Trying jewelry making

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As I've said before, at least I think I have, I like trying new things. I have dabbled in jewelry making in the past and mostly made things for myself. What I would like to do is make some jewelry that includes felt to add to my etsy shop. I love felt in all of its forms except maybe the synthetic stuff but even that has its uses. My friend Jan, a fellow art teacher, offered me the opportunity to take a class with her at a jewelry makers house over Christmas break. I jumped at the chance and we had a wonderful time trying our hand at soldering and I made three charms. jewelry 001The class was great fun and the jewelry artist Tracy volunteered to come to our classes and help our students do the same thing. Unfortunately before she had the opportunity to do that with my kids I had my breakdown and she was unable to come, especially since I’m still out and subs in the art room don’t typically do art at any great level.

I’m a great believer that creating helps healing so I have been doing just that, making things. I wanted to go back and tap Tracy’s knowledge some more. I told her I wanted to create jewelry that incorporated metal and felt together. I have had lots of ideas bouncing around in my head and wanted to bring some into creation, or at the least start myself on the path to figuring this out. Since she was busy doing some fun things with Jan’s students I had to wait for an opening but the wait proved not too difficult since it included the time I spent in Texas. We set up an 11-4 class last Thursday in her home studio. I took some felted balls, a matchbox I had covered the inside of and some little stones, shells and small blue seed beads.

tracy bell

Tracy is very creative and I love her work. She sells her things at art shows and on line at etsy under her name and has a blog. Check out her things, you won’t be disappointed. She also will give classes in her home if you are in the Battle Creek area. Tracy was very open to helping and is great about sharing her knowledge. We talked over what I wanted to learn and what my objectives were and made a plan for how we would spend the class. The photo at the left is some of Tracy's work.

First she taught me a hot metal technique that I used to create these beautiful flat shapes. I think that I’m going to use these in a necklace but no guarantees you’ll have to wait and see. jewelry making 018Tracy had me start with this technique first because I was going to need this knowledge to help me with my matchbox idea. I also needed to get warmed up using the tools again since it had been a few months since I had learned to solder.

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Next I learned how to make a chain and a closure. We went step by step through the process. Tracy would show me and then turn me loose to make the rest. I learn best by doing so this worked great for me. Besides I like to get my hands dirty.  
 We also discussed many ways of attaching some of the felt items I had brought to the necklace. It’s very fun to brainstorm with other creative people. I have one felt piece attached here but plan on adding more.

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jewelry making 019Finally we moved on to the matchbox project. We cut class for the top and proceeded to cover the box with copper tape. Then with solder. Similar to the first technique I learned. I used different materials to add texture to the metal while it was molten. This took some practice and I struggled a little when I first started but I kept at it and was thrilled with the results. I attached jump rings to the top of the box and it is ready to hang from a chain. I already have many more ideas about how I can incorporated felt in the inside of the box and am looking forward to starting. Of course I need to jewelry making 021round up some of the tools before I can start. The great thing is that many tools can be found at the hardware store, Sears, Lowes and local art stores like Michaels. I’ve already begun to get things together. Look for some felt/metal jewelry to come in the future.

Since I can’t do that just now I’m going to dive into felting another purse. I’ve also tried some new techniques with this and am anxious to see how they turn out.