on the bench

 On the Bench  -setting up a typeset when printing with sheet metal

Setting up a typeset, when metal printing, is the best way not to waste sheet metal by making a crazy mistake while stamping. Here I have used the top wooden lid of another letter stamp set to arrange the different fonts. I also stamp out the saying/quote/names before to make absolutely sure the letters chosen work with the thought/design or even with especially the lowercase letters making sure the b, d, h, p etc. are the b, d, h, p or even y It is important also to check for the aesthetic by stamping on a piece of scrap wood with your leather mallet seeing if it all works together. There are about 3 scrap pieces of wood floating around the studio (I will get a pic later) for this reason so I don't stamp on the benches in studio.
setting up a typeset for PA Wilds woodland pendants 'Wild about the PA WILDS'

group shot showing tools used

signing and branding with custom created metal stamps
centering and measuring with then marking with a Sharpie and a metal ruler



 On the bench-  keeping tools clean

Keeping your work area clean and somewhat picked up is important when making jewelry.  This is true for feeling creative and making quality work, for I don't or can't work in a hot mess of a studio but, creative clutter is another thing :) When filling inventories in stores, galleries and trail stops or filling custom orders organized clutter is best.  Well.... I have no choice since the studio is 11'x10'.  I often describe the space akin to a cooks galley kitchen.... for when working on the stump bench I can either reach what I need where I presently am working or a couple rolls of the chair wheels gets me there snagging what is needed.
I will write a post talking about 'studio move' in the near future.  Plans have changed from originally building off of the existing studio, to upcycling our existing back screen porch into a super area for SDAJ.  This change makes the dh happy and also adds another living area to the house and increases the studio's possibilities when hosting open houses, classes and artisan trail events... + makes me smiles too! HOOT, HOOT!!  The finished studio will be 7 times what I have now.
hammers here at the ready allow the artist to freely move from one technique to the next
Simple is best not needing much effort with keeping the floor swept, benches free of metal shavings, tools in their homes and surfaces ready for that next big project.  If your tools are where they normally are at all times, you tend to be more productive, which decreases stress  when you reach for that lost riveting hammer and time, when in a crunch reaching for that brass mallet for your punches.
files on a magnetic strip at the ready

 Files should be free from bits of filed metals, steel wool and rust to file properly lasting for years.  The magnetic strip is a pain with magnetizing so all your steel wool floaties get picked up...grrr
Files can't be touching each other for it damages the teeth so the strip works great for that but, you can also have them in a single layer in a drawer.  I won't have them on the front of this work bench again but, attached to the back wall for these crazy things fall every where from just the slightest bump. 
antique hammers or old school work horse hammers for texturing here an old ball-peen....see my fave texturing hammer in the background, an old cobbler's hammer.

just a simple cleaning up
Hammers are an artisans bridging between them and the metal being formed.  I feel hammers are my favorite tool as you can see from the photos hammers live on the stump bench, tool boxes around the studio and are seen featured in many photos when even featuring my jewelry or metalprinting.
HAMMERS are the heart and soul of the 'work' screaming their existence in and out of the studio, making themselves heard. 
Yesterdays Instagram post was the above photo showing 4 of the hammers in the collection that I wanted to start using regularly but, could not with rust and crud covering each. The ball-peen, cross-peen and a tack hammer were first sandpapered with 400 grit wet/dry mechanics paper and then steel wooled.  I also took a punch to my favorite texturing hammer tightening the handle once again, pictured above the Instagram shot.



 on the bench- new jewelry displays

So many artisan pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets with no way to display them as one thought, all together in shops or galleries,  with out looking like a hot mess was an issue for me.   This also kept me from refilling inventory for I was not crazy about how my work was put on display at these locations (not their fault) and needed to come up with a solution for them and me. 
awaiting assembly, upcycled oak door jambs with rust staining and general wear tear is pretty cool
Simple is best, letting the focus be on the work instead of the display, was the thought and I knew lots of wood, following an industrial punch is where I wanted to be.  Many images on line were scrolled through to get the wheels turning.  Then it all came to fruition, knowing I liked the look of hardware fasteners and distressed wood... combining these two elements with industrial style design and nature.  Here is what came about :) 
bolts making easel style assembly

 Linseed oil was also applied, after assembly, to seal in the age and bring out the grain.  Lots of L-hooks, eye hooks and other points of interest, like this wall bracket which at one time was used for finial rods adding dimension to the display, focusing on a bracelet as seen below.

a way to hang PA Wilds branded pendants, earrings, rings, bracelets and charms, complete with business cards makes for a centralized artisan display.  This set is going to ECCOTA in Ridgway, Pa.

this set is with Allegheny Outfitters in Warren, Pa. 

each set includes a 12", 2-10" necklace easels along with a pendant, bracelet and earring board
When I set up at shows these easels are going to save me a lot of lugging along those bulky, heavy and cumbersome displays.  What did I say, simple is best!
When photographing the pieces for the ETSY shoppe, I am excited to of course incorporate especially the necklace easels in the shot.   What is your vision to bring together your jewelry in one thought?




On the bench- new favorite tool, the steel bristle brush

My favorite new tool is a beautiful little steel-bristle brush from Germany, distributed by Euro Tool.
Four rows of 0.10mm steel bristles in a 8-5/8" wooden handle has become my go to bench tool.  After oxidizing the metal and also for a quick polish up when brightening inventory for shows or when sprucing up inventory in shoppes, galleries & trail stops.
bristle steel brush, wet/dry mechanic's sandpaper and branded copper charms on the bench

I ordered this great bench tool from Beaducation recently after NEEDING to find another way to clean up oxidized jewelry without killing my fingers and wrists while working into those small spaces.  I still take a larger grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove the high points and then go over the metal with the brush creating a soft look and feel to the jewelry.

the new and improved time saving 3 steps to finishing metal after oxidizing
When the metal is prepped and ready, it is then dipped in Liver of Sulfur blackening it, then secondly sanded to expose the high areas and then third brushing over all surfaces creating a lovely satin appearance/feel.  You can truly see how rough the #2 charm in the middle is compared to #3 on the end, where the brush evens out the charm's surface creating my desired finish.

What surprises have you had lately that changed your way of creating?


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