Cuttlebone casting is one of the oldest jewelry casting methods. It is quick and fairly accurate, its main limitations being the size of the item to be cast. However it is perfect for casting at a jewelry scale and produces a wonderful unique texture that is a favorite among jewelers and jewelry lovers alike.
Cuttlebone comes from a squid-like mollusk known as a cuttlefish. The cuttlefish has a chalky internal shell with a hard, thin crust surrounding a soft internal shell.Because the cuttlebone’s soft interior can be easily carved and withstand high temperatures make it perfect as a mold making material. These days cuttlebone can commonly be found in pet stores for parakeets and parrots as a bill sharpener.
The cuttlebone can be found on beaches after sea storms and the technique has been used in Mediterranean countries for centuries and was using in mass produced jewelry up until the 1950’s. These days the majority of cast jewelry is done by centrifugal casting which is faster and cheaper than cuttlebone for mass production. However it is still a favorite method among artists because of the unique texture that the cuttlebone produces on the metal and the spontaneity of the technique.
This texture is created naturally by the cuttlebone. It is reminiscent of ocean waves, shifting sands, and topographical maps. It can be uses as a small design element or the focal point of the piece. Learning to cast cuttlebone isn’t too hard and if you wanted to do it in your own studio the casting set up is much cheaper and easier than with lost wax casting. Jennifer Stenhouse will be teaching Cuttlefish Bone Casting: Beyond Texture with us Sunday, August 13th where she will give some tricks and tips that can extend the versatility of your cuttlebone designs. Come play with us and learn all about this wonderful technique:
Class Details: Cuttlefish Bone Casting:Beyond Texture
August 13, Sunday, 10:00-5:00
Class Fee: $145| Basic materials included
To register give us a call at 206-524-0916 or stop by our studio at 5919 University Way NE, Seattle 98105
Summer is here and before you get too busy making vacation plans don’t forget to schedule some summer classes too. Play for a day in a one day “quickie” or spend a whole week in an immersion class. We also have kid jewelry camps too! Here is what is coming up in July but check out our full schedule online here
Featured Classes in July:
Jewelry Summer Camp for Kids 8-12
July 17-21, Monday-Friday, 9:00am-2:00pm,
Class Fee: $300
Looking for a fun and artistic activity for your 3rd-6th grader this summer? Have them come spend a week making jewelry with us. These week long camps teach cool jewelry making techniques such as bead making, creative wire-working, metal texturing, stamping, and basic riveting! No experience necessary and return students welcome.
Total Immersion: Beginning Jewelry Making
July 24-28, Monday-Friday, 10:00-5:00
Class Fee: $595|Basic materials included
Come spend a week taking a jewelry vacation! This class is all three of our beginning series workshops rolled into one. Each day you’ll go home dreaming about what to create the next day. Absolutely no experience needed.
One Day “Quickie” Classes:
Kiln Fire Enameling Basics I
July 8, Saturday, 10:30-5:00pm
Class Fee: $145|Basic materials included
Get a taste for the timeless beauty of colored glass on metal. Students will learn how to properly apply richly colored opaque enamels onto flat and domed sheet metal by both sifting and wet-laying. No experience necessary.
July 9, Sunday 10:00-4:00pm
Class Fee: $95|Basic materials included
Whether you’ve had a soldering class, attempted to learn from a book, or never even tried, if you are looking to learn how to silver-solder or just get better at it, this class is for you. Expect lots of hands-on time at the soldering table and practice with different torches. No experience necessary.
Summer Don’t Miss Classes:
Low Tech Gravity Casting
July 12, 19, 26, Wed Evening, 6:30-9:00pm
Class Fee:$295|Basic materials included
Learn the fundamentals of casting by exploring the ancient technique of pouring molten metal directly into molds carved or formed from sand, soft stone, and other surprising materials. This process does not require any major equipment so it is easily reproduced in a home studio or in your back yard! No experience necessary.
Fantastic Fold Forming!
July 22-23, Saturday and Sunday, 10:30-5:00
Class Fee:$265|Basic materials included
Fold forming is an exciting technique wherein sheet metal is manipulated and hammered to create fabulously textured, 3-dimensional, organic forms. This is a quick porcess, so students will have the opportunity to create a variety of basic forms in this quick workshop. All levels.
Bronze Precious Metal Clay Basics
July 29-30, Saturday, 10:00-4:00pm
Class Fee: $95|Materials kit $30 payed to instructor
Striking jewelry can be made easily and inexpensively with Bronze Precious Metal Clay, bronze clay that when fired in a kiln results in pure metal! This workshop will focus on the basics of working with PMC Bronze however students might also explore components for earring and pendants. No experience necessary however intermediate level students encouraged.
