Monday, October 5, 2015

Two-toned: Mixed Metals

First off, a sincere thank-you to everyone for all of the wonderful comments posted on my sterling silver hollow beads tutorial (posted here, in case you missed it)!  The winner of my 2-bead giveaway is Ms. Shirley Moore! Congratulations Shirley!!


I am always on the lookout for learning new techniques to incorporate into my designs.  I watch my fair share of You-Tube videos; my magazine collection is obscene; and, I have more books than I should (but, I do read and refer to them, often).  I have been blessed to take only a few classes in my area, a few years ago.  But, the one-on-one with the teacher is THE WAY to pick up on new tips for doing "such and such".  I have been itching to add a technique to my repertoire, and since classes are out of the question, I turn to online classes.

I have purchased a few on-line classes/videos through Craftsy (link here).  While today's post is not an official endorsement or a review for Craftsy, if it were, I would give it an A+.  Craftsy has sales on their videos all the time; the videos do not expire - they are always available and just a click away; lessons can be viewed at one's leisure - usually in my pj's; there is a supply list available for download; and, questions can be posted directly on the site and the instructor will do his/her best to provide an answer.

I recently purchased a class on Foundations in Silversmithing (this one).  The instructor is Mark Nelson, from Rio Grande (who is awesome, by the way). In this particular class, Mark is making a ring. There is a great session in this video that simply reviews the steps involved for successful soldering and why it is so important to have a clean surface and joints that are completely FLUSH. I have not even finished the video yet, but I did already incorporate one of the design elements into a pendant comprised of mixed metals...this time, brass and sterling.

My "first" attempt for any new technique is always practice, and if wearable, ends up in my personal jewelry box.  I chose a Labradorite cab that has very little flash - I have had it for years...even the top of the cab is lacking shine in spots - perfect if I screwed up!

I made the fine silver bezel around the cab, textured my sterling silver backplate around the outside edge of the bezel setting, and then cut an oval shape (with my saw) of the final bezel set cab outline from of a sheet of 24 gauge brass.

Ultimately, the brass plate will be cut, textured, and will fit snugly (hopefully) on top of the silver back plate. (Yup - I use dental floss!)  After sawing out the circle from the brass, there was lots of filing involved to get the brass to have a snug fit around the bezel.  Not perfect - but close!

I used my dividers - snugged against the silver bezel - to scribe a saw line for the brass sheet.

After sawing, but before any texture or final filing of the edges around the brass.

I then used the dividers again to scribe a saw line for the silver back plate (forgot to take a picture, but you get the idea)!

I sweat-soldered the brass sheet to silver sheet.  My brass sheet was not a perfect fit in my eyes (so close though!), so I soldered on some sterling silver balls to the top and bottom of the pendant where the tiny bit of space was glaring at me.

I then soldered on some 14 gauge textured sterling wire to serve as the bail.  Polish, polish, polish, then tumble.

After tumbling, I added liver of sulfur, polished again, tumbled again, and then I set the stone.  

I added a bit of handmade chain, and I now have a new necklace.

Not perfect, but I can live with it.  I hope to perfect this technique - the combination of metals in one piece is what speaks to me.

So tell me....what is your favorite way to learn a new technique?

Thanks for stopping by today!  Now, go make something wonderful!



Shirley Moore said...

You know how much I love your work Patti, so I'm super excited to win your giveaway!
I'm a seed bead girl, but I always loved Mark's segment on Beads, Baubles and Jewels. He is very clear and patient in his instructions. I like Craftsy as well, they have a great site. I like that I can 'follow' someone, and get emailed if they post a new tute.
Wonderful, beautiful pendant! I have recently been introduced to labradorite, and so love the subtle flash in it.

Linda Younkman said...

Patti your work is so gorgeous. I have just begun my journey into experimenting with solder and this gives me encouragement to try something new. I like Craftsy too but had not checked there for soldering videos. Thanks so much for sharing this step by step technique.

Kathy Lindemer said...

Your necklace is beautiful! I have to say I am a bit old fashioned about learning. I still like the face to face approach, but I also do well in an online class. Since I live in a fairly rural area, online is the way I usually go.

Janet Bocciardi said...

Very nice Patti! I like the mix of metal. Did you see my Balance pendant? That was the first one I've sweat soldered since my semester in metals. I was happy that I did so well since it had been awhile.

My favorite is actually taking a workshop, as you get so many hints beyond what you're learning from the teacher. I also learn better visually in 3d rather than reading and photos.

This tutorial should be a great help to some!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Hey Janet - I did see your Celtic Necklace with the key! I LOVE all the elements of the necklace, especially the way that it hangs from that key!

There is no comparison to a workshop/class - those little hints passed on by the instructor are so invaluable!

Anonymous said...

Love the mixed the brass with sterling. A departure from copper and silver combo. And besides disguising very minor imperfections, those shiny silver balls add great design details! Thanks for sharing your process and hope to see more of these soon.

Bijoux Gems Joy said...

Thanks for the walkthrough on your process Patti. This was fun to read and frankly helped clarify the mysteries of mixing the metals in a bezel. I don't often get the opportunity to go to classes or workshops but do really enjoy them when I can. Right now a lot of my "learning" is from online tutorials and reading. I haven't tried online classes yet, mainly because it's hard to devote the time needed.

Anonymous said...

First let me say I have not checked out Craftsy yet. You have given me a new place to explore. I will add it to my itinerary. I do love the idea of online learning videos. I can go back again and again as I learn something new. Last night I was watching bezed making with polymer clay and learned so much just from the first viewing!
Back to your bezel: Mixed metals is so exciting! In this case, I think the bronze is just perfect for enhancing the "goldish" highlights in laboradite. Great way to use those tiny balls to make up for perceived imperfection ad just to add to the design element of the piece as a whole.
Thanks for sharing all this info.

stacilouise said...

wow- love the frame! your attention to detail is exquisite!

Gillian said...

I really love receiving your emails Patti! I always get inspired by your work, I love your taste in Jewellery :)

Would love for you to do a tutorial on your handmade chain you mention in your latest post with the mixed metal pendant - perhaps you could do a craftsy class yourself ;)

Cheers from Oz

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