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This month we ask ourselves —

What is the most difficult piece you’ve ever made, from a technical perspective?

Hmm. Which one to choose? The technical part is what makes jewelry making interesting to me — the piece has to work, it has to function properly — you have to make the design work, and the piece work.

Helping students work out their engineering challenges and order of operations is one of the things I enjoy about teaching metalsmithing.

I’ve raised a few bowls, those are fun, but not really that challenging. I’ve made some hollow containers (salt and pepper shakers) by forming the halves in the hydraulic press and then soldering the parts together. But that’s not hard either.

In metal clay, my piece (from my series of medals), “The Society of Mothers…” was a technical challenge because the sterling silver baby was in the center of a piece of fine silver mesh, and the mesh had to be attached somehow to the outer edge of the medal. That was fun to figure out how to do.

Another medal in the series, the Anti-war Medal, was easier, because a) I’d already worked out how to attach the mesh, and b) the leg (yes, that’s a leg, symbolizing the many lost limbs in the Iraq war) spans the medal.

The tiny spoon I made in PMC was a bit of a pain in terms of getting the bowl shaped just right.

After experimenting with firing the bowl of a spoon (just a bowl I did, no handle) over a combustible core, and not being happy with that, I fired the whole spoon flat and shaped it after it was fired.

I used steel stakes in the hydraulic press to get it shaped just right.

Wondering what the other blog carnival-ites have to say on the subject? Here are their links:

Andes Cruz

Tamra Gentry

Tonya Davidson

Vickie Hallmark

Angela Crispin

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