Studio Wednesday


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…

15 comments on “Studio Wednesday

  1. nina says:

    this post cracks me UP! i know what youmean about fear of torches…but i, too, persevered and am glad that i now have the faith in myself and that torch to make headpins…
    and jack is beautiful. xo

  2. nina says:

    oh, and – the pieces are lovely! xx

  3. Frivolitea says:

    Those are wonderful charms!

  4. artandtea says:

    Thanks Nina and Lynn, they were a lot of fun to make! Today I’m wearing the one that says “Hope” which expresses all that I’m feeling right now.

  5. Dora says:

    I’ve always wanted to try soldering, but I don’t have a place to do it safely except in my basement, which is such a disaster I avoid it whenever possible….
    Your charms are lovely ! And Jack is a cutie !

  6. artandtea says:

    Thanks Dora! Yes, you definitely need an uncluttered place by a window or door you can open for venting purposes. Maybe someday you will get to try it out…

  7. Sue O'Kieffe says:

    what an incredibly inspiring story. when i was reading your post, that old pointer sisters song “i know that we can” was running through my head…good gawd ah’mighty!
    and yea, ditto what they said ’bout jack!

  8. artandtea says:

    Thanks Sue! Yes, it really felt good to finally do this.

  9. Congrats on conquering (or at least subduing) your fear. I have a fear of all fire and power tools but there is already so many things I like to do I can’t do them all so I haven’t worried about it overmuch but it does feel good when you can overcome a fear and accomplish something you want to do.

    Your necklaces really look nice. I’m sure they’d be a hit on Etsy or similar sites as they have a universal appeal. Wear the hope with lots of joy.

  10. your necklaces look really good !

  11. artandtea says:

    Thanks Timaree, this has opened up a whole new world for me. I’m looking forward to doing more metalwork in the future. I’m with you, there are so many things I like to do! what shall I choose first? lol

    Thanks also for your positive feedback about my word charms necklaces. They were so much fun to make and I really enjoy wearing them, too.

  12. Aimee says:

    Hahah. I’m glad Jack kept a look out. 🙂

  13. Dia says:

    Ooo, these are so pretty! My dau-in law has been using poly clay for jewelry; I really like the faux jade look!! & yea for working with your fear, & DOING IT! My pink flowered tea camillia is BLOOMING – & this fall I had some tea flower tea at Tao of Tea in Portland, so I’m looking forward to trying my own! I have used the fresh tea leaves, & it’s so nice – rather like a white tea 🙂

  14. artandtea says:

    Thanks so much, Dia, for visiting and for your wonderful comments!

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