Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beginning Filigree

I've been having a lot of fun lately exploring my creativity. Last week I began a silver filigree class and last night I soldered my first piece. It was a little terrifying to learn to use the acetylene torch. I heard "soldering" and imagined we'd be using little soldering irons like I did with stained glass. Instead, we use much higher heat and flame little bits of soldering wire onto our pieces. I've become more comfortable using the torch to anneal (soften) my wire and I've learned to twist it. Last night I shaped the frame for a filigree orifice hook (for my spinning wheel) and soldered the joint. It was really exciting to watch the flux melting away and to see the solder liquify and leap into the joint.

The next step is to shape all of my filigree and solder it into the frame. I can do most of the shaping and layout work at home and save my time at the workshop for the parts that need the torch. If I'm not allowed to have a gas grill at my apartment, I think my landlords would really frown upon an acetylene torch in the second bedroom. This is a blessing in disguise, because it will keep my love of filigree work at least slightly under control. I can get a pass to the workshop that lets me use it whenever it's not in use for a class. Even better, the workshop pass gives me access to the pottery studio. I learned how to do wheel pottery once upon a time and I may look into a refresher class in the fall.

For now though, I'm going to see how this orifice hook turns out and then try to make either more hooks or a couple of pendants. The teacher has agreed to expand the class and we'll also learn how to make bezel settings and bails for custom pendants. I've always wanted to know how and I'm excited to get the chance to try.

It doesn't look like much yet, but it's a start! (Click to see bigger)

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