Thursday, April 9, 2009


Last night I had my first class in Beginning Jewelry Fabrication at The Craft Center and it was a blast! There are only nine people in the class, which makes it super hands on. The Center is located in the Union building of the University of Oregon and it's chock full of crafty goodness, as you might have guessed from the name. We were all set up at benches with really low stools so our work would be close to our eyes and we wouldn't have to hunch over. If you've ever made jewelry, you know that this is a good thing. I have a tendency to slouch down and hold things in my hands rather than resting them on the table, but that isn't a very good idea when you're wielding a saw. We also each had a baggie full of supplies to use during class. There are three tiny sizes of saw blades that break on a whim, some solder, three grits of sand paper and a sheet each of brass and copper metal. You can see outline of what I cut from the copper piece.

For our first class our teacher, Kerri, demonstrated cutting shapes out of sheets of metal and then we returned to our benches to trace and cut our own pieces. I free drew a star on a piece of copper which has a sort of unintentional primitive look to it because I don't free hand draw very well. Cutting was much easier when the lone guy in the class suggested longer, slower strokes with the saw, rather than the jagged little sweeps most of us had been using. When he suggested that, the sound in the room changed dramatically. I wish I could give you the sound effects I gave K when I got home!

Then we got down to the finishing and clean up work of filing and sanding the edges and the faces of our pieces. I thought this would be my least favorite thing, since I have a tendency to get impatient with clean up, but I found it incredibly soothing. Then I remembered that I dislike clean up on a large scale, such as picking up clothes off the floor, but I like cleaning on a small scale and will happily clean dust from heat vents for an hour. Filing the metal edges is like cleaning heat vents. I took great pleasure in finding the little nicks and gouges in the metal and replacing them with the buttery smoothness of a well filed edge. Kerry told us that clean up work is what separates metalworkers from dabblers. I'm going to be optimistic and think that my love for clean up portends a successful run at metalworking. I ran out of time to finish the clean up work on the faces, but I'm going to go into the studio tomorrow and finish it, and perhaps cut out and file something else.

When I got home I felt like a little kid showing my work to my mommy, except I was showing it to my husband. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that my star was all lopsided, um, I mean primitive. My wedding ring was all twisted when I took this photo, so now those of you who don't know me in person can see the lovely ring K had made for me! Pretty, huh? Okay, it's not the best photo of the ring. Maybe tomorrow I'll use my new found photography skills and tell you the rather long story of my ring and my family ring as well. They're both lovely and will make you vintage jewelry folks go batty. ;-)

Have a great day!


  1. wow...I am jealous, that sounds like so much fun! :) I like your 'primitive' star.

  2. Thanks, Flight! It is a blast!

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