Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rivet Experiment: Take One

I tried something new today. While spending the morning kid-less and oxygen-less, I decided to try my hand at rivoting with sterling wire. I had seen some pendants online somewhere (I wish I could find the site again for you but can't seem to come up with it) that were glass beads mounted in a sterling bezel. I thought they were cool but figured they were something I could never attempt. For one, I am not ordering a bunch of bezel wire when I don't really know how to use it. Second, I have really only started to solder and soldering an entire bezel seems dang near impossible in my mind. And then, well duh, I am a glass artist not a metalsmith. But still, I couldn't get the idea of a "special" pendant out of my head.

I have been letting it stew for a while. And then it hit me... rivoting! I love the new jewelry that Lori over at The Royal Bead has been posting on her Etsy Shop. I had noticed that a bunch of her designs rivots two piece of metal together. I think Susan Lenart Kazmer refers to it as a "cold connection" because it doesn't envolve soldering or a torch. I started to think... " I bet I could trap a glass bead in between two pieces of metal."

I have had a bunch of 1in sterling silver discs on my desk for a while now. I made a bunch of dangle pendants with them last summer that you might remember. With the help of those and my new (crappy) disc cutter from Harbour Freight, I set to try out my idea this morning. (Oh, the kids are at breakfast with my in-laws and my O2 tank is empty awaiting a refill... that is what I meant by kid-less & oxygen-less.)

My first experiment was a FLOP! But only because I hadn't really planned out the process. I polished up a big disc, and a smaller one, measured and cut the piece of sterling wire. I made the rivet on back of big disc, layered the beads and smaller metal disc on and then riveted the front piece of wire to the smaller disc. Looked pretty cool... then I wanted to put jump ring on and solder it to hang it as a pendant. Grrrrreat. I solder the ring and drop the piece in pickle. IDIOT! Instantly the glass was cracking!! Thermal shock... I am such a moron. The heat of the torch made the metal hot which made the glass hot... the sudden temperature change fractured the glass. What is the one of the most important rules about make beads people? THEY HAVE TO COOL VERY VERY SLOWLY. That is why they go in a kiln. I just wasn't thinking.

The second attempt turned out much better. I soldered the jump ring on the big disc first them did the rest of the steps. I was making these with left over glass beads that I laying around so they aren't very "Kabs" like in the bead design. But it is definitely a cool new design and I think I can come up with some really cool glass discs with lots of extra detail just for these. Some of you might be looking really close at these and saying "but Kerry, they aren't perfectly centered." To you I say... "I know, I did it that way on purpose." I love layered circles... they are one of my favorite things. And I love when they float and swim around, not perfectly centered. I think it gives the design more depth and interest.

I have to say, I am so proud of my little beads though. I whacked the crap out of the wire to make the rivets with the bead right there under the blow of the hammer and they came through awesomely. That is annealing people. Makes those little guys tough as nails. Now if were to slip and whack an edge that had a raised dot on it, I probably would have chipped it off. But these basic solid ones hold up really well.


WillowLuna said...

I love it!! Sorry I haven't called yet, but it's been a long day with the kids.

Anonymous said...

The new pendant design is awesome. I really like it.
They go really well together.

Holly said...

I think they are wonderful!!!! Your rivets look really really good. I am impressed!