Today was the second (and sadly final) day of the “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel” weekend workshop with Sharon Massey at Touchstone. I spent the morning finishing up my hollow enclosed sample, etching a few more pieces, and dapping to get a feel for forming steel. I also finished up my brooch form by giving it a three dimensional lift and, this time, I was much more successful on my first soldering attempts of the day. Once the brooch was finished (sans pin backs), I felt even more excited (if that was possible) at having constructed my first full steel piece!

In the afternoon, we decided to have some fun with finishing and Sharon brought out a bottle of black tool dip (Plasti-Dip). Using scrap and sample pieces that she assembled for us, the class took a little fieldtrip outdoors to dip the pieces and hang them to dry. It made a dripping little collection of gothic jewelry hanging from the tree branch. While the pieces dried, the class collected our steel experiments together for a show-and-tell photo shoot. It was the perfect way to wind down the day. The class and I were so upset to pack our tools and head out of the studio, wishing that the experience could have continued for another week (or more).

 

Sharon Massey is an absolutely wonderful instructor and an amazing person. I am extremely thankful and am excited to have made such a wonderful new mentor and friend through the workshop experience. Sharon has such an ease of teaching that made everything more fun to experiment with and easy to understand. Aside from teaching me so many wonderful new skills with steel, she spent time talking with me about residencies and other professional jewelry opportunities. (on right, close up of architectural steel brooch Sharon made during the workshop, work in progress).

I have mentioned it before, but I am amazed at how smooth steel is to work with. My original impression had been that it would be gritty and extremely difficult to work with. Why I thought this, I admit I have no reasoning for it. Instead, steel is absolutely wonderful to manipulate. It does have its difficulties, just like any other material, but its positive attributes far outweigh the negative. Although I will continue to have a working love affair with silver, I opening and excitedly admit that I am a steel convert. In fact, it is on my to-do list to visit the hardware store this morning.

 

Silver, I apologize but I have a confession to make; I LOVE STEEL.

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