I'd like to practice on some metal less expensive than sterling or
argentium, but similar in malleability.
Katherine, I would suggest either copper or brass/jewelers bronze.
Nickel is too different, IMHO. I like seeing the solder joints on
copper; boy, do they ever stand out! It feels a bit different to saw
it, but silver will only be easier. Copper feels a little bit
stickier to saw. Use plenty of lubricant (wax or whatever). But I
prefer sawing copper to sawing brass. Copper hammers beautifully,
and you can forge away (hammer) to your heart's content on it for
Get a bunch and whack it up and try doing stuff to it, not even as a
project, but as a series of experimental examples. Plan to use it up
as rapidly as possible, to see what happens when you try anything and
everything you can think of to it! This helps to get over being
afraid to use materials, and it will stimulate you and give you a
lot of ideas to go forward with when you buy some sterling. Have at
it, and have a blast! Fearlessly forge ahead! It is such fun. I'd
also suggest that a book like Tim McCreight's basic textbook would
give you a lot of ideas of what to try. Be reckless and wild, and
learn, learn, learn!
This reply is making me want to go out to my studio and wildly whack
on something, and since it is my birthday, I think that I will just
take the time to do so! The last time I did that, I made a piece
with brass, fold formed, and added a neoprene, shaped strap, all in
about 75 minutes, and sold it 2 days later for $125.00. And it was
just an experiment, a pre-prototype for later silver work, and just a
lark to make! I just told myself that I had an hour for fun, even
though I was busy & behind on other work, and I took the time (well,
OK, a little bit more than an hour). Well worth it, just for the fun,
and I got paid almost $50/hr. to boot. That's my idea of
recreation...but then, I'm a metal nut. (BTW, this was shortly after
meeting Charles L.B. at CLASP.)
How about some of the rest of you? What would you like to do with a
stolen hour or two in the studio?