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Working With What I Have

Lately, I have discovered that I used the tools in my classroom more than I thought. I am taking a continuous course at the local adult school. I have learned so much, and loved having all of the resources available to me. But now class is out for the summer.

I usually like to work with sheet copper. I have been blessed that my grandmother has a copper roof, and due to a previous repair, has century old copper shingles available for me to use. I clean them, cut and shape them to make many of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

copper dropsflower earringscopper bangle copper plate bracelet copper soldered flower earringsJewelry 253

The problem I am having lately is that many of those pieces require an anvil and many of the forming stakes that I used in class. I was looking online for anvils and stakes for sale and found quickly that they were way out of my price range. See here and here. Sigh. I am going to have to be creative. I have spent a bit too much time online researching DIY jewelry forming ideas. I found this handmade jewelry blog, Create Recklessly, by Melissa Cable. She recommends using a trailer hitch ball as a forming stake. Genius! I can get a stainless steel ball for less than forty dollars! I haven’t had a chance to shop for one yet but updates coming soon! The other tricky part is going to be attaching it to something. Hmmm….

Another shape I have been trying to find is a simple cylinder. I have had some interest in one of my copper bracelets, but I need a round shape to hammer on. After talking to my grandfather, he was generous in offering a scrap end of one of his pieces of scrap metal.

Load Frame Scrap as Mandrel

I can’t use a steel hammer on it, but it works great with my (borrowed) rawhide mallet.

Makeshift Mandrel in ActionI tried to edit out my incredibly cluttered work space in those pictures, oh well. The last picture includes a peek at a current project. It is a different take on one of my other bracelets. Without a rolling mill in the classroom, I am stuck trying to find other ways to texture metal. For this bracelet I experimented with hammering a metal shape to make an indentation on the copper.

Hammering texture on copperI am pretty happy with how it turned out, even if my brother says he sees elephant shapes.

I hope to have pictures of the finished bracelet soon. I’ll keep you posted!

Rebecca

Comments

  1. Wow who would have thought you can do so much without paying a lot for expensive tools!? That is so cool that you have not just vintage, but antique copper to use for jewelry; that is definitely a touch you don’t see everyday!