Summer is here and so is the new summer schedule at Danaca Design! We’ve got a full spectrum of classes on the schedule this summer with something for beginners to more advanced students. You can even turn your kids on to metal in our Jewelry Summer Camp for Kids (July 18-22, 9-2)! Here are just a few highlights on our summer schedule but stop by our website to find out more details on all of our classes: www.danacadesign.com
Real beginners might consider learning to make a Basic Band Ring (July 9, 10-4) or Rivets (August 20, 10-4). Or if you really want to dive in spend a week learning the fundamentals of metalsmithing in our Total Immersion: Beginning Jewelry Making class:
Total Immersion: Beginning Jewelry Making (July 11-15, 10:30-5)
The Total Immersion: Beginning Jewelry Making is the equivalent to taking all three of our Beginning Jewelry Making series workshops. Learn the fundamentals of working with precious metal: sawing, disc cutting and dapping, hammer texturing, roll printing, basic forming and finishing, as well as bezel setting stones. In this beginning silversmithing class students will make individualized jewelry pieces including a pin, pendent, ring and a simple linked project. Each night you’ll go home dreaming of what to create the next day, designing in your sleep. This class is an ideal opportunity to explore a range of techniques, in a condensed time, while creating several projects.
Beginning and Intermediate Classes
Beginning and intermediate students can pick-up new skills like Gravity Casting (August 3 & 10, 6:30-9), Anticlastic Forming (July 29-31, 10:30-5), Filigree (September 18-19, 10:30-5) or Chasing and Repousse with Nancy Megan Corwin (August 5-7, 10-5). Or explore new processes such as:
Cynthia Toops’ Seven Bead Bracelet (September 24-25, 10:00-5)
Explore the wide variety of possibilities in polymer clay for jewelry while focusing on seven unusual beads for a comprehensive sampler bracelet. In this intensive weekend workshop students will investigate various bead shapes, explore hollow and foil cores, surface decoration with simple and complex canes, as well as carving, drawing, onlay, mokumegane and mosaic work. Cynthia is masterful with polymer clay, bringing a creative edge to everything she does.
Charles Lewton Brain’s Patination of Metals workshop (Aug 26, 9-5)
Patina is the final touch, the icing on the cake, the surface that sets one apart from the crowd; it can add both depth and texture transforming our metal, often unpredictably, into an unimaginably beautiful thing. On metal, patina refers to a thin coating of various chemical compounds such as oxides or sulfates formed on the surface during exposure to atmospheric elements, a common example is rust or the warm brown color of the penny in your pocket. Charles will present safe, easy patination methods for metals that involve easily obtainable (think kitchen chemicals) to produce a wide range of blues, greens, browns, blacks, greys and reddish tones on most metals including precious. Application methods and control of pattern and surface will be described and addressed as a compositional system.
Experienced students can build skills in Stacking Rings with Gemstones (July 23, 10-4), Unique Settings for Stones and Found Objects (September 10-11, 10-5), Advanced Wax Working (September 21,28, October 5,12,19, November 2, 6:30-9:30) or try your hand at enameling on steel:
Enameling Recycled Steel (July 16-17, 9-2) with Melissa Cameron.
Are there bits of magnetic metal in your studio that you’ve tucked away, swearing that one day you’ll clean them up to make a masterpiece? Enameling is a great way to protect jewelry made from mild steel and is so easy to master. Bring your rusty recycled bits and bobs to Danaca Design in Seattle to learn the skills to turn these into beautiful and unique jewels. Some jewelry making and enameling experience helpful.
For full class descriptions, prices, and material lists visit our website: www.danacadesign.com
To register give us a call at 206-524-0916 or stop by our location at
5619 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
July 18 – 22, Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 2:00pm
Class Fee: $300 | Materials included
School is just getting out but are you still looking for things for the kids to do this summer vacation? Sign them up for our Kids Jewelry Summer Camp!
Created for kids 8-12 this week long camp teaches a variety of jewelry making techniques such as wire working, texturing, stamping, bead making, and riveting metal.
Last year it was really fun to watch the kids explore a variety of jewelry techniques. They were so proud to make there own jewelry to take home each day. One of the favorite activities what learning how to use the hydraulic press to “puff” metal into a variety of shapes.
The class is taught by local jewelry artist Tegan Wallace. Tegan has been teaching jewelry making at the elementary and middle school level for several years. Not only are the kiddos going to be learning a variety of jewelry skills but Tegan will also explore the fundamentals of composition and color theory. A variety of materials will be used from Shrinky Dinks, polymer clay, and seed beads to brass & copper wire and sheet metal. Simple hand tools will be explored such as hammers, texture stamps, pliers, and more.
