Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hand Fabricated Chains Workshop

This weekend I taught a Hand Fabricated Chains Workshop at Mesa Art Center. This is a class I have been teaching and developing for a couple of years now and each time I teach it it gets better. It may be my favorite class to teach. The possibilities are just endless with chain, which I guess is what makes it so much fun. Some people don't like the detailed monotony of it, but I love chain making.
I start the students out with a discussion of their backgrounds and goals, and then I show them a powerpoint with about 200 slides of historical and contemporary chains. We discuss chains in depth from historical, industrial, and adornment viewpoints. It really helps to get their creative juices flowing.
After the discussion, I move on to talking about wire, different shapes, metals, gauges, hardnesses, etc. I talk about how to choose each of these before getting to work on their designs. Then we go in to making and cutting jump rings, soldering, and assembling.
The format of this workshop is two 8 hour Saturdays. I've taught the class in an 8, 6, and 4 week format, but never 2 days. I like the weekend time frame but there is so much to cover!! The students learned how to make round and shaped jump rings, solder, and texture. I demonstrated traditional chains like the loop in loop and sailors knot, and also a dozen or more cold connected chains with NO soldering. We briefly touched on forging and twisting as well. Whew, it was one packed Saturday! Next week we go in to using the Smith Little Torch and working with sheet metal for linkage. I hope the students are having as good a time as I am!


Velvet Tetrault said...

This sounds like an awesome class. Are you doing one in the summer? How about the 6 or 8 week class?

Lora Hart said...

I want to take this class so bad! Maybe one day I'll fly out to do it. And to meet the wee one. Who's more adorable than a pile of puppies. ;D

beccachandler said...

Are you using liver of silver, black max, or something else, to oxidize your chains?

Lynette said...

Hi Velvet, not in the summer but probably in the fall.
Becca-liver of sulphur.