Monday, November 28, 2011

Still Learning

While I have taken a couple of classes in the art of making silver clay jewelry, my steampunk designs are truly "trial and error" works of art.  I started creating from vintage found objects as a challenge and the designs have evolved as I learned new things about working with metals.

The components in my steampunk jewelry are held together by wire or epoxy as I don't solder.  My youngest daughter, however, has taken a steampunk course.  Yes, they do exist in some places. And she learned to make rivets.  So over the Thanksgiving holiday I got a quick course in rivet making.

Though it requires a little practice to make nice, round rivets, it's not very difficult.  The hardest thing was finding wire thick enough yet soft enough to hammer into flat heads.  The wire Hubby uses for wrapping his bonsai plants turned out to be perfect.  I think it's aluminum.  Basically, you drill holes where you want the pieces attached.  Find a wire of that thickness. Then create a head on one end by holding a piece of wire sticking up about 3-4mm in a stationary vise and hammer straight down with a ball peen hammer.  Insert the wire through the holes of the connection, cut it to about 2-3mm above the metal and create another head on the other end.  The new steampunk piece above is my first attempt at rivets.  I still have to work on making them nice and smooth and round without so much sanding.  But I'm loving this new technique--well, new to me.

Someone suggested that I create a tutorial as that always makes a great blog post.  But in searching google there are several out there already, like this one.

Also, if you can afford it, there are tools  that drill the holes and place manufactured rivets neatly for you.  Maybe someday.  But right now I'm enjoying the whole manual process.

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