Yesterday was a big day for me. I sent the little one off to playschool and headed off to the Terri McCarthy Studio in Grafton, WI to start another 12-week, hands-on study of metal jewelry fabrication. Since it has been almost two years since I've studied there, I started my day with a tour of the studio and getting a refresher on the equipment.
My favorite tool of the day was the rolling mill. Just imagine a machine that's like a pair of rolling pins on steroids. I don't know the engineering mechanisms involved, but when an annealed piece of metal is rolled through with a textured object, the mill presses the pattern onto the metal. I added texture to sterling silver and turned it into earrings with post backs. I rolled another piece to make a ring with a leather textured shank.
But the very best features of the studio are the lights, vents, outlets and fellow artists! I have a very well-equipped studio at home but it's a bit lacking in the fundamentals. Someday I fear that I am going to trip in the dark on the four extention cords that share the same outlet. Either that or I will pass out from the flux fumes and no one will know that I'm missing. Getting out for 3 hours a week, with other adults and windows, is definitely a good thing.
This is a picture of my instructor, Terri McCarthy. She has been making jewelry since 1988 and opened her own studio four years ago when the local community college stopped offering the metalsmithing class that she taught. She knows everything and I hope a little of her expertise rubs off on me!