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Mentoring/beginner's projects


I teach adults and the occasional teenager. My approach is
different from what I’ve been reading. I give them a length of
heavy copper grounding wire. This is annealed, and forged into a
traditional bracelet with spread ends and a middle section which
is forged in the opposite direction so that it stand straight up.
The student is not afraid of ruining copper, it is something a
guy might wear, it is simple and can look good made up in silver.
The next project is a small piece of copper sheet that the
student perices. A small sawn shape of sheet brass is sweat
soldered on, the edges filed, surfaces sanded and buffed. A
simple safety pin back made of brass wire is soldered onto the
back. Again, students are not afraid of ruining anything
expensive and in the process they have learned to sweat solder,
saw, drill, file, sand, buff…in short a whole vocabulary of
basic techniques. The hammering is important, it teaches that
metal is a plastic material and helps to avoid that cut and
pasted look of some beginner’s fabricated things. Marilyn Smith


Some good suggestions Marilyn, thank you. My student comes in on
Tuesday (actually I now am helping my enamelist studio mate
brush up her metalworking skills as well) and should finish her
stone set ring- the hammering project is one I’ll use in the near
future- a piercing project- earrings- is next.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton, Jr