Learning a New Skill in 2012

Learning a New Skill in 2012

Published On: 01-04-2012 04:30am

Comments: 6 - Hits: 0

Welcome to the first Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival.  Our topic for January is about learning a new skill or technique in 2012.

My jewelry making friends at the Jewelry Artisans Community have been egging me on to learn how to use a torch.  I've been wanting to do just that for a very long time and with their encouragement decided to give it a try.

Being new to torching, I wasn't ready to invest in a lot of expensive equipment, so I  raided my husband's garage.  Armed with eye protection, his trusty BernzOmatic plumber's torch, a spare fire brick for the wood stove and a baking sheet, I was ready to begin.      


"Start with headpins!" my friends said.  Great.  How?  I found a very easy to follow tutorial (Balled Wire Headpins at How-to-Make-Jewelry.com) and managed to make headpins out of copper wire.  They aren't pretty due to my lack of experience, but once the little ball formed, I was hooked and I became a headpin making fool!


Getting a little bored with headpins, it was time to try something else.  Ah, yes.  That wire I twisted with the kitchen mixer, but can't figure out what to do with, due to the pointy wire ends.  The BernzOmatic fused those ends very nicely.  So exciting!


Now I was all jazzed about playing with fire, but need something a bit more stimulating to keep me going.  Not quite ready to solder yet, plus I don't have soldering supplies.

Hmmmm...maybe fold forming.  Fold forming was invented by Charles Lewton-Brain in 1980 and is a completely new method of working with metal.  Through heating, hammering, folding and unfolding the metal is allowed to do what it wants to do by taking advantage of the natural tendencies of metal.

After cutting shapes out of 26 gauge copper sheet, I then folded them and as time they became work hardened heated with the torch, continued shaping and just generally had a lot of fun.  These are the first results.  They're not perfect as they have tool marks and scratches on them, but I can see the possibilities.


Next round, having learned a few things, I was much more careful and am really pleased with how these turned out.  I buffed and polished some areas to let shiny copper show through while leaving some of the heat darkened areas alone.



A little bit of bead bling and these babies really shine.



Totally fun...totally exciting...totally hooked.  I was told torching would open up an entire new world of design possibilities and my friends were right.  A big thank you to all of you who pushed me in this direction.  Without you, I might have dithered for who knows how long.

Will I continue to play with fire?  You better believe it!

To see what other Jewelry Artisans have to say about learning a new skill/technique, click on the links below:

Cat's Wire

Bead Sophisticate

Reader's Comments

By JewelryArtByDawn on 01/08/2012 @ 05:06am

Thank for your wonderful comments; they are much appreciated!

By j3jewelry on 01/08/2012 @ 04:39am

Great Dawn! You did fine right off the bat.I'm glad you're having fun learning your new techniques!

By Guest on 01/06/2012 @ 11:01pm

Amazing! I love how you combined the foldforming with a little wirework to come up with something beautiful and useful.

By JewelryArtByDawn on 01/05/2012 @ 05:22pm

Thank you! For the headpins I used this tutorial: http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com/balled-wire-headpins.html I then watched this youtube video to get a basic understanding of fold forming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I55cyRHvtoo&feature=related From there, I winged it. Keep in mind you don't need a bunch of expensive tools to do this. I used a pair of tin snips to cut the shapes, a rubber mallet and a flat piece of metal for hammering, needle nose pliers, round nose pliers for shaping, a file and sand paper to smooth the edges and my fingers. Have fun with it if you decide to give it a try!

By Guest on 01/05/2012 @ 03:59pm

I want to try! Did you use a tutorial or a book????

By CatsWire on 01/04/2012 @ 10:03am

Well done! Continue to have fun with fire, I can't wait to see more "hot" beauties from you ;-)

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