Monday, June 3, 2013

Using Props

A jewelry maker is a problem solver if nothing else. We imagine a design, and then have to figure out how to make it come to life. With both metal clay and metal fabrication, props can be our best friend. Recently I needed to make a join in the center of a curved bracelet part and I needed some way to suspend a clay jump ring while the join was drying. As I looked around my bench top, I noticed my spacing slats and realized I could position the ring on them until the join was solid. I taped two slats together to achieve the correct height, placed them on a rubber block, and balanced the bracelet on the table top and edge of the block. It worked perfectly. Later that week, I wanted to solder an earring post to act as a pearl peg on a finished and fired brooch that wasn't sitting level on my soldering block. Props to the rescue again as I raised one side on a quarter.


A couple of other solutions I've found to common problems have been:

• When soldering a tiny jump ring to a big metal component, I put the component on my table top kiln to heat the larger piece so I can get the solder to flow at the tiny join point. Otherwise the torch flame would have to be used to heat the larger piece of metal so long that the solder would probably never flow. (I have to admit - I tried to do the solder join four times before I thought of using the kiln.)

• For a bead that was formed on a straw that needed to be suspended while drying, I set crumpled paper in a coffee cup which held the straw perpendicular to my work surface until the bead was dry. You could also use rice or upholstery foam as support material. If the straw needs to be horizontal (parallel to your work surface), place it on two wedges of polymer clay, or cut two V-notches into a Styrofoam cup.

Have you found some good solutions to production problems? We'd love to hear!

by Lora Hart 
Artistic Advisor

1 comment:

Your Daily Jewels - Norah Downey said...

That kiln idea is brilliant and all of your hard work will save me hours of trial and error! Thanks:)