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On The Wire, October 2011
October 16, 2011

On The Wire - Oct 2011

Tools & Supplies
Tips & Techniques

Here we are in the Fall season again. My, how quickly the year has flown by! I promised not to inundate you with newsletters and I've certainly kept my word on that (chuckle, chuckle). With that in mind, I am going to endeavor to send out a newsletter a little more often than I have in the past.

As a teacher I'm always experimenting, looking for a better or simpler way to get from A-to-Z. I believe that jewelry-making should be a joy — not a chore — and to keep it fun. This summer I created some new jewelry which then inspired me to develop some new classes and workshops using a new spin on traditional jewelry making techniques that simplify or take out some of the mystique of jewelry making.

I'm excited about being elected to the board of the WestCoast chapter of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths (FSG). I look forward to being an active participant in the society's ongoing endeavors to enhance the educational opportunities for those in the handcrafted jewelry and metalwork arts.

For the winter, I'll be introducing some brand new workshops and a new Metalworks class at the fully-equipped jewelry studio at Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg. We'll cover the basics of jewelry fabrication and metalsmithing using such techniques as soldering, piercing, stone setting, riveting, forging, heat texturing, patinas, finishing and much more!

Throughout the 6-week session, students will make fun and unique jewelry projects in copper, brass and Sterling silver. If you want to really expand your jewelry-making repertoire, this is the place to be. As soon as the winter dates are firm, I'll have them up on my class schedule. Check back often as class size is limited.

I frequently get contacted by people who say they wish they lived in my area so they could participate in my classes and workshops. If you're outside the Tampa, Florida area and you've got a group who are interested in my workshops, contact me for details about hosting a workshop in your area.

Tools & Supplies
The holidays are fast approaching and now is the time to stock up on supplies and tools. Visit my Etsy stores hodgepodgerie Neccessities and hodgpodgerie Adornments and enter coupon code BOOSAVE10 for an instant 10% savings off all tools, supplies and jewelry through October 31st.

I keep a lot of tools and supplies that are frequently used in my classes and workshops which are not offered in my Etsy store. If there's something in particular you want that you don't see there, contact me...I may just have what you're looking for.

Tips & Techniques
Here are some tips to keep your copper and silver jewelry from tarnishing. Copper and silver are especially susceptible to oxidation, turning your copper brown like an old penny and your silver black. To help retard this process, when you're not wearing your jewelry keep it in a sealed plastic bag such as those made by Ziploc®.

Also, try keeping all your copper and silver wire stock in large zip top freezer bags, which helps keep it tarnish-free and ready to use. Mine are stored in a cloth-lined basket and arranged like file folders and in order of wire gauge, largest to smallest. This really helps to keep the metal clean and tarnish-free...a real time saver as you won't have to clean the wire before using it.

One of the most common misuses of tools that I see in my classes is hammer handling. I repeatedly see students holding their hammers close to the tool's steel head. When a hammer is used this way it puts a lot of undue stress on the user's wrist and elbow. Hammers have a long handle for a reason. Back off and grip as far out on your handle as you comfortably can. (I think some of my students hear me say this even in their dreams, I repeat it so often). By gripping the hammer farther out towards the handle end, you let the momentum of the hammer do much of the work. And do not extend your index finger down the handle as this can cause injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

When flattening the end of a wire folks have a tendency to tilt the flat hammer face into the wire. This results in most of the force going into the hammer's edge, leaving marks on the wire and very little flattening. By tilting the hammer face slightly away from the body of the wire the force of the blow is on the outside edge of the hammer face and the end of the wire. Finish the blow with a sliding motion toward the wire end. This leaves the end of the wire smooth, flat and free of hammer marks as shown below.

My hammer of choice For wireworking is the ball pein. If you haven't done so already, check out my article on the ball pein hammer to find out the reasons why I prefer it over the chasing hammer for wirework. Save your chasing hammer for stamping, repoussé and...chasing.

Have a specific question about jewelry making? Visit the Q & A section of my website where you'll find answers to many jewelry making topics. Feel free to ask your own questions or add your comments to any posts. I'd love to hear from you!

And don't forget to take advantage of your 10% savings on everything in my Etsy stores hodgepodgerie Neccessities and hodgpodgerie Adornments through October 31st by entering coupon code BOOSAVE10 during checkout.

Happy Wiring!


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