Desert Open Studios is a wonderful opportunity for art lovers and supporters to visit various art centers in Southern California’s Coachella Valley and beyond, and engage with artists to view and discuss their work. Open Studios are the last two weekends in March.
The Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio, California and many of its artists studios will be open to the public Saturdays from 10am-4pm and Sundays from 12-4pm. Please check this link for more information: http://www.coachellavalleyartcenter.org
Bronze was mankind’s first metal alloy, created approximately 3,500 B.C. Tin was combined with copper to create items that were both harder and stronger than those made from only copper such as tools, armor, weapons and building materials.
Bronze is well known as the metal of choice of sculptors, however it also has a long history of other uses in coins, tools, strings in musical instruments, and even as mirrors before glass was used. But my favorite use for bronze, of course, is in handmade pendants, earrings and bracelets for men and women.
There are many bronze alloys, but the majority of today’s true bronzes are copper and 5-15% tin. Bronze alloys are much harder than pure copper and have twice the tensile strength. This makes bronze more difficult to work with than pure copper; however, the results are worth the additional effort. Thanks to its copper content, bronze can be oxidized to produce a variety of wonderful patinas like on this pendant.
My studio is a small 12’x15′ workspace in Indio, California.
I am in the process of setting up my primary workbench, soldering station, vise bench for serious metal forming; and my anvil station.
My vise bench, pictured below, has adjustable legs on casters so easily moved if needed. This is newly installed and, as you can see from the hammer riot, not properly organized initially; but that has since changed.
My beautiful American-made 35-pound anvil, pictured below, is almost too pretty to be hammering metal on, but it has to earn its keep.
Copper is believed to have been the first metal that man worked with, as far back as 13,000 B.C., due to its naturally available raw form, ductility, rust and corrosion resistance. Today, copper is the most widely used nonferrous metal in industry largely due to its high heat and electrical conductivity. It is also highly favored in artistic endeavors due to its warm pinkish red color and malleability.
Repeated work, particularly hammering, on copper results in the metal hardening to where it becomes very difficult to form and may crack with continued manipulation. Annealing the copper by heating it with a flame restores the metal’s malleability.
In addition to copper’s warm earthy pink-orange natural color, copper is easily oxidized to a myriad of rainbow colors using heat, flame or chemicals such as ammonia and sulfur to create interesting effects like these bracelets.
Paired with other metals such as sterling silver, interesting combinations of contrasting metals are possible such as these rings.
Over a decade ago I attended a county fair north of Los Angeles where I saw my first metal-clay artist. I was instantly intrigued by artist’s beautiful work, and soon contemplated the possibility of creating my own pieces. Having no prior metal or clay working experience I purchased my first supply of silver clay and assorted required tools and equipment, the costliest of which was a Paragon kiln (https://paragonweb.com) for firing the clay pieces that I would create. Over the next several years I created several hundred one-of-a-kind pieces from silver-clay – mostly fine-silver jewelry for men and women.
The high cost of silver clay eventually encouraged me to leave metal clay behind to try my hands at working directly with sterling, copper and bronze metals. I was quickly ‘metal smitten’ and have focused my smithing efforts on these metals for the past several years. Positive feedback from happy customers and the pure enjoyment of creating new pieces keeps me forging ahead with MetalSmitten handmade jewelry and accessories for men and women.
I still maintain a shop on a popular handmade venue where I have sold hundreds of unique pieces to men and women worldwide. However, the bulk of my new creations, from my new studio workspace in Indio, California will be hosted exclusively here on my new site https://MetalSmitten.com.
Please feel free to contact me with your comments, observations and constructive criticisms.