Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What has been challenging me.

I am missing so many things.
A trip to Elephant Rocks state park.
Lorelei's Michael's Bead Challenge.
Claire's Give-Away. 
My own Peek into the Printer's Drawer post.
But I overcame a challenge.
20 double soldered hoops in copper

20 more double soldered hoops in brass.

28 patina-ted double soldered hoops in 7 different colors.
And...
68 hammered and antiqued, brush finished (each and every gosh darned one of them) copper ear wires.
I know. My friend Jan calls me a factory. Not the best thing for a creative spirit but it pays the bills.

The thing that was most challenging, I do not know if you want to know this much about the process but, to solder 2 hand cut jump rings onto a 2" hoop is mighty different then soldering them on a 1" hoop which is what I had created previously and thought would be no different, just.... larger.

However when it came to building the pieces, I found out a few things;

1. The heat from the torch flame heats the smaller jump to the highest temperature first, so the flux and therefore the solder flows towards the smallest jump ring first, instead of joining the 2 jumps to the largest 2" hoop. The solder simply melts over the smaller, closest jump ring with no join happening no matter how hard and loud you curse at it.

2. When soldering 2 jumps onto a 1" hoop, you can heat the whole piece evenly and solder all 3 pieces in one single step.
When soldering 2 jumps onto a 2" hoop, you have to first solder the 2" hoop with medium flow solder (this solder is harder and will not re-melt when you apply heat for the second solder step), pickle, clean and tumble for strength. Then you grind all points that touch (adding 5 minutes onto each piece), solder the top jump on with easy flow solder (this melts faster), pickle, clean, dry and then only then, can you solder on the second jump into the 2" hoop.

3. It takes 6 half hour shows of Paranormal State plus 1 No Reservations to measure, cut, shape and hammer 68 ear wires.

4. The fourth and final important lesson I learned; My husband will literally keep me locked in the back room soldering and steadily feed me Rock Star energy drinks and Snicker bars until I finish. 
No matter how whiny I get. But he will help cut jump rings and brush the antiqued finish which saved me hours of time.

I drastically under priced and it seemed as if the order was never ending. But it did and I am sure I am better person for it.  
 


27 comments:

  1. Holy Cow! That is a LOT of soldering! These hoops look great. I'm really glad you described how different it was to solder the 2" hoops from the 1" hoops. As someone who avoids soldering as much as possible, I can appreciate what a hassle it is to use a medium flow and then an easy flow solder. One of the biggest advantages in using metal clay, for me, is that I can make beads and imbed wire and never pick up a torch! You have my utmost respect!

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  2. You go girl! You are amazing! They look beautiful. I've tried soldering and it isn't so easy and takes a lot of practice, at least for me.

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  3. Wow! I dub thee queen of jewelry-making land! That is a LOT of work!

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  4. God bless you girl! Repetition surely would make me crazy!

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  5. Factory Shan, you are amazing! I know, 'cause I soldered a handful of misshapen brass rings tonight to learn to make chain. I was thinking of the two feet of wonderful rustic copper chain you sent me last month. It would take me a week (and lots of filing afterward) to produce something so prodigious!

    Now I need to try out patination because I don't think that's as easy as you make it look!

    Pat yourself on the back, girl.

    Jan

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  6. Oh and hey, Shannon, you are so productive but no question that you're creative as well! Your patina line is over-the-top, and your style is an inspiration!

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  7. Shan, I am actually glad that you posted the nitty gritty of this sort of work. I think it is easy for me and perhaps others to look at something that is so simple, elemental really and think nothing of it. Not really understanding that it takes a lot of work, thought and sweat into each one. I am amazed that you have the strength to make 68 pairs or 21 colors or whatever. I know that I would have given up after the first one. It gives me an immense appreciation for your art and how damn fine you are at it. I know that I couldn't do any of that (and any delusions I may have had about soldering were just flung out the window). I am the sort that will pay experts to do it for me. And you, dear girl, are an expert of the highest order.

    So... thank you. For giving so freely of your knowledge. For sharing a glimpse into the process. For inspiring me always to do better, reach higher.

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin
    P.S. Yea for husbands like that! Mine would let me do it but wouldn't actually help me. That is a keeper, that one!

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  8. I am in awe! I know it's quite time consuming to say the least to create handmade ear wires, being sure they are identical...and you made how many??! I agree with Erin, it's great that you gave us a peek in to what really goes on behind the scenes to create all of the wonderful things that you do. And the eating Snickers part sounds good actually. :-)

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  9. You totally rock. I'm taking a metalsmithing class and I'm now able to realize what a lot of work you put into your gorgeous pieces. I personally hate soldering, and I'm not too fond of riveting either. Anyone who can do those things, I bow to you.

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  10. you challenge you, shannon... each and every day... you are a true wonder in so very many ways... these are wonderful - and you must be so very proud of them...

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  11. GASP!!! Those are awesome and I can't believe you did all that! You are a soldering Goddess! I could so brick stitch around those gorgeous hoops and the earwires are to die for! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!

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  12. I love the double soldered hoops. They look great. Beautiful in themselves. And just imagine how you could use them. Very clever design. And now I just want to use them in my jewellery. :-)
    Just like everything else you make.
    All my best,
    Malin

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  13. That was a Big Order! Your a Grand inspiration Shannon. I know you had to of been pretty darn glad when you were finished and did the happy dance! I sure would like to be (temp that is0 a spidey on the wall looking from the Web when yall work!! Thank you for so many tips and ideas. Your work is wonderful.

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  14. Beautiful work and great information.
    Your rock star - show reference put a smile on my face. I thought I was the only one.

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  15. WOW! I'm glad you laid this out for your readers! It's important that people know the costs in labor that go into your wonderful components. And now I know that my instinctual avoidance of soldering was inadvertently based on facts I didn't even know. It's a MFPITA!

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  16. Most impressive, Shannon! Very interesting behind-the-scenes details, makes us all appreciate your extraordinary work even more! Who knew that was possible?! Everything looked so professional and perfect. And isn't it nice to have a supportive husband who helps AND feeds you! Fantastic accomplishment :)

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  17. WOW - you go girl! That is a lot of cutting, soldering, sanding, grinding, etc. You are a machine! Big shout out to you because I seriously hate soldering small pieces!!! Let me say this again - WOW!

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  18. My hands ache for you. So does my back. And maybe my head too. That is one heck of a lot of twisting, grinding, turning, and soldering!

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  19. I am in love with these and never would have realized the work involved but you did it! You go girl.
    Shannon

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  20. Wow, you go girl!!!! Way to stick it out even when the going got rough. Now you can do anything because you're Super Woman!

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  21. Good heavens, girlfriend! You are a MACHINE! And I complain if I have to make more than one of ANYTHING (heck, I complain if I have to re-do one section of something). I bow to your work ethic and to the hubby who keeps you well supplied while you crank out the goodies ;-)

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  22. A lot of work--but I'm sure your customer will be thrilled!

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  23. OMG, that's a lot of parts. You are amazing! Great job. Riki

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  24. I am in awe. That is quite impressive.

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  25. Oh I could use some of these. That's a lot of work!

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  26. What a lot of work. Great job, I think I would have collapsed if I had to do this.
    Wonderful creations.

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Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog, it means a lot to me.
Shannon