Victoria Lansford is a remarkable metal smith whose work I featured before - see this past post about her gorgeous Ancient World Inspired Jewelry Designs. She is a master of a number of the ancient techniques such as Eastern repousse and granulation where tiny metal balls are fused onto metal. For example, the Ancient Egyptians and especially the Ancient Etruscans were skilled in this. For centuries people were puzzled how they managed this without using solder. It wasn't until the 20th century that people finally realised a paste made from copper carbonate, water and fish glue was used.
Victoria's new Craftsy class called Granulation Techniques Demystified reveals how one can apply this ancient technique in a modern way. This workshop is NOT for beginners. While Victoria does do some soldering with wire solder, what she mostly covers is torch fusing (no solder) at higher temperatures using air-acetylene gas mixtures. (If you are starting out, check out Gwen Youngblood's class on sweat soldering with a hand-held butane torch - Soldering: Basics and Beyond which I reviewed before)
Victoria's fascinating class is divided into 7 lesson plans with a total run time of 2.6 hours. Lesson 1 covers the the types of metals she uses - largely sterling silver and a bit of 18K gold and why there should be no zinc in them. She carefully covers how to use a small tank with a regulator for the torch and how to get the right flame and hence temperature. Having used gas tanks in the lab for decades in my past life as an analytical toxicologist, I must say Victoria is reassuring as an instructor and students will see how easy it is to handle tanks.
This lesson shows how she makes those little metal balls... lots and lots of them! The instructor also shares many tips including how to sort the different sizes of balls created. She also offers an alternative method using a hardware store washer and flush cutters to cut wire bits evenly.
Lesson 2 shows how a small charm can be made by fusing wire onto a roughly cut piece sterling silver sheet. Even with no solder, there is still a need to have something to hold the wire and act like a flux to help the molten metal to fuse together. So instead of using hide(animal) glues, she uses saliva! Victoria's sense of humor emerges whenever she demonstrates the saliva application - licking is involved - there is a little quirk of a smile. A student had asked her if what one ate mattered for the process, she quipped that chocolate always does!
Lesson 3 shows how she places the little balls onto the design. Again she shares a number of tips on how to make this easier - instructors like her with years of experience have learned the hard way how to do things.
She also explains why she sweat solders around the outside of the wire before she saws off the rest of the metal sheet to complete the charm. She does not show the sawing part as advanced students should know how to do this.
Lesson 4 builds on the basic granulation skills for larger design pieces. Victoria also shows how depletion gilding is done. This is a surface enrichment process to remove anything that is not silver.
The final piece has portions removed with a saw and patinated.
Lesson 5 covers a number of inspirational designs and ideas. One thing she demonstrated is how to make a pyramid out of the balls. The ring shown below has such a pyramid as the focal.
It doesn't have to be metal balls either. Her beautiful earring dangles have short wire lengths as the decorative element.
In this lesson, she includes tips on how to make mirror image earrings.
Lesson 6 and 7 cover the making of a detailed granulated ring, starting from a flat piece of metal.
This instructor provided not just instructions but a fascinating commentary on the granulation process. Her 26 years of experience was evident all through her class as she was able to share so much information on what to do and what not to do. Did she demystify the granulation technique? Very much so.
Note that Craftsy classes are convenient in that you can watch it any time you want. You can also make notes and ask the instructor any questions.
If you'd like to win the Victoria Lansford's Granulation Techniques Demystified Online Class Giveaway, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.
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This giveaway is international.
Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.
It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, August 17, 2015 . I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!
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Before You Go:
- Book Review - Soldering Beyond the Basics
- How to Chain Stitch with Wire
- Ancient Roman Glass Necklace Tutorial
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips