Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Winterlude for A Beader

Near where I live the college has a special name for that time between Christmas Vacation and the beginning of the second semester. They call it Winterlude and offer classes that students would not ordinarily take.

This winter I seemed to need a Winterlude and took some jewelry related classes that I would not ordinarily take either. In December I was invited to participate in an ornament making class at our local arts council. We made lovely ornaments out of plated silver wire and beads. It was fun to be a student. In fact it was very relaxing and I had a great time and used my new wire working skills to make some cool presents for family members and friends. My winterlude has continued on into January when I got together with a few friends, Sally Hartman, Vlema Bolyer and Kim Klatt to learn how to fuse pure silver wire. What fun.

Up until that time I was leary or more accurately afraid of torches. But that little baby is such fun to use I could hardly stop myself from making more and more. The thrill of watching the little ball of silver jump up the wire, and the excitement of watching the thicker wire turn molten and then magically fuse was addictive. I had to stop when I was getting my tab too high, as that wire is expensive.

Here is the set up with a small micro torch, safety glasses, and a heat proof surface in a cookie sheet to work on and prevent drops of red hot silver.

Here I am trying to heat a piece of wire and make a ball on the end of it.

I probably won't have much luck as this was copper wire we used for the picture because I didn't think of taking the pics until we were almost all packed up. When the wire is pure silver little round drops form on the wire and grow by jumping up the wire. We did a number of these for head pins as seen the the next picture.

They make very elegant findings, and despite the high cost of fine silver wire they are still economical to make.

Then we learned how to hammer and shape the silver ring above into a very chic

pair of earrings using the head pins we made to wirewrap a bead for each loop.

Our helper for learning to make these fine silver findings was Kim Klatt who is a great jewelry maker in her own right, and a superb teacher.

Our hostess for the day, and some more days planned for the future is Isis, a wonderful spinner and weaver and owner of a new pup named Casper.

Thank goodness for Caspar and for this wonderful day making fine silver findings.

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