Last night I escaped the mundane and learned a bit about metalwork by making a pendant. I’m stoked to have renewed my engagement with HackerLab, its a great space and so fun! I’m still deeply infatuated with the laser cutter but HackerLab also has an entire room full of jewelers benches and tools that you can access once you complete their 3 jewelry classes. The room includes punches, grips, hammers, a Dremel, polishing and cutting machines, a soldering setup, and much more. (I love tools!)
The class was pretty informal and easy, very hands on. First we selected a metal- she provided flat pieces of bronze or copper. I started with copper. Next, I selected a stencil shape to trace and cut out of the metal. I chose an arched bridge shape, but she said the circles and hearts were popular. We then learned about the jewelers saw and how to thread the blade and cut the metal. It’s pretty similar to a hack saw but louder and the teeth on the saw are very teeny tiny. The tricky part is holding the blade at a 90 degree angle, but I eventually got the hang of it and cut our my shape.
After the piece is cut out you file down the sharp edges, punch a hole in it with a drill, then sand it on one of those foam sanding blocks with a fairly fine grit. She showed me how to add a hammered texture to it and then we then used the polishing machine to make it shine. The whole process only took about 30 minutes so I asked to make another one!
For my second piece I chose bronze and thought I would try to make a leaf. So again I drew the shape, cut it out, filed the edges, sanded and punched a hole. Next we used a chisel to hammer a line down the spine then folded it a little with plastic tipped pliers I then added more ribbing using a thicker edged chisel. I did not polish this one into a bright shine, but left it with a sanded finish.
When I got home I thought I’d add a jump ring to put them on a necklace but I only have silver rings. So for now I’m still just admiring them.
About Giana Galati
Giana Galati has a background in many art forms but has primarily worked with metal for the past seven years. An apprenticeship under a fellow metalworker led to a continued education at American River and Sacramento City Colleges, and evolved into a jewelry line, Vivid Venus. Her unisex designs are marked by hard, geometric angles and edges with pieces made of substance and sophistication. An innate passion for tactful forming has led her to share her craft and knowledge.