Welcome to A Hot Piece of Glass!

WELCOME to my colorful corner of the world! I write here about the things I make, in glass, fiber, metals, and whatever else I can find to play with!

**And if you want to read more about me, check out Adventures In Living!, my personal blog, or The ScooterMom, where I write about my adventures on two wheels! If you're interested in medieval, ancient and Renaissance glass, check out my history blog, The Medieval Glassworker!**

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Metalsmithing!

Some of you know of my love for medieval history, and the fact that I participate with theSociety for Creative Anachronism periodically. Memorial Day weekend in my local group means it's time for a Gem Joust event -- a large tournament held over the three days of the holiday weekend. Every year, my friend Don Downie, who is a silversmith and goldsmith, makes the tournament prizes, and delivers them to Richmond directly to the tournament. He usually stays with us over the weekend, and for the last few years, this has resulted in metalsmithing lessons for me.

Last year, I mentioned I wanted to learn to forge a copper bowl, so he told me what tools and supplies to buy and taught me to saw, hammer, shape and anneal. We used 16ga copper sheet, and it was a bear to hammer, even after annealing. I didn't get nearly as far as I hoped, and the bowl is still not finished. I love it, though, because it was my first.

My first copper bowl, May 2010

This year, I had been talking to him about soldering, but I still wanted to work on my copper-forming skills. We went to the tournament on Saturday, and hung out with people, schmoozed, chatted and had quite a few laughs with people I don't see often enough. Right before the prizes were awarded to the winners of the tournament, I photographed them for him. These are silver with rose gold accents and set stones -- a ruby and a sapphire. They are solid and heavy and beautiful!

Aren't they fantastic? Don's work is really amazing. And, he's a great teacher and wonderful friend.

Sunday, after we dragged ourselves out of bed, had breakfast and generally woke up, Don and I talked about raising and sinking and the things he had been teaching other people lately.

With an 18ga copper disk and a homemade dishing "stump" and a couple of hammers, he taught me to do this:

I'm hammering a raised design into the bottom of the bowl, so it has several more cycles of hammering and annealing before it's done. My arm is tired! It's really physical work, and I love it. The design will be a spiral tree, a motif that is really prevalent in most of my work already. I'll definitely post more pictures when I'm done.

In addition to the actual teaching Don provided, he also gave me my very own portable dishing 'stump' and wooden forming stake.

A landscape timber cut to about two feet and drilled deeply with a paddle bit becomes the stump where you begin to raise the bowl.

A deck finial, drilled, becomes a forming stake.

And you can conveniently screw the stake to the stump to make working easier and to keep things together.

Needless to say, this, and learning the technique of hammering a raised design to sheet metal has set my creative fires burning. I think some quality time with the sketchbook is in order.

And I need more hammers. And more sheet copper.


Pretty Things said...

I'm very, VERY proud of you because I know how much work is involved in that. Fabulous!

sundownbeaddesigns said...

I'm loving the bowl Christine! It's fabulous! I bet your arm does ache, but it's all good. The prizes are wonderful as well.


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