Use a Blowtorch to Make Jewelry? Yes You Can!

I remember when I first decided to learn metalwork. I'd been making jewelry for a while. I'd even cut copper sheets with metal shears and soldered it with a soldering iron and added wire accents. 

My pieces sold well, but I knew true metalwork would require a few skills I didn't have --sawing with a jeweler's saw and using a blowtorch.

Why metalwork?

I've taught lots of jewelry students over the years. Some prefer wire-work or beading to metalwork. I couldn't make them change their minds, but there are a ton of reasons why they should have at least tried. Here are just a few

  • You can make an item of jewelry from "scratch" --no manufactured parts. 
  • You can put your own ideas to work instead of using someone else's.
  • Your jewelry offerings will be unique --different from anyone else.
  • Metalwork brings out the inner creative spirit that was there all along. 

You can do a lot with a
 simple soldering operation.
It has nothing to do with bravery

Hardware store guys don't know what to say when they realize I'm one of those saw-wielding, torch-burning sort-of ladies. Women have called me brave for daring to fool around with an open flame and a canister of flammable gas. I think it's more about curiosity and persistence than bravery.

I was raised with a ton of siblings. I've been a mother for over 40 years. I've been divorced twice, and I rose up the corporate ladder --at least a few rungs-- during a time when ambitious women and minorities were treated like Kryptonite. Those were the things that required bravery. Using a blowtorch just takes being stubborn enough to keep trying until you get it right.

So, take a class

I self-taught lots of jewelry making skills, but you should learn how to use a blowtorch in a safe environment. Find a metalwork class in your area. When I tried to find a class nearly 20 years ago, the only ones available were college electives for full-time students.

I eventually found a class in my area, so perhaps you can too. Check local jewelry stores and adult evening enrichment programs. If you see a metalsmith at an art show, ask if she can give you private lessons. 

You can learn to use a blowtorch too. So just do it. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Now Cut That Out!: Creating Jewelry With A Jeweler's Saw

Adding Textures, Letters, and Cut-Outs 

Working With Your Blowtorch: 10 Safety Tips Jewelry Designers Ought to Know


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