tim M's book too...good but very technical.

Kelli said...

OOH!! Yes. I forgot about Monsterslayer. I use them, too!! Thanks ladies! Otto Frei and Rio Grande also carry it, but I've found the other sites more affordable for sheet metal and wire. D'Arsie, my metal smith teacher also teaches.... lost wax burn out? Is that right? I don't think that's quite it. But I'm guessing it's what you do. Creating the wax piece, making a mold, then filling the mold with molten metal to create a 3d piece. That may be my next class.

mywifesstudio said...

Hi Kelli,

My package came yesterday afternoon, what a wonderful way to end my work week!! Love love love the earrings and have them on now. The card was way too cute. Can't wait to show off my earrings to everyone. I also posted pictures on my blog:
http://mywifesstudio.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-cant-believe-i-missed-this-where-was.html

Thank you, Evie

P.S. My hubby and I took smithing classes together also.

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