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First day of school

Good morning,

On January 26, I will be attending my very first class on
jewelry fabrication and metals. I am a wirewrapper and beader,
so have no experience with metals whatsoever. I must make a box
and a bowl! That is the first step and then I will be able to
take baby steps in learning jewelry making. Does anyone out
there remember (either with pain or pleasure, and I’m sure much
humor) their first days learning about metals and equipment etc?
Are there any tidbits of wisdom or advice you can share with me
before or while I am making my bowl and my box? Any pitfalls?
What is most important for me to grasp immediately? Any help will
be recieved more than humbly and greatly appreciated.


Trudy, The best advice I ever got was that hot metal looks the
same as cold metal. Good luck to you. Deb - In the springlike

One of the first things for beginners to overcome is nasty,
miserable, frustrating, dreaded firescale. Pay close attention
when your instructor shows you how to set the torch flame and
coat your work with flux. Make sure you fully understand this
process and you will spend less time finishing your piece and
more time learning. –

Nancy Bernardine Widmer
ICQ# 9472643
Bacliff, Texas US on the Gulf Coast just blocks from Galveston Bay

Hi Trudy -

I’m currently doing the same thing - taking jewellery
fabrication & silversmithing at a local college. I think the
best thing to do is to just relax and have fun with it. Didn’t
have any prior experience with a torch and I’m having a blast
(pardon the pun!), although the one project I’m working on in
silversmithing (a pierced spoon) seems to be taking me forever to
file out. The only thing I can suggest that with any project you
do, definitely employ the KISS method when coming up with a


Hi Trudy… well, remember to not put a death grip on the saw.
Try not to tense your arm up when sawing. If the sawing gets
hard, then BACK off. Sawing is a finesse thing, not a power
thing. Let’s see… and CLEAN your piece very well before

Have a blast. It’s not been so long for me, and now I’m
teaching the blasted stuff. One of my kiddos soldered her first
sterling ring yesterday and she was walking on the moon. She
had a good clean butt joint (you’ll find out), and the solder
flowed just perfectly. She had very little clean up to do and
wore the ring today and was stopping people in the hall to show
them. One of my student’s mothers stopped me in the hall
yesterday and asked me if I could teach her kid geometry. I’m
not a math person and I told her, and the mom said that her
daughter DOES jewelry homework all the time (not that I really
give them homework…) and she thought that if I worked with her
on geometry that maybe the girl would do that work as well.

Let us know how you do!!! I can’t wait to hear.

Susan Embler
Dallas, Texas

Dear Trudy, IF you are going to be making a bowl… Wear a pair
of leather driving gloves…NOt too thick but it will save your
fingers and hands and give you a better grip also… Also how
about taking along a pair of ear plugs…Just in case the noise
level gets a bit much…Have fun calgang

Remember, it is the journey that is important, not the
destination. Keep your designs simple.

A simple well crafted piece sings, whereas a difficult piece,
executed poorly, does not.

Most important, you are the master of the material.

I still get a total thrill when my pieces solder well. For me
there is nothing like it. Watching the alchemy between heat and
metal…it’s better than sex.


Have fun and RELAX!
Karen Christians
416 Main St.
Woburn, MA 01801


Current Artwork:

My first metal project was a silver bowl and I was immediately
captured. The metal was so plastic and the way the hammer pushed
a wave in front of itself was so much like fingers throwing a
pot was wonderful! It was all very easy. I used the scrap from
the corners that the bowl was cut from and made a linked
bracelet. I was a senior in college with a heavy class load but
what I thought about at night was making a box clasp although I
didn’t know what it was called. I figured it out and it even
worked although I didn’t know how to keep the clip springy. Alas,
it was my last semester and so I went forth to teach biology.
Fifteen years, a husband, and two children latter, I went to grad
school and converted to art education with a major in metal and
painting. It’s too bad I didn’t have the metal class earlier in
my college years.

Marilyn Smith


My best advice to beginners is to have the goal of doing the
same project 5 or 6 times–but vary it a little with each one.
For example, you’ll probably fabricate a silver bezel-set stone.
After you do the first one, do some more but with different
stones. Practice makes perfect.


Virginia Lyons