Friday, November 18, 2011

Week Nine/Ten at the Appalachian Rock Shop

I can't believe we have come to the end of our ten-week silversmithing class.  It has been a wonderful adventure.  Our instructor, Jolan Naleppa, was always very thorough in instructing us not only in procedure,  but also in safety working with the various tools on hand at the shop.  The shop owner, Leslie Metarko, and her staff was always very helpful and eager to assist with our needs.  The Appalachian Rock Shop has so much to offer - from fossils and rocks to beautifully hand-crafted jewelry.  If you are from the Youngstown/Pittsburgh area, it's a must-see!  And if, like me, you want to pursue the art of making jewelry, I highly recommend their classes.

At our final  two classes, we continued our work on our bezel set ring.  We soldered the silver pieces together, filed, polished, buffed, cleaned, and finally, set our stones in the bezel.  We carefully hammered the bezel using the bezel pusher and ball portion of the hammer, bringing the bezel snug to the stone.  I used a burnishing tool to smooth the bezel further.  The last step was to give it a final polish.  This is the final result.

My thanks also to Phyllis Riegle, Riegle Design, who created the beautiful stone I used in this ring. Phyllis was also a member of our class, along with many other wonderful and accomplished women who are always continuing to learn and grow in their art of creating jewelry. Because class members are all at different levels in silversmithing, it was great fun to see what they were working on!

I plan on taking the March class, so be on the lookout for more silversmithing posts then. I hope to try out some of these new skills over the winter and will keep you posted. Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving holiday! Blessings, Anita

Friday, November 4, 2011


We are getting down to the wire now with one project left and two weeks to complete it!   I was excited to have completed the layered metal ring this week!  We hammered it into a C-shape on the ring mandrel, using a leather mallet.  Then, using the pliers, we then the ends together and held the ring up to the light looking for gaps.  For a good solder, we needed the ends to be flush.  Some additional filing was completed and  the piece was made ready for soldering.  The ring was fluxed and pinned to the fire brick seam side up.  The solder was a success, the piece cleaned, sanded and polished!  And this is the final result.  For my first ring, I think it came out pretty well!   I actually had someone ask me to make them one just like it!  What a great compliment!  I know I still have so much to learn to refine the skills I am learning, but it's going to be a wonderful adventure!  Here is a picture of the ring!

Our next and last project - a bezel set ring - I picked out my stone, an oval agate (cut and polished by one of the other students here).  I am in love with this beautiful stone and the lovely earthtones creating a beautiful piece of art!  Our instructor, Jo, went over the fundamentals of choosing bezel wire, sizing it around the stone, marking and cutting.  Following her lead, this was accomplished and the  bezel was readied for soldering.  There was a small amount of overlap, so some filing was done to make sure the bezel would sit flush to the back plate for the next soldering step.  This was all we had time for today - but we accomplished a lot in our three hours!  Here are photos of the stone and bezel and the back plate we will be using in the next step!  We are working with sterling silver and I decided to keep it pretty simple for my first project!  More next week.  Thanks for looking.   Feel free to leave a comment!