Yesterday was a great day! I took a stone setting workshop with D’Ette Delforge at Sweetman Allen Studio in Lakewood, CO.

The rings pictured at the top of this post are mine.  The rings in the ad above show a much better image, our workshop covered the center ring.  I only managed to get one stone set.  My apologies for the poor photo quality, I took it as the ring isn’t ready for Dan to take a nice picture of it and I wanted to post about this workshop while it was fresh in my memory.

I love learning new things.  This one was very challenging and reinforced the need for practice!  Lots of practice.

Our teacher was D’ette Delforge and she’s wonderful.  If you ever get a chance to take a class with her, I highly recommend it.  She is patient and very willing to share how to do this type of work.  You can find out more about D’ette and her work on her website.

She had this quote at her bench and I found it inspiring.  It certainly is a motto she lives by as she teaches.

One of the many great aspects of yesterday was that Lexi had enrolled in this class, along with some of my other metalsmithing friends.  And I got to meet some new metalsmiths, which made for a wonderful exchange of ideas and conversations.

Lexi Erickson (left) and Carol Weir ready to start the day!

I think we were a pretty enthusiastic bunch.  D’ette had prepared supply kits for our project and here are the really sweet set of drill bits that were in our kits along with a little forging tool she made for us from a nail!

More tools!  Love it!

One of the things I really enjoy with workshops like this are all the little tips and tricks the instructor shares with the class.  D’ette gave us a couple of tools she made for this type of specialty work.  And she described others to us that we could make.  Loved that!

The workshop covered flush mount stone setting.  We learned how to size the ring, join it, position the holes for the stones, drill, set, and finish.  The bulk of the finish work really needs to be done before the stone is set so the stone won’t be damaged.  But there are ways, if you need to do some finish work after it’s set too.  It’s just easier if the ring is finished before the stone is set.

Another thing I noticed, and I’m beginning to believe this is a common trait in all the metalsmiths I know, is quality craftsmanship.  D’ette stated it is just as important to finish the inside of the ring as it is the outside.  She had this handy tool for cleaning the inside of the ring.

It is another tool that she made, using a nail and sand paper.  Cleans the inside of the ring just as slick as a whistle.

One of the things I love about this next photo is it shows the technique of a real master of her craft.

Getting the hole started.  Stabilizing the hand position so as to prevent the drill from moving.  D’ette’s expertise shines.

So now it’s our turn.  Wearing magnifiers to clearly see what we are doing was HUGE.  Lexi took this photo of me as I was concentrating pretty intently on drilling.  The eye gear I was wearing drew a number of comments and they thought I looked like I was from Star Trek.  I’m ok with that, Live Long & Prosper, right?

This next photo truly shows how glamorous the life of an art jeweler is!  As if the previous photo didn’t give that away already.

Glam shot!

How ’bout them glasses!!!!????!!!!  Yes, I do think there’s something out of this world in that photo.

I learned so much and I have so much practice to do.  It was a wonderful day and I am a strong proponent of investing in yourself with continued educational workshops and/or classes.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.