I was back at the torch bright and early determined to leave the class with a pair of leaf earrings. I cut new patterns, sent them through the rolling machine, grinded, sanded, annealed (that’s metal-talk for heated with a torch), bended, annealed, bended again and welded the rod on.
That was the easy part.
See where I have that tiny little rod in my hand? I had to heat and bend that without melting it in half.
Doug Salmon, the instructor, was very up front with us on the first day: “I’m going to show you the hardest way to do things, so that from now on any other skill will be much easier to do.” He wasn’t kidding. This was hard.
An hour and 2 goofed earrings later, I had a fairly close match to my first earring. (Not to worry, the goofed earrings will be pendants.)
The thing about this, I realize, is that sheer determination will not yield results with this kind of work. Determination will get you to try again and mess up another 26 earrings, but only skill and learning to do it right will get you to create with this medium.
Doug is offering the next level class at his studio at Spruce Forest next month and I highly recommend his classes. He has a sense of humor, he isn’t afraid to let you burn up a bit of brass and he tells you there are more ways than his to metalsmith.
I am definitely not a stellar welder, but after this weekend I left with a some jangly jewelry, dirt under my fingernails, a bit of soot on my face and great big smile.