In addition to the computer graphics and ceramics classes that I enjoy taking at my local community college, I’m also taking jewelry and metal working classes. I’ve wanted to work with silver, bronze, brass and copper since I was very young, and now I’m doing it! It is a much more durable and demanding medium than those I’ve worked with previously, and has some rather frightening aspects to the learning curve. As a nervous tool user, it takes a little getting used to the sounds the torches make and noise of the grinders–but pretty soon all of us were banging away on the anvils and having at the mill roller. It is most assuredly the heaviest homework I’ve ever had!
Last semester we covered some of the basics, like learning to cut and file and solder. This semester we went further. I particularly enjoyed the electro-etching project, using salt water and a D-volt battery to etch bronze, brass, copper, or nickle silver. I just did the first three metals–but I did LOTS of them! Particularly once I moved on from batteries to a voltage regulator. I also use electricity to anodize titanium and niobium. I have plans to marry the metal bits to ceramic and polymer clay in upcoming jewelry.
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