My passion for metalsmithing began in early 2016 when I lit a torch for the first time. I was taking an introductory class on making spinner rings. Within the first 10 minutes of the class we dove right into lighting our torches to soften our pieces of sterling silver. I remember the exhilaration of handling the intense, hot flame and being dumbfounded that someone was trusting me not to burn the whole place down.
As the class progressed, I fell more in love with the art form. I was fascinated with how a piece of metal could be transformed with some heat, sawing, and hammering, There was both a technical aspect and a finesse that could only be earned with practice. I ended up cracking my ring because I was a little too heavy with the hammer. Fortunately, the instructor repaired my ring for me.
After that first class, I enrolled in additional classes to satisfy my growing desire to learn more. I learned how to set stones, carve wax models, create anticlastic and hollow forms, design my own chasing tools, and press form. I also collected books and scoured the internet for tutorials.
In about a year, I was ready to invest in a few basic tools. I acquired a propane torch, vise, saw, soldering block, a second-hand desktop jewelers bench, and a few hammers, files and pliers. At the time, we were renting an apartment and my parents were happy to let me setup a small table in their house. I would set up in their front entryway so I could open the front door when I soldered. When I was done, I would tuck the table in a corner in another room.
As time went on, my skills improved and I invested in more tools when I could afford them. I would make gifts for friends and family. When I started to get requests for my jewelry, my confidence grew and it became a goal to create a website. It is no small feat to create a website. Many times I doubted myself. I would re-evaluate my expectations and remind myself to start small and simple.
So, here I am now. My tools have moved out of my parents' house into my own dream studio and my website is live. I'm beyond happy with the small collection of pieces I currently have available. I will be posting 1-3 new items each week. A year from now it will be fascinating to reflect on where I was today.
-Carmel (Caramel) Cinco