Monday, April 18, 2016

04.18.16 Warp speed (Intermediate Fabrication - part 1)

Boy, am I glad I have been attending open studio and didn't take too much time off between the end of my Fabrication 101 class last November, and the start of Fabrication 201 a few weeks ago.  No starting slow this time...our very first night we made a bezel setting for a stone with corners...from scratch, so to speak.

We started with sheet silver and a stone of our choosing - and that was it.  We rolled our own bezel wire, shaped it around the stone and soldered it to a backplate in under four hours.  At the end of that class I had a finished bezel and a jumpring - ready to be assembled into a pendant.

Creating a bezel with corners requires a much more precise set of measurements than setting a rounded stone.  The length of each side of the bezel needs to fit the stone exactly, and the bends, or corners, in the wire need to be sharp.  Unlike a round bezel, which can be reshaped around the stone after it is soldered together, the shape of a cornered bezel needs to be maintained throughout the process.

Up to this point, the process was pretty much the same as any other bezel set pendant I had made, but setting a stone with corners is a whole different animal. With a rounded cabochon, you don't have to worry about excess metal ending up in the corners...but it's a real challenge with a rectangular or triangular stone. Making sure the corners stay sharp requires a lot of elbow (and shoulder) grease...thank goodness for my yoga instructor the next morning!

There were some things I did NOT do for this piece...

I didn't put an icon on the reverse. My original sketch has a little heart on the back - but it didn't happen. This is the smallest piece I have made and the backplate is only about half an inch in both directions.  As you can see there really wasn't room to cut much away.

Nor did I make the bail. The bail that I ordered for my lost wax pendant came in a pack of two, so I used the other on here.  It was the right size, worked well with the design and saved time (which was pretty precious on this project).

As I have said before, the instructors at Creative Side are fabulous, and De Pastel, who taught 201, is no exception.  She did a great job of explaining how to work any excess metal away from the corners and towards the center on the sides of the pendant.  The result (after just two classes) - a lovely, dainty piece - with well defined corners.

Until next time.

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