Saturday, March 7, 2009

Studio Friday

It was so nice to get back into the studio after such a long hiatus. On top of the trip we took a few weeks ago and my wonderful parents coming in to town to visit, teaching has kept me very busy and my stepson has been sick with the flu. Fortunately I didn't catch it but something is in the air here as I've been feeling very much low in the tank for the last week or so- everything is starting to bloom- maybe that's it. Regardless, after classes on Friday, I popped a couple of ibuprofen and headed for the studio! Unless I'm running fever or have a gastrointestinal complaint that requires my attention in a fixed location...I don't see any reason to let my regular fatigue and aches and pains dictate my plans for the day. Life is too short!

I am still balking at finishing the setting for a lovely enamel I've made but I made a little progress on it yesterday. Sometimes you've spent so much time on something already, the thought of screwing it up on the last operation is just paralyzing. Basically, I need to solder these incredibly tiny little jumprings to the ledge of the front of the setting in order to run a band of beads (18th C style) around to embellish the front. I managed to get the solder onto the jumprings yesterday so really all that's left is soldering them on and raising the fine silver prior to tumbling. Since each annealing for the raising process removes a little solder, I think I'll raise the fine silver halfway at least before I attempt to solder the jumprings down. When I can take a good shot of the setup I'm talking about, I'll talk more about the potential problems and the tricks to making this kind of solder job more likely to work.

I spent the rest of my time working on the faces for some new Primal Scream pins. I have everything done except the soldering. I spent way too much time on the curls for one face and it's obvious I need to practice my sawing skills some more! 22 years at this and I'm still practicing. It never ends, which is okay. If I weren't still being challenged in the studio I'd be bored and I'd probably lose interest in doing it anymore. As you can see in the photos below, the curly headed figure has pink eyes. These are lab grown cz's that I'm setting upside down in the serrated bezel cups. I think it will be a fun departure from the norm.

I sweat solder as much as I possibly can when fabricating. So the pin backs, my name plate and the bezel cups (not shown in the pic) always have solder flown on their backs first, then they are placed on the piece to be connected to and the solder is re-flown. This eliminates clean up of solder spills. I also thin my solder in the rolling mill (I use wire solder) before cutting (you can also hammer it). This allows me to have less solder in any one place to again minimize cleanup puddles. Sometimes I sweat the backs of the pieces (always flow the solder to the smaller piece- not the larger one) first, pickle, then set up for the connection and sometimes I flow the solder and while the piece is still hot, I flip it onto the larger piece to be connected. I find the flux holds fine if I'm using a soft flame and there is plenty of time to get things to re-flow without the
connecting area going black. It just depends on my mood and time constraints. I will try to take pics of my setup next time I'm in the studio. Stay tuned! :-)

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