Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I can brag about a new toy in town, an addition to my studio collection, a defining tool that separates the metal workers from the metal players: The Torch.

It rests, with its torch tail sweetly curled on one corner of my desk, waiting for the whoosh of the regulator valves and scratch of the striker before bursting into an elegant little 4800̊ degree flame.

I admit I’m still slightly terrified of this thing.

But, I am willing to grit my teeth and face my 5th grade fear of power tools to make a circle. It is magical, this ability to take a piece of wire and connect end to end, so perfect now with the cyclical season change from cold into this blessed sunshine.

This new tool crowds my desk with its friends, a turntable with charcoal blocks on pumice, and a pickle pot. In my effort to maintain a sustainable studio I’m using a mixture of water and citric acid for my pickle rather than the standard sulphuric acid, which is toxic and quite scary to use. The citric acid is food grade, and won’t burn holes in my skin or clothes if I accidentally splash, and it is much easier to dispose of. The only disadvantage is I have to leave the metal in the pickle a little longer to remove any oxidation…long enough to have a cup of tea. Not a bad trade at all.

The above and below photos detail my first hoops. What began as four pieces of recycled sterling silver wire ended as 2” hammered hoops and ear wires finished with a beaded end…another fun metal melting trick.

No comments: