Friday, April 1, 2011

Thank You Kim St. Jean

It's funny what gets me to finally bite the bullet and try something new. I've never taken a jewelry class in my life, and am grateful to be alive in the digital age, where you can find almost anything online. There is a video for just about everything (YouTube) and great books and DVDs at our fingertips.

I mentioned Kim St. Jean's new book, Mixed Metal Mania, in a previous post. It's great, go get it right now. Because of this book, I finally tried using stering silver solder paste, wire and sheet to create my own bezels. I am a huge fan of copper and brass tube bezels, which I make using recylcled pipe. But, I also wanted to learn the traditional methods of creating bezels, but didn't have the courage to go for it before now.

Turns out, in my recent studio cleaning frenzy, I found a tube of sterling silver solder paste I totally forgot I even had (and don't really remember buying...Jeez, I'm old) as well as a nice selection of solder wire and sheet. I guess at one time I thought I might actually give this a go! Good thing I did stock up, and I'm very proud to say I now am a soldering fool.

Kim made it look and sound so simple, I figured I had to be able to do it.  The photo below is of a ring I created from scratch--sterling on brass bezel with a nice hunk of Boulder opal.  I am pleased with the results, need to perfect my finishing a bit (you can see the line where the bezel wire, but overall I think it 'aint bad for a first try.  FYI, the ring is available in my Etsy shop...just sayin', a girl's gotta eat, so take a peek if you like opals...

I am eager to try more complex designs now, just wish sterling silver prices weren't so crazy.  Remember the days of silver at 50 cents a gram???  Thems was the good ol' days, that's for sure!

Oh, and I also just ordered my very own Fordham FlexShaft.  I burned up my third Dremel set up trying to make it behave like a real machine.  So, that's exciting and totally emptied my wallet....wish me luck!!!

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