Thursday, May 2, 2013

What is Metalsmithing?

Day Two of the 'Blog Everyday in May' challenge with Story of my life.
Educate us on something you know a lot about!

I'm taking this opportunity to tell you all what a Metalsmithing is about. When people ask me what my major is and I say 'photography and metalsmithing' I always get the huh look, and question. It's technology called Jewelry and Metalsmithing.
We do a lot! We work with mainly silver, copper, or bronze. There is solider (a lot like welding) involved. Sometimes lots of hammering, and lots and lots and lots of sawing. If I had a nickel for every saw blade I've broken, I'd be on an island someone blogging- not in my metals studio!
There is casting of silver and bronze, stone setting, smithing- which is the lots of hammering part, dye forming, enameling, and granulation.

Most fav- enameling and granulation
Least fav- casting

As smithers/ jewelers, we make vessels, jewelry, body wear, anything really.

Here's how you do a basic piece:
You start out with a piece of metal and your sketch.
Easiest to sketch your design on the metal before sawing it out.
File file file.

Smith or texture the piece with some hammers or maybe a roll press.

Clean clean clean it. With a brass brush and soap, pumice, and 'the pickle' (a water/ powder mixture).
Get to solidering whatever you are going to add to it.
Clean it again.
And keep going from there.
The last step is the patina (coloring).
I seem to favor the Liver of Sulfer, which is turns copper black and silver a rainbowish/ blue color.

Most of my things are big, over sized necklaces. This last semester I've really started to think ahead for my BFA show (a gallery exhibit in which profiles your work your last semester in the program before graduation). I'm doing these dark metals, with different waves and movements, that are pops of green and cream. They have chains and hematite stones to give dimension.

Here is some of my work:

Cast silver and bronze ring.
It's two pieces! 

Set enameled piece with bronze back piece.

Granulation earrings.

Head piece with chain vale.
Enamels, granulation, stone setting, love.

Back of piece.
How you've learned something new. Maybe the next time someone says they are a Metals major your eyes won't go crossed!

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