All supplies and materials are included in this camp and each day the kids will create a variety of jewelry that they can wear proudly or give as gifts to family and friends. Jewelry making is also a great way for the younger kids to build hand-eye coordination and dexterity that doesn’t involve a video game.
Want to register? Give us a call at 206-524-0916 to register by phone or stop by our studio at 5619 University Way Ne, Seattle, WA We are open Monday – Friday: 11-6 and Saturday: 10-6
Want to learn more about our studio? Check out our website www.danacadesign.com
Did you know that Danaca Design Studio has a scholarship?
We are pleased to continue funding the Jewelry Art Stimulus Scholarship. We award several scholarships to high school and college students each year valued between $95 and $500 to be used towards a class or intensive series at Danaca Design Studio.
This scholarship was created to provide young students access to experience the magic of metal arts, frequently unavailable otherwise. We award this scholarship four times a year and the next deadline is coming up September 1st
Our most recent scholarship recipient, Michael Joers, just finished his class in our studio and here is what he had to say about his experience:
“Receiving a scholarship from Danaca Design Studio has led to one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. The application process was very straightforward. Nancy was very quick with her responses and helped me get into the right class for my ambitions. I was lucky enough to be awarded the Total Immersion Class. I have been making wood and wire jewelry on my own for about two years, but have not had the education or resources to work with metal in this capacity. I learned so much more than I could have expected from this week-long intensive class. My nine other classmates and I learned soldering, sawing, cutting, texturing, dapping, chain making, bezel setting stones, how to make band and shank rings, antiquing silver, how to make clasps for necklaces and bracelets, annealing, drilling, polishing, and how to make shepherds hook earrings. I really enjoyed that the class was taught in a less formal way, it made for a more relaxed and inviting environment. Dana was great to work with as she always made time to answer questions and problem solve with me when I got stuck on something. The amount I learned has greatly raised the bar on what I am able to create and has allowed me to get that much closer to my goals as a jewelry maker. This experience has been truly invaluable to me, and I look forward to taking another class at Danaca Design Studio!”
Thanks Michael! You made some great jewelry and we look forward to seeing your how your work continues to grow in the future.
Do you know a young person who would benefit from this opportunity? Are you a student ages 16-24 actively enrolled in a high school or post-secondary institution in Washington State? We are taking applications now!
Our next deadline is September 1st. You can find an application here by clicking this link. Print and fill out hard copy and mail to:Attention: Scholarship Committee Danaca Design 5619 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105 For complete information about scholorship and eligibility go to our website www.danacadesign.com
Can’t commit to a multi day class or workshop? Well in August we have several one day classes available. All the fun of our weekend classes just quicker! For more information about our other classes currently being offered go to www.danacadesign.com for a complete listing.
Low Tech Enameling
Instructor: Allan Thorne
August 7, Friday, 10:00 – 1:00
Using a torch and a few simple tools, students will learn the basics of enameling in this exciting three-hour workshop. Students will explore the potential of this fascinating medium, sample a variety of colors, and work with both flat and three-dimensional forms. This is a great opportunity to learn how to add vibrant color to your copper and fine silver jewelry. Moderate comfort level with a jeweler’s torch is helpful.
Instructor: Jessie Wylie
August 8, Saturday, 9:30-3:30
See an image or pattern come to life in brass and copper through the acid etching process! This technique is excellent for creating exclusive textures on copper and brass sheet which can be cut and incorporated into jewelry, enameled or used as rolling mill templates to emboss precious metals and even paper. Patterns can be hand drawn directly on the sheet metal or photo transferred. Physical properties of different acids and metals, resist techniques and studio safety will be explored. The end result will yield several etched plates for use in future jewelry/design projects! Follow up this workshop with Enameling Basics II, our beginning transparent enamels class. This workshop is appropriate for beginners, however experienced jewelry artists may find it very exciting as well.
Kiln Fire Enameling Basics II
Instructor: Linnie Kendrick
August 9, Sunday, 10:30-5:00
Refine your basic enameling skills and explore exciting new possibilities by adding transparent enamels, special effects with glass shards and beads, and rubber stamp images to your palette. More thoroughly investigate how firing time and temperature affect final results and discover the quick beauty of liquid enamels. Designed to give students more tools and confidence with the process, part two of our Enameling Basics Series is not to be missed. Students are encouraged to bring their own pre-cut copper shapes, stencils, rubber stamps, and lead free enamels to experiment with in class. Take the etching class the day before and come prepared with shapes cut from your etched copper sheets. Prerequisite: Kiln Fire Enameling Basics I or equivalent.
