Another first was taking classes. Even though I have been creating jewelry for many years, I have never taken any classes. There were many to choose from so I decided to focus on learning a new skill, torch soldering. I really enjoyed myself and wondered why I waited so long! The first class was all about the science of soldering. We had a little time to get introduced to a small butane type torch and do some basic soldering. Next up was a class on using that knowledge and making some simple findings.
My next two classes were more soldering, this time detailed work using a more complex torch. First I practiced making copper earrings with a small cage to hold a stone. The next class I made open bezels, enclosing pottery shards and attaching a tube hanger. I will need a lot of practice to master soldering. While I seem to have some of the ergonomics and techniques down....I am too impatient and tended to nuke my pieces to death!
My last class was for fun - making a bracelet using all cold connections. I used rivets, screws, and hammers to create this really cool bracelet. The instructor also showed me how I can incorporate a stone. I loved this class! You will definitely see some of these techniques in my work later this year.
In between classes I shopped. I had set myself a budget and had a few things on my list. Mostly I wanted to look for things that jumped out at me. Interesting colors, shapes and high quality. All of the vendors I dealt with were so nice! For most purchases I managed to either talk them down or get things thrown in for free. I ended up just slightly over budget but got some really nice stones.
I hope to be able to return next year!!