Beginning a New Journey

Just another day in paradise…at my jewelry bench.

Today begins my aspirations to use sterling silver and gold-filled metals in my jewelry making.  I have been inspired by other metal artisans who have created some very pretty and interesting jewelry.

For the past year or so I have been using the base metals of copper and brass.  These metals are fairly inexpensive to work with, as well as interesting in their own rights.  I love working with copper!   The metal properties of copper are fascinating to learn about and the color is so rich and warm.  I have cut out discs, sawed, filed, sanded, textured, soldered, oxidized, tumbled and polished copper pendants and bracelets.  I have used brass to a lesser degree.  It is more difficult to oxidize, which is a good thing if you don’t like an oxidized look.  I don’t have the same affection for brass, but like most things it has it’s place.

So, there you have it.  Stay tuned…the learning curve is just beginning…

Today is “Solder Success Day”!

Just when I thought that I would NEVER be able to learn how to solder…VOILA! It finally worked! It wasn’t an easy process, though. Here’s how it went:

I prepared a practice copper jump ring…made sure the edges were filed flat (not so easy I might add). Then I cut a little, tiny bit of silver solder…brushed on the flux…fired up my torch…and went to town! The problem was that the solder didn’t “flow” like the book and videos said it would. Well, no problem. Just try, try again. Right?

However, after the fifth time and several jump rings later I began to wonder why I was having such a difficult time. I came to the conclusion that perhaps I wasn’t heating the metal high enough. You see, The solder was still in it’s little, square state. I gave it one more try…drum roll please…and it worked! I soldered a copper jump ring with silver solder. Yeah!!! After that, I soldered another copper jump ring! Yeah!!!

I was so excited that I spent a few minutes making four, 1/2″ diameter, sterling silver jump rings, sawed by hand, then soldered them one by one! It worked every time! After cleaning, filing, pickling, hammering, oxidizing and cleaning the jump rings, I decided to use one of them in a tiny initial necklace for one of my friends who is battling cancer. She is going to love it!

Cheers!

Welcome!

The Theater Box, 1874 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir...

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to Designs By Samra jewelry making web blog!

This is a personal endeavor to learn the art of jewelry making.  Yes, I could easily BUY the jewelry I wear…but where is the adventure in that?  Just imagine what the world would be like if Pierre-Auguste Renoir did not study the art of painting!

My beginnings are humble.  I have learned a “few tricks of the trade” such as sawing, piercing and hammering metal.  I have also learned how to oxidize metal using various methods and conversely how to clean the oxidation off.  I have acquired quite a few metal stamps for stamping dreamy words and sayings on the metal pieces I have studied hot joining methods and intend to study cold joining techniques more thoroughly.

For now, I’m quite content as a self-taught metal-smiting student.  Life responsibilities and limits on my time prevent me from taking a community class or learning at the knee of a well-known metal-smith.  The web is my classroom.  I welcome your suggestions and comments!

Sam

UPDATE:  As of 2017 I have enjoyed taking classes at a local silversmith school,  watching and learning from Mr. Soham Harrison on his YouTube channel, and as always I am grateful for my personal teachers, Mr. & Mrs. Trial and Error.