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Friday, February 14, 2014

Great BALLS of Fire!

There's a certain technique in wire/metal work in which you take a blow torch to the metal, and it melts into a ball. When I was in high school jewelry/metalsmithing class we used to do this with silver. This was back in the early 90s when silver prices were 1/5th of what they are today. I mean, they gave the stuff to high school kids and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a fee to take the class or I wouldn't have been there.  I used to hold the torch until the ball would form, and then solder the balls in clusters onto the shank of a ring. See, jewelry making is something I've been doing for the past twenty years!

I've admired some of the lovely work from some of my favorite artists and peers and their use of balled up metal in their designs.  I knew that this was achieve by the use of a torch, but for some reason I could never figure out exactly how to make it work outside of my high school art class. I would hold the torch on the end of the wire, it would turn bright red, but it would never melt. But, like most of the techniques I've experimented with suddenly I figured it out. I wasn't holding the torch at the right angle. Once I learned how to hit that metal in the right spot it started to ball up, and boy did it happen fast.  Waving the torch back and forth prevented pointed ends.  I was doing it!  And, I needed to incorporate the technique into something new and different.  I had the perfect stone, a gorgeous Labradorite with bright blue flash.

This one is already sold, in fact I sold it within an hour of posting it online. 

I definitely plan to incorporate this technique into future pieces.

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