Monthly Archives: June 2013

What I Learned From Five Days With Deb Karash

The pin Deb made in class
The pin Deb made in class

The first thing that I learned was that I should make sketches everyday, at least 5 or 6, of anything that I am interested in to translate into jewelry.  At first, this was a chore and a bother, but now, I embrace it and do it.  It doesn’t matter if you excel at drawing or not, just get your idea down, then you can build on your idea from there.

The second thing I learned from Deb is that she standardizes the way that she works.  She uses 22 gauge sheet and 22 gauge wire for most things. That means she is using a #64 drill bit almost always.  She is not constantly switching out different sizes of drill bits.

I learned how to use the hammer hand piece that attaches to the Fordham motor.  Deb ground down a point that fits into the hand piece to something that looks like the end of a screwdriver.  She uses it to carve mostly lines into her jewelry.

Finishing her jewelry was very important to her and she finished layers as she went along, she used the buffing wheel on each piece and it left a nice satin finish on the front and back the piece.  We had to really pay attention to what we were doing because sometimes we finished a layer all the way, but maybe would have to still do something like solder on a bail or pin back.  If there was patina on the piece and then the piece had to be soldered, then the patina would have to be redone.   She would finish some layers all the way down to applying Renaissance Wax because after it was riveted together, there would be no easy way to apply the wax.

Deb is one of the first jewelers that I have met that is NOT a tool junkie. Since she has standardized the way she works, she doesn’t really need many tools and she makes use of tools like dapping punches on which to form her pieces.  She likes to soften the edges of each layer by turning them down slightly using a nylon hammer.  She might do that on a dapping punch or on a small anvil.

I am sure I learned even more from Deb and I just can’t think of it right now, but I do know that what I did learn I will incorporate into the way I work at my bench.  It was such an honor to take her class this summer and I loved every minute of it.  She is a very giving and inspiring teacher.

2013 Week in Idyllwild

I was pretty sure that I would be able to write something everyday or publish a picture about what was happening in Idyllwild during Metals Week, but I was wrong. Each day I was in class, I was learning so much and so intent on applying what I was learning that I was exhausted by the time I got back to my cabin.

The universe was looking out for me when I didn’t get into the class that I was hoping to get into when I registered. I ended up getting into Deb Karash’s Surface Design and Fabrication class, which was exactly what I needed to take in order to make my jewelry more interesting and three-dimensional.

My table mate, Donna
My table mate, Donna (She is hilarious)


Deb Karash's Classroom
Deb Karash’s Classroom


The Potluck Dinner and Silent Auction
The Potluck Dinner and Silent Auction
Our Cabin
The Final Day…Thursday Afternoon Exhibit of Student Work

There were four other classes: A Fresh Look at Spiculums taught by Betty Helen Longhi., Chasing and Repousse taught by Nancy Megan Corwin, Creating Cuffs taught by Connie Fox,  and The Rolling Mill – Exploring a Creative Tool taught by Deb Jemmott.


Metals Week in Idyllwild

I am so excited to be leaving today for Idyllwild for Metals Week  and five days of learning from a master teacher/artist…five days of metalsmithing in the mountains. Who could ask for more? 

Tonight my friend Tracy and I are meeting friends for dinner at the Gastrognome. We can walk there from our cabin which is practically downtown. Classes start first thing on Sunday morning, then tomorrow night the instructors and assistants give a short talk and slide show about their work. Monday night we visit classrooms of two instructors that we found interesting and/or want to learn more about their process. Tuesday night is gallery night, which of course is exciting and wine and appetizers are served. The work of the instructors is for sale in the cute little gallery on the campus and that allows you to pick up a piece (or pieces) from these amazing metalsmiths. Wednesday there is a potluck and a silent auction, which raises money for the arts academy. Thursday is the last day of classes and in the afternoon, all the work of the students is displayed and we get to see the work that everyone has produced during the week.

I am in heaven while I am there.

Chinese Writing Stone

Chinese Writing Stone
Chinese Writing Stone

I am working on earrings using these stones. Of course I photographed the dime with the stones so you could see just how small they are. I try to make larger pieces, but somehow I end up gravitating to small projects.

I found a quote by Picasso today…”Inspiration exist, but it has to find you working.” I like that quote, it is exactly what I needed to tack up on my wall above my bench.

A Finished Piece

Sterling Necklace with Bumble Bee Onyx Dangle
Sterling Necklace with Bumble Bee Onyx Dangle

I finished the Bumble Onyx Dangle necklace. I posted a photo of the stone a few posts back. This is exactly what I wanted to do with my blog. Post a picture of materials or ideas that I wanted to work on and then present the finished piece. Not a big move, but mission accomplished. I need to keep on going.

I am getting slightly better with my photography…I think. I am still struggling. I am choosing to only photograph with my IPhone because the camera within the phone is so good, that it is capable of providing photos that are of beautiful enough to put on a website. I have enough to learn about WordPress right now, I don’t want to struggle with having to learn how to work a fancy camera, of which I have no desire to do.

I was away from my torch for two long weeks and then it has taken me another week to get back in the groove. I am getting ready to head out to my bench in the garage and get to work on making something else. Today it is hot and that means that it is snake weather and I have already had one snake in the garage in the last week, so I hope things go well today…no snakes.