Monday, January 19, 2009

How Did You Get Started With Jewelry?

Honestly, I think we just thought it would be a cool class to take and something fun to learn together. And it was! We took an evening class at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland on the basics of jewelry-making. We learned how to use all the different types of equipment, learned a variety of basic techniques (soldering is harder than you think when its a little, tiny object!), and came away with a love a new art form. From there, its been practice, practice, practice. We have also found mentors that have further helped us along the way and continued our education with workshops.

"Rattle Ring" - Silver band with silver and gold rings that are loose and move

"Modern Pendant" - Silver with bezel-set cabachons

"Anniversary Pendant" - Silver

The beading work, Jaree is self-taught in, as a follow-on to the silver-smithing and a request from a friend. There is TONS of great and detailed information out on the web, in books, and the very best place is your local bead store ... they can answer questions like no one else. It is also fun to go to the gem and bead shows that pop up through the year around the country. The vendors there are also a great wealth of information. Again, its just practice. You can see a lot more beadwork on Etsy ... these are in Jaree's private collection.

"Midnight Blue Earrings" - Silver with navy Swarovski pearls

Jaree has worked a little bit with PMC, taking a workshop. But we don't have a kiln at this time, so that is something not pursued. But it is a very, very cool way to create unique jewelry in silver without all the sawing, hammering, soldering, etc. Try to find a local workshop or class, you will need some help at first, there are tricks of the trade, but if you can work with clay, you can work with PMC.

Jaree has also taken a class at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia in wax carving and casting. Most commercial jewelry is made this way ... a model is made in wax, which is used to cast the jewerly piece in a choice of metals. This is actually Jaree's favorite way to work ... the wax is fairly forgiving and fun to work with ... the pieces created are more intricate and interesting. Again, this is something you will need to study in person, there are a lot of tricks of the trade! And you need to find a great caster ... that is serious equipment to melt metals.

"Hidden Bark Ring" - Cast Silver

That's how we got started ... now its your turn ... tell us about your jewelry work and send us some photos!

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