Friday, October 2, 2009

Jewelry Class

I have wanted to take an art class for some time now. I used to take a lot of them when I was younger - painting comes to mind first. In high school I did pottery and photography. And then when I started beading I took a few classes to learn the various stitches. While getting my accounting degree, I always said I would take a fun class once I was done. I finally am following through with that! Last Thursday was the first of 4 sessions on mixed media jewelry at The Art Center of Battle Creek (I have been involved with them since moving here) - here is the description.

Mixed Media Jewelry: Cold Connections

Explore various cold connection techniques for found and other mixed media objects. Basic metal working techniques will be covered in this beginner to intermediate class. This is a great class for mixed media artists or those who may have a special object they would like to incorporate into a beautiful wearable piece of art. Bring found or special objects to incorporate into jewelry pieces.

My good friend Kristen is taking it with me. She and I have all sorts of fun scrapbooking or making jewelry together, and were each others running partners for our first 5K this year. The first technique we learned was how to connect 2 metal pieces with a rivet. Our teacher told us not to worry about making anything usable, but rather just learn how to do it. We both knew that would be difficult for us. I mean, why make something that you are not going to use? But I am trying to get better at the learning process and understanding this.
I have never been a patient person. The reason I mentioned the painting class earlier is because I have a very specific memory about it. I'd have to say I was maybe 12. I was enthralled with watching Bob Ross on PBS. Remember him? He made it look so easy. I was mesmerized watching him "tap" in his realistic looking trees. So when I went to the class, I figured I was already going to be an expert at this. I quickly filled my canvas with my interpretation of his mountain/waterfall/tree scenes. Of course, it looked nothing close to his but I was excited about it. When the teacher came over and said, "That's a good start" I was heartbroken. I wanted to take that canvas home with me THAT DAY! Too funny.
Of course, Kristen and I still cut out metal into some sort of shape that maybe we'd use. It's funny how alike we think because we both thought about the rivets becoming eyes in some sort of animal. Here is what I made below - my camera was acting up and didn't want to take a very good picture. It's some sort of owl / cat / dog thing I guess, depending on how else I embellish it. I guess we'll see what we learn this week.
It was fun to work with metal again and at the end of the course we should have a completed project. This too is bothering us because we have no idea what to make. It's nice to have that kind of freedom, but in some way I wish the teacher would have a specific project that we could make it to our own specifications to guarantee actually completing and having something to show for it.
To get our inspiration up, I asked Kristen if she wanted to come over to etch some copper that we may or may not want to use in our projects. She had not tried etching before. I already had some copper, the ink, the solutions, files, steel wool, a metal letter stamp set. But we also felt compelled to go shopping to add to our metal workshop after seeing some of the tools we used in class. We went to good ole' Harbor Freight. I usually do not like purposefully buying cheap things from China, but since we were just starting out and not sure how far we would go with this, it's a good place to not blow your budget. We got hobby saws, tiny round files (for the holes), a metal punch (now my hubby is free from my drilling requests). We had a fun day and here are the pieces I made. I tried etching a Vintaj brass blank for the first time!

I am curious to see where this journey takes me. I still have a few things on my shopping list:

a better hammer

the brass tubing to make the rivets (Hobby Lobby was out of it)

an engraving pen (the one I bought didn't work so I have to return it)

the dappling set at Harbor Freight was very tempting..........

As always, I will continue to share as I go along!

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