It’s Always Exciting at PVCC!

What a marvelous time we had at Peter’s Valley Craft Center with my Cold Connections for Stone Setting workshop. The participants of this recent workshop were simply one of the most talented bunch of students I have had the privilege to share skills and information with since last year at PVCC. What was most remarkable was that they all were students in one college metals program or another! It was thrilling to not have to teach basic sawing or riveting skills. We jumped right into the material (physical, technical, and conceptual). The speed at which the class moved through the processes and techniques was a marvel to see. I was able to use my educational techniques of “meta-cognition” to gauge how well each “lesson plan” was “scaffolding” new information and skill building practices onto existing knowledge. (Go M.Ed!) Here are May’s practice turtle & Volcano settlings.



Using the dividers and brass slide gauge we started with the layout of turtle settings for cabochons and quickly grasped bent finger and raising internal prongs from a plate variations. I was delighted to have assembled for this class an extensive collection of technique samples. Many of my samples illustrated the creative divergence of application available with these skills.

What is always fun in this community of metal-smiths is to see so many options for executing basic techniques. Like a rivet for example: Should it be cut first and flared only once it is in the hole? -or- is it easier to flare one end of a wire and use that “nail head” to hold the rivet in place while threading through multiple panels? What are the best tool options? There were plenty of ball-peen chasing hammers available, yet everyone wanted to use my sweet, little, Fretz riveting hammer (even naming it “baby,” more than once the call went up- “where is baby”). What can I say (and I am not getting a penny for it), but when you find a tool that is not only beautiful to look at and is also wonderful to hold and work with – it’s a sexy thing!

ricks to flare tube rivets helped keep many alternative materials safe from harm.
Thank you, Mara for this lovely brooch with anodized niobium domes/cabs.



I have already gotten half a dozen compliments on it!

I have to say it warmed the cockles of my heart to see so many notes being taken (every-time I opened my mouth) and sketches of ideas before diving in. Teaching at the high school level this last year I nearly despaired of ever seeing these creative tools being employed by students so devotedly. Bravo! Ladies, Bravo! Your photo documentation of demos also gave me the brilliant idea of allowing photos from smart phones as an option for my high school student to document my demonstrations. If the photos are good I could then post them to my teacher page on the schools website for other students to see. 

The excitement started with a major thunderstorm hitting PVCC at lunchtime on Monday. It was so bad it downed 4 trees, blocking the road to Thunder Mountain Metals Studio. The rain soaked us all to our skin as we dashed to our lodgings. As the storm continued to pound the campus, electricity was lost at several buildings. The faculty house was still with power, so, I invited all my workshop attendees to come stay with me for a kid-style, camp sleep-over. We all got settled in when the power went out in the faculty house too! Undaunted we sat out on the huge covered porch and talked of metalsmithing, our kids, and our boyfriends/husbands. Power was restored within an hour and we continued to laugh and talk well into the night. 

With the morning the sun was shinning and the road to the metals studio cleared we did our best to finish up, clean up and say our goodbyes.


Here is the lovely Gina wearing her sandwich setting.



And a blurry shot of Mandy’s sandwich setting samples. Because of all the excitement I did not get to take as many pictures of everyones sample projects as I wanted. So, Ladies, please if you have photos post them to your FaceBook page and tag me on them! Come on Kris, Brienne, Heather and Laura I know you did some beautiful stuff – Please share it with me!

Thanks to everyone at Peter’s Valley for a wonderful workshop!

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