Monday, September 12, 2016

09.12.16 Hi ho, hi ho...

it's off to work I the studio, that is.

Yep, as of September 1, I am a full time member/renter at Creative Side Jewelry, with my own key!  Back in February I put my first piece up in my Etsy store - and since then I've sold about a piece a month - which is very exciting.

I've also made some decisions - big and small - that brought me here.

The big decision was committing to more time at the bench.   I've done a lot of talking with my husband - who has been my biggest supporter and encouraged me throughout this journey.  In fact he's the one who suggested I not wait until the start of 2017 to rent a bench, but to go ahead and do it now, so that I can create some inventory in advance of the holidays.

Smaller decisions involved buying a few special tools of my own, even though the studios at Creative Side are fully equipped.  

Photo credit:
Joyce Chen scissors.  These things are amazing - they cut through sheet metal (I've used them on 20 gauge silver with no difficulty) and allow you to get really close to an edge.  I learned about using scissors rather than sawing from Ronda Coryell.  Before becoming the guru of argentium, she generally worked with gold; she NEVER saws - because sawing results in lost metal - and gold is expensive.  I don't saw nearly as much because I've learned I don't have to. 

Photo credit: Rio Grande Jewelry Supply

For those tight spots you can't get into with scissors, I love these Lindstrom flush cutters.  They are pricey ($48 from Rio) but like the scissors above, they will cut right through sheet metal, and in the tightest of spots.  They also leave a very clean edge when cutting wire for jumprings or earring findings.

I also purchased a couple of pairs of Euro Tool specialty pliers from Rio - not as expensive as the cutters, but oh, so useful for very specific tasks.

Photo credit: Rio Grande Jewelry Supply
Sometimes before cutting a length of wire, I really want to make it nice and straight - and flat nose pliers with nylon jaws are a dream.  You can pull the wire through (over and over if you want) without kinking or scratching.  They are also great if you need to bend or straighten a piece of sheet - because they won't mar the surface there, either.

While the flat nosed pliers are more general purpose, the other pair I bought is not - but it is ideal from someone who bends a lot of bails and earwires.

Photo credit: Rio Grande Jewelry Supply

These bail shaping pliers have six different graduated sizes for making loops around - and I find them much easier to use - especially for bails (when I am forming them from 20 or 22 gauge sheet) than traditional round nosed pliers.

Photo Credit: Otto Frei

Finally, I bought a Green Lion saw. I'd been using the standard saw frames at the studio - and doing just fine - but I had heard about this saw.  I asked a lot of questions in an online metalsmithing group - and to a person - the answer I got was "if you really want to do advanced piercing work (cut outs on the back of my pendants) - invest in this saw."  So, I did - and I haven't been disappointed.

To tote all these things - plus a few others like pencils, rulers and some less exotic pliers - back and forth to the studio, I bought a wonderful waxed canvas and leather tool roll on Etsy (supporting other independent craftspeople is really important).

Photo credit: TheoHenry on Etsy

I'm really excited about this next step - and look forward to continuing to share what I learn and make with all of you.

Until next time.

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