Metalsmithing and what it entails are an enigma to most people. I know that before I began learning how to do it I had no idea how a piece of jewelry was made. Not a clue. Metalsmithing is not generally a craft that just anybody can pick up and love to do. It requires expensive equipment and room to use it in, extensive training and patience, patience, patience.
When I was in art school, it was required that every student take almost as many classes out of their concentration as in it. As a result, the first 2 levels of metalsmithing were filled with student artists that had a concentration other than metals (ceramics, printmaking, photography etc.) Some of them fell instantly in love with the craft (I did!) some of them hobbled through but most of them HATED it. The concepts behind successful metalsmithing can't be learned overnight. It requires real dedication because the only way to learn is through trial and error (lots and lots of errors). Oh and a little thing called, for lack of a better word "the knack". Someone can tell you how to solder ('glue' metal to metal) but you can only learn by practicing. I have been doing metals for 8 years now and am just now learning and mastering certain techniques. I'm hoping that in 20 years I'll be really good at metalsmithing but I'm sure I'll still be melting things and dropping small stones on the floor, never to be seen again...aaahhh!!!
Take a look at these 2 pictures of my bench. It is organized chaos but so is the rest of my house...this is where 'the magic is created'. My piece of heaven. Stay tuned for more pictures of new collections in the works and pictures of me metalsmithing. be sure to check out my website to see the finished process- Jewels!! http://www.nathaperkins.com/