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



  1. Smart brother! One step at a time, when you find the appropriate setting, you will be able to get the tools you need. Good luck!

  2. Good on you for giving it a go. I love the way the metal in your pieces swirl. I can't wait to see how your work develops.

  3. It is always so exciting to learn a new skill and work with new materials. You find your mind opening up and all these new thoughts rolling in! You'll find the setup that is easiest for you, one that enhances your creative process! Just give it time...let it all just soak in! Good for you! I'm looking forward to seeing (and reading about) your progress...

  4. I love love love metal! A smart woman once told me that "a metalsmith has to have a certain temacity". I find this so true in my little studio! Keep up the metal work.

  5. Dottie, I completely understand where you are coming from! I experienced similar hurdles myself! It's so hard to take things one step at a time because we want to get to a higher place so much quicker than we expected. It's typical to get frustrated at how expectation and reality is so different. I wish you luck as you forge your path. (pun intended lol)

  6. Thank you all so much for your comments and feedback! I love hearing your views and takes on my situation. I will continue on my path and try to check in to let you know how it is going! :)
    Thanks Again!!!!

  7. Good luck, sometimes new endeavors don't go as we expect but don't give up! I am sure there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it may be a long tunnel but it will just make the end so much better! I know you can do it!