Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stepping Forward

 2013 is my year of new adventures. So I'm starting off with one thing that is scary to me:  I've signed up for an "intermediate-advanced" jewelry fabrication course.

Here's the description:

"Jewelry and Metalsmithing students who have already learned the basics and work independently will learn the tips only a professional can teach how to get gallery quality results in less time. With a small class size, students receive personalized attention for their specific needs in design, advanced fabrication, clasps, stone setting, touches of gold, production techniques, rolling mill, tool maintenance, soldering tips and tricks, wax carving for casting, metalsmithing techniques and other demos that students request. Most students work on their own designs with an emphasis on one or more of the demos shown during class."

Sounds good, no? Then why am I nervous about it? Because it's pushing me out of my comfort zone. Right now I have a small stock of things I can do (almost) without thinking about them. I did say "almost".  :)  Over the past year, I've gotten comfortable with quite a few techniques. Now I want to start learning SO many more, but it means beginning at the bottom of the skill set again.

I also want to understand design better, and add my own "voice" or style more into what I create. So I'm a bit anxious, but looking forward to creative challenges!

This pendant was definitely a challenge for me. I don't often design in concentric ways, or in symmetrical shapes. But I was intrigued by the idea of taking the jagged mosaic bits and keeping them within the boundaries of a circular shape. This pendant required a LOT of finagling to make sure the pieces were equidistant from the center of the circle, and from each other, and also that they formed a rounded shape on the outer ring. 

I also set the garnet so that the bottom overlaps into the inner circle, but I didn't solder it to the back plate fully:

it's hard to see against the dark stone, but the bottom of the garnet is supported only by the outer bezel and has no back plate inside the circle. A bit challenging to set as I raised the stone, but it wanted to "tip" over toward that open bottom when I set it. I'm not sure I'll do it again, but it was a satisfying challenge.  :)

Anyhoo, I went to class tonight and it was better than I imagined. Better than I could have imagined. I suspect it will be most beneficial and I will be counting the hours until next week when I get to go "be a sponge" (as my husband says) once again. I'm so ready for all this learning and I think it will be a career-defining - or at least very career-enhancing - choice.  :)

One last photo, because you can't see that yummy red garnet color in the first two!


  1. Again my dear, i adore your blog and can so relate to your journey. I am leaving my comfort zone next week and attending the ALT design blogging conference.... I hope I am equally happy with the results! Thanks for sharing your story.... you are an inspiration!

  2. Hi Tamera! Long time, no chat! It's scary but necessary...especially with just losing my father - I think a lot of how people regret the things they didn't do in life. So I'm seizing opportunities and going full speed ahead. :)

    I'd love to go to that conference - I'm sure you will enjoy it so much! I can't wait to hear your post(s) about it. Have fun!