Thursday, April 16, 2009
I'm going to wear it to Disneyland, so it can visit the Haunted Mansion
Of all the projects we're going to do in my silversmithing class, the spider web pendant is the one I'm certain I'll wear most often. The instructor gave us the option of designing a snowflake . . . or anything else really, so long as we wound up soldering at least 49 joints. Why 49? I'm not sure . . . but I think the fact that this class can be taken for a grade and credit has something to do with it. I had such an instant, magpie reaction to the example spiderwebs she showed us that I didn't really even think of making anything else. I have since, and I'm planning to start another project this weekend (<-overachiever), but for starters the web suited me just fine.
We started with the silver wire we had MADE in our last class. Yep, MADE! We each bought an ingot of fine silver, sawed off a 5mm chunk and ran it through various presses and runners to make a length of about 4 feet of 1mm wire. Making wire isn't something I'm going to do in the "real world" outside of class, but it was an awesome experience and a lot of fun to do!
I cut 5 pieces of silver and soldered them together in the center, making the basis of my web. Then I used a divider to measure out the interior sections, soldering them on each side to the base star. Solder is a bit finicky and some of the technique can be counter intuitive. Number one in the "Things I Didn't Expect" category: Solder will flow towards heat. So if your solder starts to spill away from where you want it, the instinct is to move your torch to where the solder is and try to 'pick it up' and shift it back. You actually need to do the opposite though . . . move the torch completely away from the solder and apply heat where you want the solder to go. WEIRD! And kind of thrilling and magical when you get it right.
I worked my butt of for the entire class, 3 hours total but some of that was watching demonstrations and whatnot, so a good 2 hours at least just on soldering. And I was done! Or, as done as I could be for one class. I still have to file and polish my web, solder on a bail, and make a little silver spider to perch on the web (how cute will that be?!?!).
It is all I can do not to whip out the torch and start soldering right now. It really was that much fun.