My next metalsmithing class starts tomorrow. We're going to be learning all sorts of interesting new techniques including bezel-setting stones and soldered chains as well as some casting. Learning how to make soldered chains was why I started taking these classes in the first place.
A friend of mine had given me some coral beads that she wanted re-made into something other than coral strung on a thread. I had drawn up a few designs but I found myself frustrated because I couldn't execute those designs. The friend assured me that there was no rush in getting the finished product to her so I put the project aside. I still want to complete it and I hope that once I learn the techniques I'll be able to finish this project.
In addition to that project, I was actually finding that I was bored with just putting beads on a wire. don't get me wrong - I loved the earrings that I was making because they were lovely, but I wanted to do something else. I know that there are all sorts of wire wrapping that I could do but that isn't really what I want to do. I do want to experiment with knitting and crocheting with wire and beads but that's different from wrapping wire.
I'm also excited to be learning about bezel setting because it's a nice way to show off stones. In this type of setting, the stone sits in a band of metal and the metal edge is actually bent or folded over the stone just a bit. This setting shows off the stone better than a prong setting and the stone is quite stable in this setting. Of course it isn't necessary to use a precious or semi-precious stone in this setting - almost any bead or object could be used. These settings are usually used on rings and watches but I've seen them in pendants as well.
We'll be learning other techniques as well, of course. Can you tell that I'm really looking forward to this next course? I can hardly wait to get this class started.