Wednesday, May 14, 2008
It's only a sweatshop if you coerce minors into working long hours. When they coerce you into letting them melt silver into tiny little balls with a propane torch, it's called being too easy.
This is how I spent my Mother's day. Playing in my workshop, making new jewelry, and having my youngest daughter help me. No laundry. Minor dinner prep. No cleaning. I was infinitely happy.
Here's my 12 yr-old, Emma, on the right, melting scraps of silver into liquid puddles of sterling. (Ever since Jerry showed her how to do this, she's been wanting to do this again.)
The silver is flamed on a charred piece of wood - I think the carbon helps it heat up faster and hotter, then melt all the faster. (But I'm not sure about this.) The silver starts to melt around the edges, then fuses, then turns into a red hot spinning ball! After you remove the flame and it cools a bit, it gets dunked into water to cool. No wonder Emma enjoys doing this!
We made a couple dozen silver balls of various sizes. Afterwards, I chose the largest ones and Emma chose the tiniest to make earrings. (She just got her ears pierced a couple of months ago.)
I soldered on some silver posts. (Yes,I finally got some soldering equipment which I'll write about in a future post. )
Those tiny earrings were such a pain to make. The balls kept rolling around every time I tried to put a bit of solder on them and every time I tried to hold the post next to them. It took me quite a few attempts. (They say practice makes perfect, but I think it's just makes for exasperation.)
But I finally got them done. You can see the larger ones (about 6 mm) and the smaller ones in the photo above.
The larger balls have a slightly pebbly surface which really reflects the light wonderfully. These post earrings are great for everyday wear and I think the tiny ones would be great for those extra ear piercings. I'm planning on making some more of these post earrings, and listing them in my Etsy shop.
And don't the tiny ones look cute on Emma!
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Labels: jewelry making