Overcoming Obstacles | Opening up new paths for jewelry-making by Kiki Taron-Kinney

Overcoming Obstacles| Opening up new paths for jewelry making

By Kiki Taron-Kinney

I have been a metalsmith for close to twenty years. I love everything about fabricating jewelry…. well almost anything.  I have not set a stone in a handmade bezel for over a decade. I am not fond of making them mostly because I am not good at it. I also struggle with making rings, I could never get the sizing correct.

In early winter I received the course listing for the Spring session at Metalwerx in Waltham. There in black and white was a course listing for making carved heavy bezels, and in the class students would make a bezel-set ring. Was this the time to face my ring/bezel fears? I did it. I signed up for the course and paid for it right away, not over thinking it and perhaps changing my mind.

The class was a three-day weekend workshop taught by master metalsmith, Pauline Warg. As I drove to class, I kept thinking, what am I doing? I was sure I was going to make a fool of myself. When I met the instructor, I quietly told her my fears.

The first day of class flew by and everything I did went smoothly. I formed the heavy gauge silver around a beautiful Chalcedony cabochon, and I soldered it together on the first try, and then successfully soldered it to the backplate. I went home thinking I can do this.

Day two of the workshop we worked on making a very heavy ring shank to solder the backplate onto. It took most of the day. It was wonderful seeing the progress. I soldered the shank to the backplate flawlessly and the ring fit my finger as planned. I knew last day of the workshop would be fun and I had accomplished my goal of getting past my fears.

The last day of the workshop entailed setting the stone and polishing our rings on the polishing lathe. Oh no, one more fear to overcome! I was terribly afraid of the lathe. The instructor walked us through the proper and safe steps in using the lathe. I was very nervous but slowly I got the hang of it. The feeling of accomplishment was incredible.

Reflecting on the class, I realize that part of why the class went so well for me is that I am not the same metalsmith I was 10 years ago. My skills and techniques are much more refined making each task much easier. I am so glad that I chose to try and overcome my fears. I see a lot of heavy carved bezel wires and rings in my future!

You can find me at the upcoming seARTS Wearable Art event on April 26-28 at the Castle Manor Inn or via any of my social media channels!

QuitsaKiki Designs. via email.

Via my Website.  On Facebook: FB QuitsaKiki Designs or Instagram quitsakiki