Fusing Powdered Metals to Steel
with Bette Barnett

Virtual  |  2 Day Workshop

Saturday - Sunday

July 16 - 17, 2022

10:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT daily

Sign up by June 1st for Early Bird Special!
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Class Description

There’s baby powder, powdered sugar and powdery snow. But did you know that metals also come in powdered form? It’s true, many metals are available commercially as powders, example copper, bronze, brass, silver, iron and aluminum. Some precious metals can be converted into a fine powder by grinding or filing. When these powdered metals are fused to steel, that’s when the magic happens. In this workshop, you’ll learn all about fusing metal powders to steel to create high-impact mixed metals steel jewelry.

Why Steel?

Steel has some big advantages for jewelry including its strength, malleability and light weight. In addition, steel has an extremely high melting temperature (2600ºF for mild steel) which means that other metals – brass, bronze, silver, copper and gold – can be fused to it without melting the base metal.

What You’ll Learn in This Workshop

Powdered metals take the fusing technique to a finer level by providing more control of the process and flexibility in the effects. In this techniques-focused workshop, we will explore the exciting world of fusing powdered gold and other metals to steel.

The workshop will be packed full of information, hands-on skill building and fun. You’ll learn to:

  • Work with mild steel sheet and wire. The basics of cutting, forming, texturing, soldering and polishing steel. (Note: This will be covered in pre-class recorded tutorials.)

  • Create metal filings/dust in preparation for fusing to steel. Create your own powdered gold using a flex shaft and grinding wheel.

  • Fuse gold and other powdered metals to steel and perforated steel. Fuse gold as well as commercially available powdered metals to steel, including bronze, copper and silver.

  • Patinate steel mixed metals jewelry. Learn how different patinas affect the metals and how to use those to create dramatic effects.

  • Seal your steel jewelry. Learn various methods to seal your steel jewelry to preserve and protect its beauty.

 

The class will consist of a mix of lecture, pre-recorded demo videos, class discussion and an assignment. During the workshop, you’ll have time to create at least two pieces of steel jewelry with fused metal powders. The demo videos and class recordings will be available for 30 days after the end of the class.

Skill Level

Students will need to have competent metal working skills, including cutting, sawing, filing, sanding and forming. In addition, students need to be comfortable using a jeweler’s torch (either a dual gas or an acetylene air). 

Bette Barnett

Since 2013 Bette Barnett has devoted her work to exploring and experimenting with steel and gold. Bette began her jewelry career in 2010 and subsequently studied with the late Chris Nelson through his advanced workshops in fusing gold to steel. Since then, Bette has perfected additional techniques and 4 processes for steel, including Keum Boo on steel, steel wire fused with gold, alternative alloys for fusing such as shibuichi and shakudo, etching steel, fusing powdered metals to steel and fusing gold to nontraditional mild steel forms, such as steel wire and perforated steel sheet.

In recognition of her work, the Santa Fe Symposium selected Bette to create a research paper on steel jewelry. The paper entitled “Steel Jewelry—Expanding the Horizons of Steel with Gold” was to have been presented at the May 2019 conference had it not been postponed due to the COVID quarantine. Bette has also published articles on steel and gold jewelry in Lapidary Journal: Jewelry Artist.

Bette teaches private lessons (both virtually and live) in her San Diego studio and offers virtual and in-person group lessons throughout the U.S. She also administers a Facebook Group — Steel Artists (facebook.com/groups/steeljewelry) which she maintains to foster a community of artists who work in steel. 

Artist Assistant

TBD