Tag Archives: metalsmith

Creating with Bristlecone Pine Oolite: Petrified Rock in 2022

I had a really great 2022. Previously, I wrote a newsletter about saying YES to so many new opportunities this year, which led me to need to use the word NO a few times. If the pandemic has taught me (us) anything, it is the need for a little guilt-free self-care. Which means sometime I go really slow (who am I kidding, I ALWAYS go really slow) when making jewelry. Or dinner.


Bristlecone Pine Tree, image courtesy of Rad Drew Photography, copyright 2022

When I came upon a Bristlecone Pine Oolite a couple of years ago, I knew I had to have it. It was cut by a local lapidary guy who is no longer in business. Later, I received a photo of a Bristlecone pine tree image that my husband, Rad Drew, took a picture of in California. I put the two together, and knew I needed a special piece for the stone. See three progress photos, below, and below that, a video. See the necklace in my shop, HERE.



Bristlecone Pine Oolite Necklace, detail view. Nancy Lee Designs, 2022.





Progression of Learning – Heavy Bezels

Recently I had the pleasure of deleting myself from my studio and adding myself to Myra Perrin‘s home studio for two days. She was hosting goldsmith Michael David Sturlin for several days of workshops. My interest was piqued by a “Heavy Bezel” workshop. Without further consideration into what that meant, I enrolled myself. It turns out we were doing exactly what the workshop title promised – we made heavy bezels for gemstones. The examples here show the use of 16 gauge (1.25 mm) sterling silver sheet to make the bezel and 18 gauge (1.09 mm) as a back plate.

In the workshop, all of us students revisited measuring with precision and testing out underused Pi muscles. We filed piles of silver dust – hours of carving away metal to reveal the prongs you’ll see in the photos. No soldering here – these prongs were created simply through the careful sawing and the use of needle files and escapement files.

Side View of Bezel
Reverse View of Bezel
Bezel with Temporarily Set Black Onyx

Most of the time I was intent on doing a lot of talking with Michael, Myra, and my wonderful fellow students. I was like an animal led to water, thirsty for not only knowledge, but the sharing of experiences with like-minded metal lovers.  This all led to me not quite finishing the piece I was working on. But, when it’s finally ready, I promise to post a photo of the completed work.
Be sure to check out the photo, below, of the jeweler’s saw frame. Look carefully, and you’ll see a file loaded in the blade location. It represents a tip that Michael passed along. This particular file is called a chenier file, or a joint needle file (and likely known by some more names) and is often used when making a “U” shaped slot into which the knuckles of a hinge are soldered. The edges of this file are slightly rounded and contain the cutting surfaces. The broader, flat sides of the file are normally where you’d see these cutting surfaces. But on this file, they’re smooth, or “safe.” This makes for a very handy tool adaptation to assist in filing level and straight across two bezel surfaces.

Jewelers Saw Loaded with Chenier File

New Metalsmith Group in Indianapolis

A new group is in it’s infancy. Indy Metalsmith was born to offer support to local metalsmiths who may not have a casual outlet to meet other like-minded individuals and share ideas. The group isn’t limited to practicing metalsmiths, however. It’s open and welcoming to those who are interested in this ancient art form, or those who provide products or services in support of the art form.
Meetings will be held on a regular basis and based upon the interests of the group as well as the founder’s ideas about what might be fun. There will be many opportunities to share knowledge, and show the recent work of group members, whether it be jewerly, objects, sculpture or techniques. Meetings will take place at the Circle City Industrial Complex on the Near Eastside. The first meeting will be held on March 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM.

Indy Metalsmith is hosted via Meetup.com. Mark your intention to attend the upcoming inaugural event by clicking on the RSVP link below. Join us!


Indy Metalsmith Group Description

We are a group of creative souls, using metal to give voice to our ideas. If you make jewelry, functional or sculptural objects, or are interested in these, this group is for you. Indy Metalsmith is a safe place to learn, share, show, and grow for all skill levels. The goal is to bring together a tribe of people who like to work with metal and who would otherwise be working in isolation. In groups, we give and receive by offering tips and tricks via live demonstrations, curated product offerings, business and artistic opportunities, hugs, or by whatever means we deem necessary and fun for us to stretch and grow.
***Sponsorship opportunities for Indy Metalsmith are being accepted now! Contact Nancy Lee for more information on how you can be involved.***

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