Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RAW #4

RAW #4 - Mosaic, originally uploaded by lorahart.
Sterling silver, fine silver, brass, porcelain doll. pierced, soldered, roller printed, bezel set.

Lessons Learned:
• Brass is much more difficult to solder than copper
• 18g brass is a bear!
• When piercing, slow and steady wins the race. I'm really proud that my oval needed almost no filing to perfect the shape.
• When forming gallery wire, a jig is really handy. I'm also really proud that the gallery wire outer bezel fit like a glove.
• The little torch rocks for making little balls on both sides!!
• Cleaning and polishing the inside of a double bezel is really difficult. Any tips out there?
• When setting a 3D object, having a heatless wheel to grind the back flat is fabulous.
• When doing something that is really above your skill set, be really happy with your successes and realize that the next one will be even better.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - January RAW Edition

The Ring A Week challenge is in full bloom. I've made three rings and learned a lot from each construction, and I'm having so much fun! Really, if you haven't joined up - you should!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I had the best Level 2 certification class last weekend. My dear friend Tia rented me her fabulous studio at the Santa Monica Airport for the weekend. Loved working there, and I hope I can repeat the experience.

My 8 talented students worked hard to create their examples and I'm very proud of them all. A certification class is a wonderful way to learn a lot of techniques in a concentrated amount of time, but the pace can be stressful for some.

Everyone did an especially good job with the mirror finish and bezel making requirements. And no one melted the silver when fusing the thin bezel wire closed.

If you're interested in taking a certification class from me, please check out my special blog page. If you're not in my neighborhood, the PMC Guild and PMC Connection have listings of classes in your area.

Monday, January 17, 2011

RAW 3# - Caught in a Trap

Metal Clay, fine silver, carved shell, cubic zirconia cabochon. Made during a class taught.

Lessons learned (and remembered after the fact):
• Items made during a class are never as finely finished as I would have liked.
• Two thin shanks joined together create a wide shank.
• Wide shanks need to be made a size larger to fit comfortably.

• A hammer handpiece might be fun to play with. If it weren't so expensive.
• A hand carved item will never be symmetrical.
• It does no good to stress about an off center setting. Tell them that's what you *meant* to do.

Monday, January 10, 2011

RAW #2 - Mommy Under Glass

.925, copper, rutilated quartz, photo
Lessons Learned:
• soldering copper is different than soldering silver
• a wider band might have helped the huge stone sit on my finger better
• using up my 10 year old scraps is fun - I made the band in 2003
• large quartz cabochons magnify anything that's under them - which is a great thing in this case. this photo was tiny.
• bead wire is fun to use
• when at first you don't succeed - try, try again!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - V&A Edition

With silver prices rocketing sky high, I'm giving a great deal of thought to my future in jewelry making and teaching. One FaceBook friend said she had it on good authority (a friend of hers) that silver could reach $75.00 before we know it!

Jewelry makers are going to have to become very clever, either at marketing silver as the new gold (and think how inexpensive we'd think gold was at $75) or finding new materials to work with.

Here's hoping the world regains it's sanity in 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RAW #1

There's another personal challenge happening at Flickr. It's called RAW - Ring A Week. I'm in on this one for sure. I tried to make a Ring A Day last year and did great for the first 3 months, then I simply fizzled out. But I think I can manage 52 rings in a year. I'm going to try to improve my metal skills as much as I can.

 I tried to do some solder inlay in the kerf, but found out that it didn't work at all! I just made a mess. I think folks who do solder inlay as a decorative accent must flow it into a engraved depression, not a void.
Since 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit I used that as inspiration for my first ring. I found an image I liked on Google Images, sized it down in Photoshop and printed it out. Then I used a glue stick to bond it to a scrap piece of copper I had lying around and sawed it out with my fabulous new Knew Concepts saw. Did a bit of sanding and thrumming in the kerf (thrumming = thread charged with compound to sand with, kerf = the void that the saw removes) and soldered it to a piece of thin iron (or is it steel?) from an old undergarment - if you know what I mean.

I learned a lot in this exercise. And had a ton of fun. Why don't you join me?

Monday, January 3, 2011


I'm one of those people who always answers "Nothing" when asked what's new. I've been trying to change that habit recently, but the impulse is still there. I just don't think there's anything so spectacular happening in my life to answer any other way. Or maybe it's some forgotten deep seated childhood trauma. who knows. You'll notice that it's true for this blog too. I rarely talk about my work here.

Instead of making New Year resolutions (which always get broken before March 1st), I'm going to take Christine Kane's advice and choose a word to define my intention for 2011. This year my word is RISK. And I'm going to start right now. I've never made a list of my accomplishments in the previous year before.  And I'm not actually doing it now to toot my horn for you. I'm doing it to show myself that the world was very generous to me in 2010. Thanks for indulging me a bit.

In no particular order -
1. My work was featured in gorgeous ads from PMC Connection and Whole Lotta Whimsy.
2. I was asked to be a juror for The PMC Guild Annual.
3. My work was featured in The PMC Guild Annual for the 4th time.
4. I was contacted by Lark Books to be a part of a book based on the Ring A Day project.
5. I was asked to be a part of a RAD exhibition for the SNAG conference in Seattle in 2012 and the subsequent show at Punch Gallery.
6. I was asked to become the first Artistic Advisor for PMC Connection.
7. I created a blog for PMC Connection called CornerStone.

Some of my RAD rings

8. I was asked to be one of the 10 inaugural artists for Whole Lotta Whimsy's Master Muse team.
9. I was able to get through 3 straight months making one ring a day.
10. My work was featured on the official postcard for the 25th anniversary of the Contemporary Crafts Market in Santa Monica, California.
11. I was asked to join the Board of Advisors for Metal Clay Artist Magazine.
12. A project propsal of mine was accepted and will be published in Larks' 30 Minute Rings this spring.

I've definitely had my challenges this year too. But reading this list reminds me to savor the sweet gifts from the universe that I've been given. Happy 2011.