Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Silver Hammered Collar - A stress reliever!

Yesterday was really a special treat. It's not often that I change rolls and take on the part of a student. I think the last class (aside from the one on one class from Jen) that I took with a bunch of other people was nearly 10 years ago from Maureen Carlson who was teaching her Clay Story Telling at my very first ACCI show in Chicago. Now that I think of it, that was in 1997! Great Class! Great Instructor!!
My best friend Angie and I have wanted to take silversmithing classes for a while but for one reason or another it just hasn't worked out. But yesterday, that all changed. We headed to our local bead shop "Springfield Leather and Touchstone beads" to create a hammered collar.
I really had no idea what to expect, the class was sight unseen to me. But, I was game. I was suprized at how much I learned.
I have to say....first of all, if you have a headache, reschedule the class, because this is not the sound you want to hear when your head is pounding. However, if your life is full of stress, then RUN TO THE CLASS! Because afterwards you will have hammered and pounded your way to stress free happiness. I mean this is a much better way to take out your frustration..I mean if you need to hit something, might as well be a piece of silver wire. It's kind of like a grain sand in an oyster....something irritating becomes something quite beautiful.
We started out with 16 inches of 10 gauge silver wire. First we had to learn to use a jewelry saw to cut the wire without breaking the saw blade. I will definately be getting one of these, I can just see the potential in sawing thru wire, and silver I really NEED another VICE????? (oh these little voices inside my head say YES YES YES - the little voices that I hear from my husband say...NO NO NO!.....)

Next we learned how to use our anvil and hammer and pound, hit, dent and flatten the silver. The noise we all made definately caused some curosity in the store and I wouldn't be suprized if we managed to scare some people off. One of the employees rushed over and said...."CANT YOU SEE IM TRYING TO SLEEP HERE!!!!?!?!??!?"

I was amazed at how - if you hit the wire just right, it automatically starts to form the right shape. The key is to always hit it right...and obviously that doesn't happen. There was quite a bit of shaping and refining, much more than I anticipated. And I did find it a slight challenge to get just the right angle on the necklace so that it layed perfectly flat.
Here, in this picture, Mary (on the left) is grinding the ends of the silver smooth and round, while Angie is polishing her collar.

Our instructor, Linda Dunlap, was actually one of my students when I was teaching polymer clay classes there. She said it was the first class she had taught. I really thought she did a fantastic job. I learned alot and I definately would take another class from her again. Though....Im not so sure I'd want to be on her bad side. Here she is with a couple of 3lb. hammers in her hand!

There is something empowering about hammering !

So after the cutting, the hammering, the flattening, the refining, the sanding, buffing and finally the shine, the collars were all finished.
Now it's time for Angie and I to reveal our artwork.
The collar works perfectly with the pendants I created a few blogs ago..and it's so versatile.
I think I'll be trying this same technique on some aluminum and copper. Wonder what the results will be?
Stay tuned to find out.....right now
there's no hammering for me...
just cheering - I'm off to a SuperBowl party...
If you are located in the Springfield, Missouri or surrounding area and are interested Linda's Silver Collar Classes drop her an email.

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