Monday, January 24, 2011

My Humble Metalsmithing Journey....

This months Aspiring Metalsmiths group blogroll theme is to show the first piece of jewelry that we made and talk about where we started. Well, I don't think I have a picture of the actual first piece of jewelry that I made, due to my computer crashing last year, but I was able to dig up a photo of some pieces made shortly after, and that were pretty much along the same lines. I have always loved jewelry, and bought a few books with projects that seemed right up my alley, and then started playing....

These collage charm pendants were made a few years ago, using glass, copper foil tape, decorative papers and vintage images. I soldered them closed using silver based soft-solder, flux and a soldering iron....much like working with stained glass.
From there I bought a few more books, and taught myself to do some basic wire wrapping, and started working with gemstone beads, and sterling silver...here is one of the first necklaces that I made utilizing those techniques.

After making many charm necklaces, and wire wrapped necklaces and earrings, I felt I was ready to push my skills to the next level, and signed up for a four day intensive beginning silversmithing class at my local lapidary shop. I was hooked! Here is the first completed metalsmithed piece that came out of that class...I hand sawed out the pieces, forged the metal, soldered the bail, oxidized and polished it. I used several different tools and equipment...and learned a lot along the way.
I started putting my new found skills to work by adding simple soldered pieces like this sterling floral bangle to my jewelry portfolio. I have made many of these over the last year, and they helped improve my techniques and finishing skills.
So all of these little steps...working with new materials, trying new techniques, reading and learning...pushing myself to that next step, brings me to where I am today, and where I hope to go. These are two pieces that I have completed in the last two weeks...I think they are good examples of where I am headed on this journey. I hope you'll stay along for the ride. :)


Please take some time to stop by my fellow Aspiring Metalsmither's and read about their humble beginnings by clicking the links below.

13 comments:

SilverBlueberry said...

Great to see your journey Sylvia! Your early work looks good, but I love your recent work!

Joy Tan said...

Great change that you have^^ i love the bangle! The last pendant is beautiful especially the stone forest like patterns^^

PPennee said...

Great blog- we have all come so far and it was fun to read yours!

Jessica @ AbellaBlue.com said...

I Love your ring. Also your first pieces aren't bad enough. ;) The metalwork looks great!

Gayle said...

Sylvia...great post. Wasn't it beneficial to look back over your work and see your progress! It gave me hope! BTW, I love the ring.

gloria said...

Wonderful blog! Your items are all great!

Lana said...

Sylvia, I have one of you silhouette charms and love it! Your jewelry was beautiful then and it is certainly beautiful now.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us. :)

Anonymous said...

Love your work, and even really love your first pieces - they are so sweet and charming.
Can you please let me know what books you bought to start with? It would be great to know which ones were really useful.
Also, could you estimate how much $ it would cost to just get going on some basic, basic metalsmithing?
Thanks so much -

Bonnie Jones said...

Sylvia, I am so impressed as to how far you have come. Your jewelry is gorgeous....
Bonnie

brightstar109 said...

Beautiful pieces every step of the way. So interesting to hear about how we all started along the way

brightstar109 said...

Such pretty pieces every step along the way. So interesting to hear how we all started.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

We are still enjoying the pendant you created for my youngest daughter!
:)

Jenny C. said...

Hey there, found you on the Aspiring Metalsmith's blog! Thank you for the inspiring post, it's good to know that self-taught jewelry artists kind of all start at the same place, lol. I'm on the "second" stage myself and look forward to getting my torch to do some real smithing like you have (: