It’s Hammering Time: Making Copper Bracelets

By Jessica Vedas, Marketing Intern

On November 19th , The 567 had its very first metal jewelry workshop. Michelle Foster, of Macon Beads, led the class in morphing a piece of copper sheeting into a stunning, unique bracelet. With a class size of about ten, each one of us were friendly and encouraging while Michelle explained the steps of making the cuff our own. We watched her demonstrate what needed to be done before setting off on our own.

The several steps in the process were interesting, and I had fun experimenting with a material I’d never used before. The first step involved bending our flat sheet of copper to create a crease that would become a central feature in the design we’d later be using. Next, we hammered the metal flat, and heated it with blow torches to alter the metal as well as release natural colors; around this time, we also added designs to the copper. One of the coolest (no pun intended!) things about this part of the process was the lava rocks on which everyone fired their copper. In case you hadn’t realized, lava rocks do not retain heat. It’s for this reason Michelle chose these special rocks to work with. After cooling, we went back to hammering, and then, if desired, tinting the bracelet.

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My favorite part of the semi-intensive process was one of the last steps: shaping the bracelet to your wrist. With a nifty tool to bend the bracelets, Michelle showed us how to properly shape our works, and even how to file the shape. Each bracelet made was unique and looked nothing like the next person’s, but by the end of the experience we all had something special that fit comfortably on our wrists.

To see more of Michelle’s work, follow her on Facebook at Macon Beads.