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Attending art fairs can be dangerous


#1

My husband and I attended the Ann Arbor Art Fairs this afternoon.
It’s the first time I’ve been to a really good high quality art fair
since I started casting silver 5 years ago.

I soon found I was looking at all the jewelry with different eyes
than ever before.

In the past I just glanced at the designs and either liked them or
didn’t, and moved on quickly to the next booth…

This time, I stopped and looked at techniques and construction
methods, whether or not I liked the actual pieces.

I stopped to talk to several artists about how they made things that
interested me, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were
all happy to talk to me about their work, rather than keeping their
techniques to themselves. I looked at the artists’ names to see if I
recognized any names from Orchid, but I didn’t see any.

I discovered that I have gained respect for techniques just from
reading about them out here, even though I’ve never tried doing them
myself. I found myself drawn to fabricated jewelry that I never would
have even glanced at in the past, because I know from reading on here
how difficult it can be to do that fine small scale assembly. I talked
to a woman who makes only one-off built-up wax designs, casts them
and sells them–she never makes molds of her work, and never carves
anything. She gave me pointers in wax buildup techniques, and in
turn, I told her about Orchid, and about wax carving classes with
Kate Wolf.

I met another woman who does delicate silver work that is completely
held together by perfectly balled wires–32 gauge and finer balled
wire. I came away from her booth with a new resolve to master the
evil water torch that is the bane of my soldering existance.

I fell in love with textures that were applied to metal with acid
etching and rolling mills. I think I might need to add a rolling
mill to my shop someday soon.

The acid etching, well, that might have to wait until we can move
and I have a separate building for the shop. I’m not too sure about
having those chemicals in the house around the parrots and dogs.

When we were on the way home, I found myself making a mental
shopping list of new tools I’d like and new things I want to learn to
do. I didn’t buy anything today other than lunch, but I suspect this
is going to be my most expensive trip ever to an art fair.

–Kathy Johnson–

so much to learn, so much to make so little time

Feathered Gems Jewelry
http://www.fgemz.com


#2

Dear Ms. Johnson:

I met another woman who does delicate silver work that is
completely held together by perfectly balled wires--32 gauge and
finer balled wire. I came away from her booth with a new resolve
to master the evil water torch that is the bane of my soldering
existance." 

There are a number of the simpler water torches which can be harder
to operate and maintain, due to a lack of features. I sell a related
product, the Spirflame[tm], and I know all the water welders very
well. None of them, even the simplest, to my knowledge have "evil"
built into them as a specific feature. Like any of the equipment in
your shop, there are methods and techniques used which make the tool
work better, suit your particular need, and ease your concerns. These
methods are learned by training and experience. There are specific
classes you can take which would help your torch work advance
quickly, some with portions directly related to your specific need.
The next one, I know of, is at the Penland School of Crafts, Session
Six August 13 -25, taught by Mary Preston:

“Mary Preston–Making Like Midas In this class we will become
comfortable with fabricating delicate, openwork forms in 18k gold. In
addition to soldering with traditional propane/acetylene/oxygen torch
systems, we will learn to use a very safe and extremely precise torch
called the Spirflame[tm] which converts distilled water into gas.
(This is the torch that jewelers Jackie Ryan and Giovanni Corvaja
have used in their refined work for years.) Soldering skills (not
necessarily in gold) required. Code 06ma”

Or we (means me) would be happy to work with you to make you more
comfortable using your water torch. I grew up at the bench, and have
many years of training in this area. And our firm has supported many
people who have water torch units, instead of our Spirflame[tm]
without cost or obligation. Please feel free to contact me directly.

Best Regards,
Gary

Gary W. Miller
Spirig Advanced Technologies, Inc.
Sr. Technical Advisor
35 Bronson Road
Stratford, CT 06614-3654 U. S. A.
Telephone: 800 499 9933/203 378 5216
Fax: 203 386 1346
www.spirig.com