Friday, July 22, 2016

Experimenting with Exciting New Equipment

Hello everyone!

A few weeks ago I found myself frustrated. I love working with wire, but wrapping just hasn't been doing it for me lately. I've wanted to learn advanced metalworking techniques for years, but this time I decided I was going to buy the equipment needed to start making soldered copper jewelry.

I made a list of all the things I'd want and need for soldering, figured out which items I would need right away, and then I priced out each item I needed that was available from Amazon. There are still things I need to buy but they could wait a little bit. From there, I comparison shopped for a couple of days at Rio Grande, Rings & Things, and Fire Mountain Gems to try to bring my costs down. I got my list down to a bit over $100. I couldn't afford that, so I spent a long time doing paid surveys! Over a few weeks I joined a number of legit survey sites and little by little accumulated the money I needed. I also did two 'mystery shops' at a diner for a significant chunk of money.

When I finally had enough, I ordered what I needed and eagerly awaited their arrival!

I got a cute little pickle pot and a pretty nice torch-

...a fire brick (which arrived broken, actually, but it ended up being a lot bigger than I thought it would be so I didn't actually mind that it broke - my studio space is not large so it actually works out that now I have two smaller bricks.)

My pot, brick, and torch arrived before my solder did, so for the first day with my new equipment, I focused on practicing balling up lengths of copper wire, getting a feel for the torch and how the copper behaves when it's hot. I had drawn out a little design to attempt a pair of earrings, each earring consists of two different lengths of wire balled up at the ends. It took quite a few attempts to get two pairs of wire in matching lengths with balled up ends. I got a little frustrated because I worried I was using too much wire, but then realized that my failures would probably make for pretty decent headpins for future projects, so I kept them :) 

I discovered that sometimes little bits of hot copper can jump away and land on your sketchbook! After this, I moved my book very far away from my work surface.

I also learned that hot metal can melt a plastic worktable quickly! After this, I located a large stone tile to use on top of my table.

After much practice and experimentation, I was left with four components, two each for each earring.

The next day, my solder arrived. I made up a few jump rings and soldered one to one of my earring pieces...

...and was beyond thrilled when I completed my first soldering! It was so satisfying to see the two little bits of solder suddenly melt and flow. I soldered the other wire piece and another jump ring on and was left with a sort of fleur-de-lis design. Time to pop it into my cute little pickle pot!

After pickling, it came out coppery again.

Here it is after a bit of filing, a bit of hammering, and a bit of sanding.

At this point, despite all the hammering, this is very soft - annealed copper is like butter! For now my earrings stay in this form until I can afford a rawhide mallet and a dremel/flex shaft. So, it's back to surveys for me! If anyone is interested, I can post referral links to the sites I like best that are legit and pay through Paypal.

I'll leave you now with my mom's cat Vinnie, who knows there's canned food in this box! :P

Til Next Time!

Friday, March 4, 2016

200 Facebook Likes Giveaway! *CLOSED*

Hello Everyone!

I'm thrilled to announce that we've hit 200 Likes on Facebook! I promised another giveaway when we hit that number and here it is! 

The Prize

The prize this round is a pair of my handmade "Sapphirus" earrings! These are truly 'statement' jewelry- they're long and glamorous and have tons of movement. As always, all the weaving here is done by hand including the hand-hammered custom earwires. I had a lot of fun making these! I rarely use blue in my designs but these are a departure from my 'usual' :)

You can enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway begins today, 3/4, and ends at 11:59pm on 3/18. I'll announce the winner here on the blog, over on the Malfait Luciu facebook page, and by email. The winner must respond to the email within 48 hours with their home address so I can mail out the prize; after 48 hours without a response, a new winner will be chosen at random.

I'm so excited to see who will win! Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me this far - you're the best! After this giveaway is over, I'll run the next giveaway when I reach 350 Facebook likes, so do feel free to share; I love running these and the more my page is shared, the sooner I'll be able to run another giveaway! :)

Thanks much, and Good luck! <3