Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wild Wire Women Retreat: First Two Days!

I can't believe it, but we've come to the end of our first two days of workshops in my studio! Three ladies traveled from near (California) and far (Canada) to participate in a weekend Wild Wire Women retreat in my mountain home of Idyllwild, California, and we have packed in a lot of activities, instruction, great food, and a few glasses of wine. Pictured above are my students; from left: Donna, Joan, and Melissa. Pictured below you can see Donna smiling as she polishes a piece of jewelry from our first day of class, which began with foldforming:
Melissa really got into using the circle cutter and my new favorite tool, the stubby hammer from Harbor Freight (it's only $3 bucks!), which is great for stamping and texturing metal as well as punching out copper circles:
Here's Joan, using a brass mallet to stamp texture into her foldformed earrings:
Pictured below is a pair of my foldformed earrings that I made as a sample. We pursued two different types of foldforming on Friday morning, followed by lots of texturing with a variety of hammers and chasing tools as well as alphabet metal stamps and other items. After a very busy morning hammering metal, we were ready to break for a delicious lunch of grilled paninis and fresh green salad.
The following photo shows one of Donna's earrings that she made from cutout copper circles:
Joan's earrings are pictured below. She really got into the texturing, and after a day in my studio she already has a full page of "wish list" tools and other items she'd like to add to her studio!
Another pair of Donna's earrings are pictured below. The photo was taken with an old iPhone, so we apologize for the blurriness!
After lunch, we were in for another busy workshop. This time, we tackled etching copper to make some beautiful cuffs. Pictured below, you can see Donna preparing two cuffs for immersion in a ferric chloride solution:
And here are our finished cuffs! Pictured below, from left: Melissa's gorgeous cuff with natural leaf stampings, Donna's bold design with hand-drawn images and text, Joan's hand-stamped palm leaf design, and my stamped cuff:
We were exhausted by the end of Friday's etching class, and ready for a nice dinner at Gastrognome, which we all enjoyed very much. But this morning after breakfast, everyone was well rested and excited to take on two more workshops: sawing & piercing metal, and torch-fire enameling. Pictured below, Joan saws out an intricate pattern from copper sheet:
My goal in teaching this class is to eliminate the fear of the jeweler's saw, and to get students excited about sawing metal and pursuing this technique as a true art form in its own right. I was very happy to hear from all three students that by the end of class, they felt very comfortable with the saw and were not so worried about breaking blades.
Lunch today was a huge potato bar with chili, butter and sour cream, black beans, cheddar cheese, green salad, broccoli, avocado, tomato, and beverages. Mmmmm....
This afternoon, we tried our hands at enameling simple charms and headpins using a torch. Joan had great success enameling small copper charms she had punched out, plus some steel charms she had brought to class just to see if they would take the enamel:
The following photo shows a few charms that Donna enameled. She really enjoyed using my corner notcher to make flowers out of copper circles, and then doming them with a dap before torch enameling them:
And here's Donna, after a full afternoon spent behind the torch:
We had so much fun today, it's just hard to believe that we're already two-thirds of the way through our Wild Wire Women weekend! Tomorrow we'll review some foldforming and torch enameling techniques before we take on our biggest project yet, the copper tube bracelet with mixed media. I'll post photos tomorrow night. For now, it's bedtime!
Happy hammering,


Cinnamon Jewellery said...

It looks like everyone is having fun and really enjoying your classes in what looks like (from the last photo) a beautiful location :D

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