Feb 7, 2008

What Goes On In the Beginning Metal-working class @ Pouncing Rain

I mentioned in a previous blog that I am currently taking a beginning metal-working class at a local studio Pouncing Rain ( http://www.pouncingrain.com/ ). It is VERY fun and there are 6 women in the class with me as well as our teacher Judith. 
  I took my camera to class with me to take pictures and share them with you so you can see what goes on in there! This is week 4 of the 6 week class. We are finishing up our first project which can be a pendant or a pin. 
  So far we have learned how to saw, snip, shape, texture, mold, anneal, solder, pickle, file, and polish with metal. We were given copper and brass to start our projects with. Some people have chosen to go with very intricate designs for their 1st projects too! I did not, mine was simple but I enjoy looking at what everyone else is trying out. Here is our teacher demonstrating how to apply solder to a small crease by using the "pick" method. 

The studio we use used to be a restaurant. So we do all torching under the giant fan that is where the stove used to be in the kitchen. Then in the next picture she is demonstrating how to use a tube cutter. I think that's what it was called? Something like that.
Kath of the soon to open MyEmmaGrace etsy store (http://www.myemmagrace.etsy.com/ ) is peeking over her shoulder. I have met some wonderful artists in this class. Some with their own websites, some that have their own etsy shops and some that are learning about Etsy from us who have some experience! 

This is Deb (http://www.waterscolors.com/ ) working on her pendant with a torch. Some of these pics didn't show the flame for some reason, but it's there! It looks like she is using the pick method to apply solder to her piece.

This is Allie of the Etsy shop GlassAllie ( http://www.glassallie.etsy.com/) firing the torch to apply some silver balls to her piece. I think? Or maybe the bail. She can tell you!

This is Kathy and Deb playing with the stamps and snips to create their works of art. There are certain hammers you use for the stamps, and the metal itself and even when you shape it you need to use certain hammers. Everything stays in good shape that way. This is Judy showing us how to use the big polisher for our 1st polishing of our pendants. 


I learned fast that the polisher is really strong and will rip your metal right out of your hands if you don't have a good grip on it! First she applies the polish to the wheel and then you can polish. We have to wear masks because you don't want to breathe in the particles that fly around and the goggles are because of how easy it can take your metal from you and fly right in your face!
Here I am working with the small polisher on my piece. My goggles were useful though cause someone next to me had their metal ripped out of their hands and fly right by my head a couple times! Funny though, I jump in the air when people light the torches or sometimes when they pound things, but this thing flying past my head didn't stir me. I am so weird.

Now I probably should have said this earlier but most of us don't dress up for class! We all dress down because of the messes we can make and the class starts at 9:30am so we don't really care about looking good, especially when folks like myself that live 20 min away have to get up extra early to make it on time. I just grab what looks warm and clean!
Here is what my pendant looked like before I started polishing it. It can really dirty while you are working on it that's why it looks so raggedy. The bottom part is brass and the top(fish bones) are copper. When I finally polished it it was so SHINY I couldn't believe it was the same thing. But I didn't take any pics of it yet being shiny because when I was done with the 1st polishing i applied a patina to it to darken the parts I want to stand out more, like the word "yum" on the tail. Once it's finished I will post a pic though!

The picture of the backside shows the bail I made and attached in class that day too. This bail is hidden so you won't see it once it's on the chain.
SO... this is my class! I wanted to share for any of you who might be wondering about it or are interested in it yourself. This class has taught me so much and helped me get over my fear of using the torches and tools that are necessary for this kind of work. I am still nervous, but I am not afraid to use them. What's funny is none of the other women seemed scared at all! I was the only wuss. :)

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