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Joyce Chen Scissors

Small and powerful. These are my trusty Joyce Chen Scissors. Lexi introduced them to me during our first metalsmithing workshop. Be WARNED!!!! These little beauties are SHARP. Seriously SHARP! Lexi tells the story of our mutual friend, Helen Driggs, cutting a nice ‘V’ shape into one of her fingers using these puppies.

Their original intent was for use in the kitchen. They are sharp enough to cut through chicken bones, which is why you have to be extremely careful when you use them. Respect the edge, they have one!

So what the heck are these doing in my metalsmith tool arsenal? Well, they are wonderful for precision cutting. My primary use for them is to cut my bezel strips or solder sheets. They work great for taking little nips of what you need. I absolutely love them for cutting a thin 1mm or less slice from your bezel strips. You know, when you just have to remove a ‘frog’s hair’ as you fit a bezel around a stone, these are my go to tool for being able to cut thin, precise lines.

You can find these at your local kitchen specialty stores, Bed Bath & Beyond if you have one in your area, or online at a wide variety of places.  My Google searches usually turn up results in the Amazon Marketplace Shops.

I only have one pair, but there are times when I can definitely see the advantage of having at least 2 in my studio.  One at my bench, one at my soldering station.  They come in several colors besides the red shown here, which I like.  They offer these in white, yellow and blue too.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

If you are looking for a strong, sharp pair of scissors for your metalsmithing studio, I think you will find the Joyce Chen Scissors are great.  Just remember, keep your fingers out of the way…especially the fleshy parts and make sure you are paying close attention as you cut with these.  They will remind you if you are not paying attention!  Fortunately, mine have been very kind to me.

And if you are thinking of using them for their intended purpose in the kitchen, well, just buy a pair specifically for kitchen use.  Once a tool has found a home in my studio, it never ever comes back into my kitchen…that whole cross contamination of food thing!  Just don’t do it; don’t risk your health or that of your family and friends.  No metal/chemicals in my kitchen and no food in my studio.  Safety first!

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

NewGrowthNew Growth

Earrings from my Soul Searching series, these represent my new growth as a metalsmith.

Lots of different techniques here.  My first venture into Keum Boo. Keum Boo is a seriously cool technique that involves bonding very thin, 24 kt gold, to the surface of your metal.  The link I’ve given is to Wikipedia’s explanation and I think they’ve provided a good description of Keum Boo.

I kept the design pretty simple again.  I’m using Sterling Silver for the background and the ear wires.  The texture I created on the sterling was done with the use of my Pepe rolling mill and a piece of fabric.  I am so into creating textures on metal.  Looking at mesh for screen, lamp shades, artificial flowers, well…I look for pieces I can use to texture metal just about anywhere!

Once I had the texture in place, then I filed the edges so they would be smooth.  I added a line to represent the branch for the leaves.  The lines were created with a very tiny diamond coated bit and my new Foredom.

The sterling needs to be annealed several times to bring the pure silver to the surface.  This provides the adhesion layer necessary for the Keum Boo to bond completely.

Time for the placement of the leaves, which are the Keum Boo part of these.  I traced the leaf design on the paper to use as a guide for cutting them.  Using my Joyce Chen Scissors, I was able to cut out these very small leaves.  If you have need for an ultra sharp pair of scissors, get some Joyce Chens.  They will cut chicken bones and you have to be VERY careful when you use them as they don’t distinguish between bone, fingers, or metal.  I can’t speak from personal experience on the injury front, but I have been instructed to be careful with them (thanks Lexi 🙂 ) and I want to pass that information on to anyone who hasn’t used them.

Now we’re ready to bond the leaves to the surface.  Truly an interesting process.  Lexi is demonstrating how this is done and I’m watching, completely fascinated.  Now it’s my turn.  Wow.  She has one of those glass cook tops and that was our surface for heating the metal and then using a burnisher to gently rub the Keum Boo as it’s bonding to the surface of the silver.  Who would have thought!  Of course, as with anything, there is more than one way to do this.  I just never expected to put metal on a stove top and that would bond two layers of metal together!

Once the bonding is complete, we decided to add a patina to really have the gold stand out.  Well, after all, it is gold and no matter how small, one should be able to see it.

Another technique Lexi showed me was how to create those cute little balls on the end of the ear wires.  I did have fun doing this on my own and will be incorporating this into more of my work.  I added patina to the ear wires (also sterling silver) so they would match the earrings.

Ever since my Creative Block break through, I have been literally consumed with trying new things and variations on techniques I already know.  Metalwork is truly fascinating to me.  These earrings do symbolize my New Growth as a metalwork artist.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an Artist and a Person.

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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