Turn Your Metalsmithing Mishaps into Masterpieces (and Swear Like a Pirate)
I don’t share my personal metalsmithing work on social media much, but I seem certain to share if I hammer my thumb, lose a gemstone in the mess of my bench, or nearly catch something on fire. I wonder why that is? Is it simply humility that makes us share our metalsmithing mishaps more than our masterpieces? Or maybe it’s just humor–I suppose it’s funnier to tell a silly, pitiful tale than to “brag” on one’s mastery!
But we should “brag” and share our accomplishments, just as much as we lament, with friends. So while I’m encouraging all of you to show off photos of your metalsmithing and other jewelry work to your Facebook friends and groups or on Instagram etc. (tag your soldered pieces with #solderlikealady !), I have to share this funny story with you as well. A brilliant metalsmith, Kati Ross, posted this in the Aspiring Metalsmiths group on Facebook. After I stopped giggling, I immediately wrote Kati to ask if I could share it with all of you, and she graciously agreed. Enjoy, mateys!
Swear Like a Pirate: Inevitable Rites of Passage for New Metalsmiths
By Kati Ross, Owner of La Caprichosa Art Jewelry
Last night, for the first time in ages, I nicked my finger. Got me thinking about how far I’ve come in metalsmithing. And so this morning, I offer today’s Inspirational Message for New Metalsmiths, subtitled “Inevitable Rites of Passage for Bench Jewelers.”
1. Finish soldering a complicated piece, pleased with the result. Notice one little gap, heat the piece, blink twice, melt the piece, swear like a pirate, start over.
2. Drop a tiny stone. Get flashlight. Search for stone under metalsmithing bench for 40 minutes, occasionally smacking head on underside of bench pin. Suddenly find stone inside of your sleeve. Swear like a pirate.
3. Squint furiously through visor while flush setting a 1mm stone. Beads of sweat form and hands are white-knuckled. Lean forward, intently. Accidentally knock your visor on your bench lamp, rendering yourself suddenly unable to see the piece and blinded by the lamp. Swear like a pirate. Repeat step two.
4. Use a metalsmithing tool for 20 full minutes. Phone rings. Set tool down for 30 seconds. Return to bench. Tool has passed through a portal into an alternate dimension. Swear like a pirate.
5. Painstakingly compile a list of everything you need from Rio, Stuller, and Otto Frei. Get online and go to Rio’s website. Put stuff in cart. Oooh, look, clearance section! Browse for a moment. Heeeey, videos! Watch a couple. Well, you definitely need THAT. Add to cart. See suggested products. That too. Check out. Realize you forgot one tiny thing, plus you have no money left for Stuller or Otto Frei. Oopsie. Swear like a pirate.
6. Sawing along like a champ. Blink. Slit your fingertip. Swear like a trucker fighting a rap star with a gang of sailors on a pirate ship.
Some of y’all are being a little hard on yourselves, lately. Thought it might cheer you up to know we’ve all been there. —Kati
I couldn’t agree more! So for every complaint or critique or silly confession you make on Facebook, share a beautiful piece of your metalsmithing work. The world needs more of your greatness! And if you still feel like you need a little more finesse and fewer mishaps, improve your metalsmithing skills with the experts in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine.
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