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Friday, January 27, 2012

What Have I Been Up To?

It seems like I haven't been around much lately. I have, I guess, but I have been so consumed with my new project that I haven't been doing much else.

I got my propane torch and quickly learned what it is NOT good for. Then I ordered my Blazer micro butane torch and fell in love. Stubborn me, though, I just had a to find a way to use the propane. I'm well accustomed to using a torch and not intimidated by it, so I began to play around with different things. My first efforts were the hummingbirds and hearts. Not content to leave it at that, I tried getting the forms smaller. Then I began to perfect the hearts. One of the things that bugs me about hearts is that if you hang it from the cleft, it no longer looks like a heart. So, I needed a way to hang them without simply running a chain through them. After probably 100 hearts, I have figured out a foolproof way of doing it.


With that revelation, I wondered what else I could do. But, at that point, I could think of nothing but hearts, so I asked Renate for some ideas and she was full of them. One of them is pictured below. Champagne bottle and glass earrings. I'm probably going to add some nice ab delicas in white to these-- Later, though, I am having too much fun melting metal right now.


Another thing that I wanted to try was to see if I could fuse the loops at the beginning and end of a wigjig earring pattern. I like the jig, but I find those double rings bulky, unattractive and never tight. Here again, my torch did me proud.


I call this fusing, but it isn't like silver fusing, at all. I am working on doing a tute for it. I think that learning this technique will become a really invaluable thing to know. I know I will be using my jig more and be making more hearts. And, well, the sky is the limit for what to do with the forms. I have even used them to frame up cabs in two recent pendants. But, it isn't limited to forms or frames, either, as in the wigjig earrings. It's a good way to join copper for whatever reason.

Because it is really hard to describe what goes on in the flame, I am trying to get good video of what is going on. I plan to offer a pdf with a video. I don't know if I will be able to, but that is what I am working on. It has taken me a lot of wire, time and propane to perfect this to the point of being able to teach it.

At one point, I almost gave up the whole idea of fusing. I put everything away and went to bed, very deflated. I was laying there, ready to fall off into sleep, when I had a eureka moment. I jumped up out of bed, unpacked everything again and began working. My idea worked!!! Glad I carried my butt back out of bed!  :) Sometimes, you just have to go with it.

13 comments:

  1. Tela, you are a jewelry architect!! Thank goodness for those still quiet moments when we go to bed to ignite the artist deep within. I really dig this new discovery in a big way.

    ~Susan

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    1. Thanks Susan :) I've been bitten by the fire bug. I can't stop trying new things. I was hoping for another epiphany last night, but none came. :( Makes me want to nap. LOL!

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  2. Tela Dear, You have been one busy woman. Picturing you flying out of bed with an Aha moment brought a smile to my face. I really like the way you have fused the loops and am very impressed with your stick to it attitude. Sorry to admit, I would have given up and moved on to something else.
    Now, I am excited to learn I will be able to benefit from your fool proof method. Thank you for following your eureka moment. I am looking forward to the video!!
    All of the pieces you posted look grand!

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    1. Hi Christine! I guess it's obvious that I'm pretty excited about this. I am still in the percolation stage of the tute and wondering how inclusive it should be. As a relative newcomer to melting metal, I don't feel I have the authority to teach about the torch and safety and metal science, so this might be for the experienced with brief torch and safty instruction. But, I DO have the fusing down and have been making bails that I have gotten pretty small. More on that later....

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  3. Tela,

    I'm just blown away by your new pieces!!! Mr. Sequin has a large propane torch, and I have a little butane one, so I would definitely be interested in a tutorial.

    I'm especially excited by those awesome wig jig earrings! Wonderful job. :)

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    1. Thanks Sarah :) I have absolutely no idea if a big bushy propane torch will work. Mine is "fine tip"- with fine being relative. The butane won't work :( I'm really stoked about the jig, too. I can see lots of possibilities.

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  4. Oh gosh, I hope you do a tute for it! I'll be first in line to buy it. I'm jealous of your wigjig pieces!!

    I've had those deflated bed time moments myself, along with the jumping up to try 'one more time' lol

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    1. One more time!! That should be our motto then. :) I really love to try new things and I especially like having those ah ha moments. Especially when they work out. LOL!

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  5. I own an EZ Torch (propane/air), plus I also have an acetylene/air and a propane/oxygen torch available at a weekly class and I never would have thought of fusing copper! I've balled headpins and melted pieces of copper wire, but never put "two and two" together so to speak. That is such a clever idea. I can't wait for the tutorial.

    I love the wine bottle and glass earrings!

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    1. Hi Kathy :) You know, no one told me that I couldn't do this, so I did it. Then I was told it couldn't be done. Really? LOL! I'm having so much fun!

      If by propane/air, you mean mixed at the tip, then that is what I have. It has a fine tip, though.

      If I can teach you anything about melting metal, I'll be honored. :)

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    2. Unfortunately I've melted metal I didn't intend on melting! I am looking forward to learning your technique. I would love to make a chain with fused copper wire like one in a silver fusing book I have. I figured I would have to solder each link. It would be very tedious getting those tiny pieces of solder placed exactly on each ring--plus the hassle of all the cleanup of the excess solder.

      This is the torch I have: http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=16088. Is this similar to what you are using?

      It has plenty of heat for silver soldering but sometimes I think it doesn't get bigger copper pieces hot enough quick enough. The secret to soldering copper is lots of heat very quickly and Pripps Flux. Oxidation which prevents the solder flowing is a big issue with copper but might not be a problem if you are actually melting the metal together.

      I can to ball up to 20 ga. wire pretty easily with this torch. Sixteen gauge was a challenge but I did get the wire to finally ball so I could make a rivet. I don't think I've tried 18 gauge wire but it should be in between. I need to get my torch out and experiment.

      The Little propane/oxygen I have access to is the melting champ. it has a tiny flame but it will melt even 10 gauge wire fairly quickly-you have to be extremely careful to keep it moving to avoid melting your bezel. The Acetylene torch is a Presto-Lite type. It has a larger hot flame good for bigger pieces.

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    3. Hey Kathy- I sent you a detailed email about torches and such. :)

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  6. Tela-Can you please send me that e-mail also? :-)))

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