Mimi and her girls

Mimi and her girls
Mimi and her girls

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dreaming of New Techniques with Metal

There are lots of things people dream about, a special trip to somewhere exotic and beautiful, a new dream house. I am a member of a great group on Etsy called the Aspiring Metalsmiths Team so my dreams revolve around learning new techniques so I can create some of those gorgeous designs swirling around in my brain.

I would like to share my little pipe dreams so you can either have a good chuckle over my aspirations or root me on while I keep challenging myself to go to the next level with my skills.

My first new technique I promised myself I would conquer is flush setting or as it is sometimes called "false gypsy setting. This technique involves drilling into a piece of metal, getting the oh so perfect size that matches the diameter of your shiny faceted stone, with a seat to hold it level and then very carefully burnished down the metal around the hole over the stone so it is "flush" or level with the surface of the metal. Below is an example from one of what we fondly refer to as one of the "big dogs" in metalsmithing on Etsy. This ring is from tinkertown- http://www.etsy.com/shop/tinkertown?ref=seller_info and I think it's a beautiful example of the beauty and simplicity of flush setting. The possibilities of this technique are just endless!

The second technique I would love to learn is etching on metal. Wow- Picture a piece of lace, very fine, very beautiful, then picture that pattern permanently etched onto a piece of metal and made into a gorgeous cuff bracelet that you can look at and admire the beautiful pattern over and over! It's like texture without the expensive rolling mill, texture plates and all he space you need to set up that big piece of equipment (not feasible in my little house). Basically, etching consists of an acid bath the eats away and a design or pattern that you have created by using a resist (something that prevents the acid from eating away the metal). The part where the resist is will stay smooth, the part where you have created your design gets eroded away and leaves a permanent design. Here is a picture of a lovely pendant created in copper by my teammate Asa Pearson of asapdesigns, http://www.etsy.com/shop/asapdesigns?ref=seller_info

As you can see from this picture, not only can you do a totally unique design, but you can add color!!!

I have a really long list of more things I'd like to lean, but those will have to come after I master these two. I hope you've enjoyed a little glimpse into my journey with metalsmithing!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some examples of my aspirations for learning in the new year. If you'd like to see some examples of other metalsmith's dream techniques, just check out any of the blogs below and share our dreams.