Metalsmithing summary

Here are the things I learned to make this Spring and Summer. Bear in mind that some of these are just learning exercises. And yes, that is a Sea Monkey. It was an exercise in using a jeweler’s saw. I think he is very fetching. 

Techniques? Simple soldering/braze welding, bezel setting, making jump rings and chains, sawing metal, basic finishing/filing/sanding/polishing, very simple metal forming. 
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Last week, I started a new class that is very technique driven. We had a demo about etching, selected a design and cut out a hunk of metal to put it on. This week, we did the actual etching and learned how to form a simple metal bead. That involved cutting circles out of copper, beating it with a hammer into a hollow form, sanding until the two sides of the bead are totally level and then soldering them together. 

The two pieces came out like this:

I am not the most confident woman with a torch for obvious reasons. Having a history of having been on fire makes me a little nervous about it, but it is kind of magical to use fire to stick pieces of metal together!  Plus, if I want to make more beads then I have to get over it. 

Current status: unreasonably giddy about making a silly little copper bead. And an etching. And a chain. And bracelets. And a ring. And a Sea Monkey. 
Have YOU ever made a copper Sea Monkey? Have you? No. I thought not. 

Do you get me?

And I wanna be addicted
I wanna be secure
I wanna wake up after the night before
But do you get me?
Do you ever get me?
–Everything But The Girl/Get Me


Do you get me?

It’s a play on words. Do you understand someone, or do you have them in some way?

You can understand someone on a lot of different levels–sexually, emotionally, intellectually. You can have someone in different ways. You can get them into bed, have them as a friend, or get them to fall in love with you and have them as everything.

Does one follow the other?

Can you really ever have someone who you do not fully understand, or are you just loving an invention?

I suppose it could be different for everyone, but I suspect that most of us want to be with someone who understands us. Not that they have to be just like us, but most of us seem to crave understanding.

I do, anyway.

In order to get me, you would definitely have to get me.


Choosing who to become

So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.
— S.Chbosky/The Perks of Being A Wallflower. 

They’ll hurt you and desert you,
They’ll take your soul if you let them,
Oh yeah, but don’t you let them.
–J. Taylor/You’ve Got A Friend

One of the things I have really wondered  about over the last few years is how much control we have over who we become. There are a lot of things in life that are entirely out of our control. Maybe most things. Where we are born and raised. Who raises us. A loving or abusive upbringing. 

A lot of the things we don’t have any control over have a huge impact in how we turn out. Does someone teach us to control our impulses? Does anyone read with us? Does someone teach us manners?

Then there is a certain core part of us that is us. The self, whatever that means. Two people with the same upbringing can turn out very differently. There are elements of the personality that we seem to be born with. 

Eventually, we grow older and reach a point where we do have more control. We have choices. 

Maybe our core self doesn’t change. Overall, I think our personality traits are often born practically the second we are.  I have always been someone who ponders things. Some people are naturally spontaneous. Does that mean I can’t work on not overthinking everything or that I can’t be spontaneous? Of course not. We have a whole lot of choice about how we live, and even more choices when it comes to how we react to life. How we react to how people treat us, or to things that happen to us. 

Do we assume the worst or have faith?

Do we let ourselves be consumed with anger and hate or do we try to steer ourselves in a different direction and become someone  who reacts with empathy and compassion? That part, I am convinced, is a choice. Not always an easy one!

Here’s what I think:

It’s not about the answers. It’s about continuing to ask the questions. It’s about wondering if you like the person you are becoming every day. Asking what you can do to compensate for traits that you find less desirable. Trying things out. 

Never stop wondering. Never stop asking “what if…”

Never stop becoming who you want to be.  Accept that you will never be finished becoming you. 

Always be a work in progress.