Good morning. For those of you who have been checking into my site you'll notice a different look. I decided to switch to a blog format so you can easily follow the process as I learn this thing called jewelry making. Let me know what you think.
As horrible as the word is it seems that my steel shot had become contaminated. Once the shot was completely cleaned in the baking soda solution (see link from earlier post) I successfully tumbled a scrap piece of silver this morning and it came out sparking clean. I also contacted Metalliferous for the correct usage of Oakite #3 which is the compound that I use in my steel shot. The responded with A couple of spoonfuls per batch. Enough water to cover the shot. If the mix turns gray, add more Oakite and keep tumbling.
I had finished four pieces and I wanted to tumble them before I went to work. Tumbling is that final process that makes the silver shine and gives you that Ah-Ha moment. Well, not today. I put the pieces in the Tumbler, went about my business and as I was leaving the house I stopped at the shop to pull the pieces out. All of that beautiful silver that went in the tumbler came out of the tumbler a smokey gray. Once again I amazed myself by the fact that nothing was thrown against a wall. I simply put the pieces down, turned everything off, got in my car and drove to Manhattan.
For that drive to Manhattan my favorite IPhone App is Dragon. A dictaphone app in which you can dictate emails and send them off. I wrote my teacher and told her that all my pieces had come out gray and please tell me what I did wrong and that I could fix it. She wrote back and had no idea what could have happened. Of course it had never happened to her - she's much smarter than that. I did a lot of internet searching and found a couple of threads but no definitive answer. As soon as I find out exactly what happened I will report it here!
I am also happy to tell you that I was able to clean all the pieces and they seem to have survived the traumatic day. It is now 2:24AM and I need to put the issue and myself to bed!
The following link was very helpful to guide me in cleaning my steel shot. How to Clean Stainless Steel Shot
After getting the closing notice for How To Succeed I decided to spend a few quality hours in my shop after the show. Lot's of pretty things found their way into the universe and only one piece of metal was melted beyond recognition.
I'm not sure how serious she was when she said it but when Lila said to me, "Well, one day you'll have your own line and it's something you'll want to think about" I had a little bubble in my chest.
I spent the day in my shop making room for all the new equipment. I finally settled down to do some work early evening. One ring made it into the scrap pile pretty quickly. I had such high hopes for it, too! I was looking at one thing as I had the flame on it and didn't notice that the entire ring had turned red. The next thing I knew the whole thing had collapsed in on itself. I'll ask how to salvage scrap metal in class tomorrow! I did manage to complete one ring and it is now in the tumbler. I'll keep you posted!
I finally had the solder flow correctly the other day and it was one of those eureka moments! Unfortunately it also means that the shopping list for my shop has just gotten a lot longer. But oh what fun, something else that involves fire! My new torch arrived yesterday and it is now set up and ready to go.
This ring was the second class. I am now working on setting some of my glass pieces. And yes, I have also ordered a book on how to take better photos of your work.
I have been working with glass for many years now and have also been trying to attach it to things - like rings. After many mediocre attempts at soldering I walked out of my shop at 2am one morning, frustrated and convinced that I would not go to sleep that night until I found a place that taught silversmithing.
Enter: Highland Spark
I found Lila, who has a shop in Highland Park, NJ which is about an hour south of me. I took a three hour workshop with her in December and walked out with this Sterling Silver Spinning Ring. I was hooked. I signed up for her 8 week course and have been making steady progress.
I started my journey into jewelry making in 2005 while I was working in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an area inundated with amazing artisans. I started with glass, which led to silver, which led to inlay, which led to joy.