Metalsmithing--more specifically, forming metal into curved or angular components and then fabricating those components into jewelry either by soldering or cold connections like riveting--is at once the most fun and intimidating "hobby" I've ever encountered. I think many of you agree with me; Jewelry Making Daily readers tell me all the time that they're afraid of the torch; they can't get the hang of soldering; they aren't masterful with hammers and other tools that help them move metal; they can't make good rivets.
OK, that last one is me--I still can't consistently create good rivets. I can do it ten times in one day, but on another day, I can't do one in ten. Sigh.
So, forming metal, soldering, and riveting. If you can master these techniques, there's little in the world of metalsmithing that you can't do--and you can master them with the help of the metalsmithing resources that I turn to time and again to show me or remind me how to do some technique or other: Lexi Erickson's How to Solder Jewelry (vols. 1 and 2) DVDs, Bill Fretz's Hammering and Forming Jewelry DVD, and Helen Driggs' Riveting and Cold Connections DVD. That's three top metalsmithing masters sharing their years of experience and expertise in convenient video workshops. In addition to that, here's how they'll help you master the metalsmithing techniques you want to learn.
Soldering with Lexi Erickson
As much as I wish you all could, not everyone can have one-on-one lessons with Lexi in her super-equipped, super-fun studio. But, everyone can have the next best thing: complete soldering lessons in her How to Solder Jewelry Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 DVDs, in which she shares all the same tips and time-tested techniques that she taught me a few years ago--and then some! What's better, you can pause, rewind, and watch as many times as you want or need to, when and wherever you want to.
Riveting and More with Helen Driggs
Cold connections allow you to attach two or more pieces of metalwork together into jewelry. There are many kinds of cold connections; riveting seems to be the most popular and most involved. There's an art to creating perfect rivets--and when it's near-permanently attaching pieces of metal that you've just spent hours or maybe even days perfecting, you want to be sure you have that art mastered before the first hammer swing. Helen Drigg's Riveting and Cold Connections DVD will provide you with all the instruction you need to master both tube and wire rivets, moveable rivets, and other cold connections. Needless to say, I've been watching this one lately!
Forming Metal with Bill Fretz
I felt like I was witnessing magic when I first watched Bill Fretz's Basic Hammering and Forming Jewelry and then Hammering and Forming Jewelry, Vol 2 DVDs. He makes it look so effortless, hammering flutes and curves and arcs and domes into metal, just by turning the hammer this way and that on a stake--but he also shows and explains exactly how to do it, how hard to strike, when to use which kind of hammer and which kind of stake. The lessons you'll learn about how metal moves, how to achieve various kinds of dimension, and how to raise or curve the metal can be applied to the rest of your metalwork, allowing you to create just about any shape you wish.
If books are more your style, or if you like the convenience of flipping to a bookmarked page in a book to refresh your memory on some metalsmithing or other jewelry-making technique, The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques is incredibly handy and thorough, including everything from jewelry history to how to photograph and sell your jewelry, with everything in between: a tool directory, a gem reference guide, a gallery of design inspiration, conversion and measurement tables, a jeweler's glossary, and lots and lots of technique tutorials. Like a cookbook splattered with good olive oil and red wine, my copy is smudged with patina and firescale soot--sure signs of a much-loved, much-used resource.
So if metalsmithing is on your to-do list (or your to-learn list), I know you'll be successful with the help of one or all of these resources. And lucky you, you can use coupon code TAKE20 to save 20% off any one of them, today only in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop 12 Days of Deals. But hurry, the coupon expires tonight, Dec. 5, 2012, at 11:59 pm CT.