Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Etching with Carol Webb

In the beginning of November, Carol Webb arrived in Atlanta to give us an excellent, information packed three-day workshop on etching.  Here are a couple of Carol's finished pieces (copper and silver laminate) in case you aren't familiar with her work:

We started off by transferring our black and white designs onto blue PnP paper, which we then transferred onto copper (with heat from a warming tray).  Our first assignment was to completely etch through the metal.   

Here's Carol doing a little annealing:

We then layed our plates face down in a batch of etching solution and checked them every ten minutes or so until the design had etched all the way through.  You can see in the photo below where the etchant is cutting right through the metal.  

Here are examples of student experiments showing how the black sections of the design will stay copper while the white will be removed.  I can't tell you how many times we mixed this up.

We also did some heavy duty etching in this spray etcher.  It was amazing how deep the etchings were in a fraction of the time.  This technique is perfect for using etched brass plates to transfer onto sterling silver through a rolling mill.

The major reason I took this class was to learn how to make and etch copper and silver laminate (bi-metal).  To accomplish this, we started with sterling or fine silver sheet (20 to 12 ga), along with a sheet of copper (26 to 24 ga) and heated it until a eutectic bond was formed, which can take some time.  Often it takes more than one attempt with the torch.  We then rolled the bi-metal down to the gauge we needed for our project.  At this point, we simply followed the previous exercises in etching to get the results desired.  Carol also showed us how to use different patinas to cause a striking contrast between the silver and the copper (see first picture above).

We somehow managed to do all of this in three days!  It was an amazing amount of information to to cover in such a short time, but Carol was organized and kept us all on task throughout the entire class.   She gave excellent instructions and handouts to help us along, plus provided us with pages and pages of designs to use in our projects.  I learned so much my head was spinning...and that's the way I like it.  

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez Workshop

The Georgia Goldsmith's Group had a workshop recently with Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez.  Juan Carlos is an Associate Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and I first came across his work at Wildacres in North Carolina last summer.  All of the students in his class carried on and on about what a wonderful learning experience they were having, and I have to admit I was a wee bit jealous.  So when I heard GGG was bringing Juan-Carlos to Atlanta, I signed up immediately.

Juan Carlos

Our class was all about textures and embellishments.  We started off texturing round steel blocks (in any pattern we desired), which we can now use to add texture to our metal.  We also textured hammers and made numerous stamps out of steel and nails.  The picture below is one of the steel blocks I textured with separating disks ground into the metal.  The photo underneath shows how the texture looks after hammering a piece of silver onto the block.

We also spent a good amount of time etching.  We used PnP, paint pens, sharpies, contact paper, stamps, universal etching ground, bees wax...just about anything that would resist the etching solution.

Kathy and Debby

Barbara, Cyndi and Anna

Juan Carlos demonstrated how to obtain many of the techniques used in this piece below, i.e., texturing, scoring and folding, rolling mill techniques, forging.  He demonstrated flush setting tiny stones (and he made it look so easy), depletion guilding and cleaning with a DRY brass brush (great tip!).

I think we all agreed it was a wonderfully inspiring week.  We'll take everything we learned back home with us and, hopefully, some of what we absorbed will come out in what we now create.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Making of a Cuff Bracelet (Repousse/Chasing)

Before I began my cuff bracelet in silver, I did a demo in copper.  Even though it took hours making the demo cuff, I learned so much and it was well worth the time and effort in order to save me from making the same mistakes in silver.  Gia is a wonderful teacher and was able to walk me through every step of this process.  

After chasing the design on the front of the piece, this is how the design appeared after the first attempt at repousse (the pushing out of the metal from the back side.)

Here we have more definition.  I've done the necessary chasing on the front and more repousse from the back, and it's just about done!

I decided to use a half round wire that will form the outside edge of the cuff.  I then textured the background before cutting off the extra silver around the edge, and filing for a smooth edge.

It's now time to form the cuff on a mandrel, very, very carefully.  I was nervous that I would cause a crease in the metal, so first used a wooden mandrel and then finished with a steel mandrel.

It's finished!  I'm really happy with the results!  Thank you, Gia!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Every Good Boy Does Fine

Michael Good came to Atlanta recently to share his knowledge and skills with a group of us from the Georgia Goldsmith’s Group.  He gave a five-day workshop in Anticlastic Metal Forming, which was an amazing experience.
Michael's skills as a goldsmith are well known and respected.  He studied under the famous Heikki Seppa, from Finland (same as my teacher, Julia Woodman did).   His jewelry forms are like small pieces of sculpture - full of fluidity and movement.  

Michael gave us numerous demonstrations on how to turn metal one way, hammer it, then turn it another way and hammer some more, twist it, untwist it and form our metal into lovely, flowing designs.  We were encouraged to learn and master his techniques, and to then use those tecnhiques to come up with new and interesting designs of our own.  

Our first assignment was learning how to make a hyperbolic paraboloid.  Do you think I spelled that right?  This started from a perfect square, flat piece of copper.  

Terry & Mary, hard at work.

This bracelet is a challenging project to attempt:

Of course, Michael made it all look easy, which it certainly is not.  

Here is a photo of an earring I would love to be able to make someday:

Come back soon, Michael!  This was an excellent workshop and I'm looking forward to being in another one with you again soon.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's Still Rock 'n' Rubies to Me

My friend Maggie and I began our adventures at the Tucson Gem Fair with a morning seminar on Thursday called, "Best Buys in Tucson," presented by Richard Drucker from GemWorld International.  He discussed issues facing colored gemstone dealers, which gemstones are most popular (and most expensive), the quality and sizes available, and to prepare ourselves for higher prices.

Then we hit the AGTA show.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I have never seen so many exquisite stones in one place.   We saw diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, aquamarine, opals, peridot, spinel, tourmaline, chrysoprase, garnet, chalcedony, pearls, morganite, moonstone, kunzite, tanzanite, topaz, citrine and more.   Expensive? Very!

One of the highlights of our day at AGTA was spending a little time with the famous Bernd Munsteiner and his son, Tom.  Bernd Munsteiner is one of the greatest gem carvers ever.  Tom has carried on the family tradition and his wife,  Jutta, is a master goldsmith who designs all of their jewelry pieces.   Maggie and I tried on a couple of their bracelets, which were eye-popping gorgeous.   Bernd even let us take pictures with him.  : )

On the second day we shopped the GJX.   Again, we found prices higher than we had expected and simliar to AGTA, but with more vendors from outside the country.

Third day: Holidome.   What a difference.  It felt like a gigantic flea market.  The pearls dropped from thousands of dollars a strand to two dollars a strand.  Certain items were of a lesser quality, but by doing some searching, we were able to find some nice stones for  excellent prices.  This is where I found some very unusual cabachons in peruvian opal and sugalite, which completely made my day.

What else did we do in Tucson?  Ate lots and lots of Mexican food!  Here is a photo of a unique entrance to one of the restaurants we tried.

We never even made it to any of the outdoor shows.  Maybe next year?