The first class I took at Bead Fest this year was on Soldering Silver Components. I have wanted to learn how to solder for a while, mainly to create some closed rings for use with my jewelry. When I saw the class, I signed up, even though it started at 8:00 AM. In my summer world, that is the equivalent of about 4:00 AM to the rest of the world that rises early.
So armed with a coffee that was so small it wouldn't satisfy a toddler, I stumbled my way in to the class.
|It's as small as it looks. Actually, it's smaller.|
Mark was a great teacher. He had the rare ability to take some technical material and make it so easy to understand. I was able to quickly understand why soldering was a preferred method, versus the use of the "paste" used in many cheaper components. He was also very enthusiastic and open with his knowledge. If you ever have a chance to take a class from him, go for it.
The one thing he made us do that was painful was think. At 8:30 in the morning. Have a mentioned I'm not a morning person? But he charged us with the task of designing a piece that needed to be soldered in multiple places, so we could jump into the fire (no pun intended). This is what I came up with in my foggy brain.
|Kind of reminds me of a health class poster...|
|The soldered piece; a few gaps, but not too bad!|
So I got brave and tried to make a flower. Now I would do it totally different if I try one again, but it was good practice in making some shaped rings and trying to solder a lot of points in a small area. You can see that there are some chunks of solder still there. I was so concerned with overheating the silver that I didn't wait for the solder to flow.
The "flower", even though it didn't work out quite like I had planned, was the best learning tool of the day. This is what I like the most about good classes--they give you a chance to play and experiment and actually learn; sometimes learning what not to do is much more valuable.
My final piece was simple. I wanted to make a component I could use to make earrings. I just soldered together a couple of "S" shapes, and voila!
Not too fancy, but they will make a pretty pair of earrings for my personal collection!
When I have more energy, I will post about my other class, with Gail Crosman Moore!