Jewelry Class Update 7/10/19

Hello everyone, with yesterday’s class, we’re on week 4 in our six-week session. And have we learned a thing or two! I think at this point, we’ve worked through many of the normal activities of a jewelry maker – soldering, polishing, sawing, stamping. We’ve used sterling silver, copper, brass, and nickel silver – in sheet and wire form.

I think it’s taken me this amount of time to start to understand what things I gravitate toward in making jewelry. I am most interested in texture – I love hammering metal and stamping it. Earrings and pendants interest me; rings, no; bracelets, maybe.

We observed two demonstrations by the teacher: one involving soldering a swervy wire shape on a piece of copper, suitable for a pendant, and a second one that created a small 3-D sculpture about 2-3 inches tall, the lesson being soldering metals at 90 degree angles and then cutting or curling them to create more interest ( useful for a pin or pendant).

Then each of us worked on individual projects, with the instructor helping us as needed. I used the time to explore metals and texture, with the idea of some of my work ending up as a pair of earrings or a necklace pendant. Here are some photos.

This is a view of the accumulated items I worked on in the class.


Lots of bits and pieces, right? Here are the lessons I was learning. For this item, a piece of nickel silver, I used various chasing tools to create random texture. (The colors you are seeing are reflections of my clothes; the metal is silver-gray).


These small bits of copper were cut with the cutter and then I used nail-setting tools to stamp in circles.



In this picture you see copper run through the rolling mill (lines), more “bubbles” done with the nail setters; and two cut-out circles in nickel silver. These last came from the scrap bin – there is a treasure trove (to me) of leftovers from others’ projects including many pieces with cut out circles. Here, I trimmed these small individual circles from a larger line of them with the cutter.



This odd-shaped piece of nickel silver contains a previously cut hole – what I did was to create the small “pimples” (I can’t remember the correct name for the effect right now!) on this scrap piece so that I could remember to try more of them next week. I started to practice them at the end of class and ran out of time to do anything more.  They are formed by hammering a rounded tool into a steel block with various sized depressions (you match the tool size with the corresponding depression in the block).  Here you are looking at the side formed away from the tools. Turn it over and you would have little depressions in the metal, as it looks when you create it.

You do see what I mean about the random beauty of the scraps, though, don’t you? My collage mind is really excited about the possibilities of using these materials.


Next week I hope to be able to combine some of these pieces with new things I will make, in order to come up with some earrings or a charm for a necklace.

All this hammering and my left thumb ended up a casualty – I hit it twice with the hammer and ouch! Now I have a bruise under the nail. Nothing serious. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before now, to tell the truth.

Until next week…



8 thoughts on “Jewelry Class Update 7/10/19

  1. Laura Black

    Hi Claudia, wonderful that so much has been covered in a short space of time and that you’ve taken to it so readily. But the hammer! I can feel the pain.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I feel as if I’ve just entered a room and just now surveying the crowd, seeing who is there and so on. There are so many paths to take in this field and if nothing else, I am really enjoying understanding how the jewelry I’ve been seeing all these years in art fairs and shows is made. I do like hammering. My poor thumb, it’s better today, but I am not surprised I hit it, only that it took so long!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      It’s fun. Though I don’t see myself as a jewelry maker, I like understanding the processes and trying them out. I would not rule out more classes.

  2. Diane

    Even these bits and pieces have your signature on them. Cant wait to see finished work.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      It’s always touch and go, you think you finally have a tiny grip on what you are doing and then, it goes awry. But, on the other hand, I don’t know anything about jewelry so everything we do, even the mistakes, is fun and I learn something. I’m hoping to finish a pair of earrings or a necklace pendant but we’ll see what the teacher has in store for us….

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