Sunday, May 20, 2012

Steel Wire Soldering with Brenda Schweder, Joann Haas and Kat

So today I went to the home of Brenda Schweder ( to learn how to solder. Brenda is a wonderful jewelry artist and the author of three books, the latest being Steel Wire Jewelry.   Brenda and I met at Valley Ridge Art Studio and have been friends since.

This is the second time I have been taught simple soldering but I believe at this point the soldering is fine and I am the one who is simple.  However, I must admit that the more art venues I attend and the more workshops I take, the more I realize how slow a learner I am.  But, you know what?  I don't particularly care.  The last thing I want to do is put any pressure on myself in this world of my hobbies.  The priority here is to learn and to have fun.  Today was not a disappointment.

It was as beautiful and warm day in the Milwaukee area and a glorious day to take a drive out to the wilds of Waukesha to find Castle Schweder.

This was my first visit to Brenda's house but I had a vision of what it would look like.  I was not disappointed.  The house sits on a beautifully landscaped wooded lot.  Amongst the flowers, Brenda has placed some intriguing yard art that draws the eye without ruining the overall atmosphere of the landscape.  Inside the house it is a designer's delight.

But the real jaw-dropping experience is when you walk into Brenda's lower level studio space.

If it was not for the roomy workbenches, the bright lights and all the tools, it would be the plethora of goodies scattered all over the room.

For a bright and shiny object guy like me, it took my sense awhile to settle down.  The purpose for being here today was to be a guinea pig for Brenda and Joann's upcoming class at the Milwaukee Bead and Button show called Steel Soldering for the Flame-o-Phobe.  They were ably assisted by Brenda's workshop assistant Kat.

Joann demoed the basics and away we went.  Because I am blind as a bat and unused to working with such small stuff (aka:  little flakes of solder the size of a bee's knees), it took me the whole three hours to get one bangle of steel wire to stick together.

In the interim, I was entertained by the generous behaviors of everyone else in the room, each a talented artist and long time friend of each other.

This is what I really like about art workshops--the networking.  I went home today feeling like I can learn to solder.  I also went home hoping Brenda will invite me back sometime to enjoy the camaraderie that can only take place in as unique a place as an artist's workshop in a field of flowers.  Here is what some of the other participants managed to do in three hours:

Thanks to Joann, Brenda and Kat for an unrivaled great day.

1 comment:

  1. Any time you need another gunie pig to go to another of these classes, I'd be happy to volunteer. Glad you're learning new stuff.