Sunday, September 11, 2011

The War of Wills...Metal vs Me

As some of you may know I have been wanting to take my jewelry making skills from just wire to the next level - metalworking.  I have had a longstanding love affair with metal (other artists works) and felt it was time for me to go to that plane myself. 

I have a brother who (when not being a specialized diesel mechanic) is a blacksmith.  Not just an ordinary blacksmith but one who does beautiful and intricate work - tables, beds, desks - you name it he can do it.  So on Labor Day Monday I headed to his forge to get some basic lessons at his forge. I torched, hammered, soldered all to my delight!  He sent me home with directions to go buy a cheap torch, gave me a jewelers anvil and a few metal discs, rivets, and various gauge metal rods.  Now the key word you need to take from this paragraph as I move forward is - FORGE - a complete decked out forge with huge anvils, multiple types of torches, cool grinding and polishing machines, multiple type of hammers and stamps, and an unbelieveable hydraulic hammer machine with a foot pedal.

Now, I am back home with my newly purchased torch and my bag of goodies and my tiny anvil.....suddenly I am aware of the difference between working in his forge and working in my home! LOL  The torch doesn't heat to nearly the temp as his so heating up my metal takes much longer.  My tools have handles that are perfect for working with wire and beads but have short handles that put you waaaayyy to close to the flame. And having so much room to work on his large anvil sure was a lot easier than trying to hit something on my tiny version! Also, where in the house is the best place to work? I tried working outside but I think my neighbors might revolt at the hammering! Where is the safest place to work with a torch? 

So, what I thought was going to be an immediate plunge into metal working is moving much slower due to the fact that I am having to think of creative ways to hold my work, hammer my work and make my set up easy to use.  It is amazing the difference that good tools make!  What seemed comfortable and fun to do seems tedious and time consuming when transferred into a different work environment.  I am going to have to test out different setups and scour the toolboxes that are hidden away to try to find tools that will work with my new endeavor.  I can't afford to purchase new ones at this point so I will have to find things that I already own in order to  make this happen. 

Hopefully, in the next week or so I will find a way to make it happen.  With more shows coming up I sure would like to be able to show off some new and fabulous pieces!!

I will try to keep you posted,

Stay True