Last weekend I made some sterling silver eyepins and epoxied them into my faux jade polymer clay word charms. In my studio today, I finished each charm with a dangle and placed each one onto a stainless steel cable choker. These chokers are great. Finished with a magnet clasp, I am amazed at how easy they are to put on and take off. I tested the strength of the magnet by giving the choker a tug and it stayed in place.
From left to right above, the dangles are fancy jasper, turquoise, red tiger’s eye, pearl and a glass leaf.
I made the dangles with headpins I created myself with 20 gauge sterling silver wire and my micro torch. I have a confession to make. I’ve had this torch for years and today was the first time I ever used it. I’ve always had a fear of flames and torches. That’s probably why I don’t do more metalwork. When I took a metalsmithing class several summers ago, my heart would practically thump out of my chest every time it was my turn to solder. I always made sure my teacher was close by but I was still very nervous.
I’m happy to share that today I pushed past my torch fear and put my micro torch to work. After going over the directions quite a number of times (ok, probably 10 times), I went out on the back deck and filled the torch with butane. I was so elated when I turned it on and it worked. I kept telling myself that it was a big lighter and that helped ease my anxiety a bit. I rested the torch on the firebrick and turned it on. Then, with my other hand, I grasped a 2 1/2 inch length of silver wire with a pair of old pliers and lowered the end of the wire into the flame just beyond the blue cone. The best way to do this is to hold the wire vertically, not tilting it to either side but straight up and down. A ball formed on the end of the wire very nicely and I removed the wire from the flame. After resting the wire on the brick, I made the next headpin and so on until all pieces of wire had a ball on the end.
The balls were all black from the fire but they cleaned up rather nicely with some steel wool and a polishing cloth.
While I worked, Jack kept a close watch for bunnies and squirrels…