Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tucson – February 4th - Rio's Catalog In Motion

Not much about the Gem Show today...I am taking a class with Rio Grande’s Catalog In Motion... learning to use Bonny Doon’s 20 ton Hydraulic Press!This was a great class and well worth every penny! I think the coolest thing was that it was taught by David Reynolds, the man who personally welds and assembles the machinery that most jewelers have in their studios. He introduced several new products the most exciting was an electric pump that allows for motorized operation of the press.

Thought for the Day – “This is the biggest hammer in your studio!”

Day one was forming – it is amazing just how puffy you can get a piece of metal!

These were the samples of the puffed forms – soldered together as beads and vessels. The three dimensional shapes are formed when metal is forced into a matrix die. Matrix dies can be made of aluminum, steel, brass, or Plexiglas. We all received squares of Plexiglas, jeweler’s saws*, files and designed a die.

Dave put no limits on us and helped each of us press our die – we learned a great deal just by dealing with the limitations of our design choices.

One of the new introductions was the Silhouette Die Set ...it is a contained system with a multitude of dies and additional die sets available.

The group of women in the class represented almost every level of jeweler - goldsmiths, metalsmiths, students, hobbyists, even a woman with a blacksmithing history. What an incredibly talented assembly – I really think that each of went away with something from every artist in the room! It was like having a class within a class... a lot of “what do you think would happen if”...and “lets anneal it and try it again!” I won’t soon forget these women...

Everyone shared samples of their work, Maria Tucker (in red – her website is at http://mariatucker.com ) admires a gold/diamond pendant on leather by Shelly Bermont (check out her work at http://shellybjewelled.com ) while Jennifer Friedman (green jacket – website at http://jenniferfriedmanstudio.com ) and Roberta Starbird and metalsmith student and her daughter look on. Kara (an RN – I sure meet a lot of nurses in jewelry design) sitting in the corner takes lessons from Genevieve. Everyone brought different lifestyles, different views and came from all across the country from Florida to California!

Notice that Genevieve is not cranking a jack she is operating this press with the push of a button!

We cut an assortment of dies and had several gauges of copper and brass to work with.

There was a surprise in the room to assist with die cutting – the New Concept Saw!

You have to see this saw in action, it runs like a sewing machine and has to be seen to be believed!!!! You will never dread piercing again!

More on day two at Rio's Catalog In Motion tomorrow....
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