Basic Band Ring
Instructor: Dana Cassara
August 15, Saturday, 10:00 – 4:00
The construction of a basic band ring is simple yet challenging. The ring must fit, be comfortable and of course beautiful! This quick ring class will focus on the construction of a basic fabricated band ring. We will cover measuring, cutting, chasing and embossing for texture, as well as basic soldering and some forming techniques. Each student will leave class with a simple yet well-made and lovely ring to show off. No experience necessary.
Stacking Rings with Gemstones
Instructor: Dana Cassara
August 16, Sunday, 10:00-5:00
Stacking rings are all the rage. They are fun to mix and match and super easy to make! This class will focus on creating your own delicate stacking rings with sparkling gemstones. Students will learn to size and solder the bands, create and add a simple but very functional tube setting for a round faceted stone, and set the stones! Everyone will make several rings gaining them the opportunity to practice the process and leave with a finger full of beautiful rings made from brass, sterling silver and gold fill. Very basic metal working skills required.
Image Transfer on Polymer
Instructor: Sarah Wilbanks
August 29, Saturday, 9:30-3:30
If you are interested in incorporating photographs, texture or color into your work, image transfers on polymer clay is a fun and easy solution with infinite possibilities. Creating clear photographic transfers as well as altering the images to conjure unusual textures and rich color will be demonstrated. Ideas for incorporating surface embellishments will also be introduced along with a variety of ways to use transfers in your work including cutting, setting and different options for protecting the surface. This class will cover primarily one type of transfer using a transfer paper and Sculpey Premo. Other techniques will be discussed and time permitting students will have the option to try other systems. We will also discuss the equipment needed should you choose to pursue this simple and affordable method in your home studio. A basic understanding of working with polymer clay is helpful.
Cuttlefish Bone Casting: Beyond Texture
Instructor: Jennifer Stenhouse
August 30, Sunday, 10:30 – 5:00
Cuttlefish bone casting is an ancient means of creating a cast object. If you have tried it before you might be surprised by the versatility that is possible with a few good tricks. Create rings with stone settings, findings, and finished work without all the equipment needed for lost wax casting. Its low cost and convenience make it great for the small studio and those on a budget. It is fun, fast and affordable! Until the invention of vulcanized rubber for lost wax, the expert carving of cuttlebone was an excellent way to reproduce designs. Participants will discover the immediacy of casting with cuttlefish bone, the texture it can create, and how to use it to create multiples by making simple models. Demonstrations will include how to create a multiple part mold for the 3-dimensional casting of a ring with a stone setting, links, and an ingot mold for blanks as well as prong, bezel, and tube stone settings. Students may bring any sterling silver scrap to recycle by casting. All levels.
To register for these or any of our other classes either stop by our location or call us at 206-524-0916
July 31st – August 2nd, Friday-Saturday, 10:30-5pm Bill Dawson will be teaching Anticlastic Forming. This class is only offered once a year and is a very valuable technique to learn for the unique and beautiful forms it can create. Don’t miss out!
So what is anticlastic forming?
A synclastic form is one where the dominant curves move in the same direction and an anticlastic form is one where the dominant curves move in the opposite directions. So a bowl would be an example of a synclastic form and a saddle would be an example of an anticlastic form.
In anticlastic forming a flat sheet of metal is shaped by compressing its edges and stretching the center so that the surface develops two curves at right angles to each other like a horse saddle.
Creating anticlastic forms in metal is also called anticlastic raising. Raising is a technique that by hammering sheet metal over stakes you are able to create forms without thinning the metal. One of the advantages of this is that you can create a lot of structure out of very thin gauges of metal. The finished shape is very flexible and springy so that often (as with bracelets or neck pieces) no clasps or findings are needed – just pull to open, slip on, and it springs back to shape.
Anticlastic forms aren’t just for bracelets. They can be made at almost any scale creating beautiful earrings, brooches…whatever your imagination comes up with! In this class we will focus on “open”, or “mono-shell” forms made from single pieces of thin sheet metal, working to create striking dimensional shapes. Decking these forms will be shown in class to demonstrate how decking can expand the range of forms available to incorporate into your designs.
To find out more about this and the rest of our classes visit us at www.danacadesign.com
Or to register for class call us at 206-524-0916 or visit our location 5619 University Way NE, Seattle Washington
Next week (July 13-17th, Monday – Friday, 10:30am – 5pm) is our Total Immersion workshop. It is a week long summer camp for adults!
During the year we offer a beginning workshop series: three weekend long workshops that teach the basics of jewelry making such as hollow construction, rings, bezel setting stones, creating chain, and much more. The Total Immersion workshop is all three of these classes in one. Haven’t taken one of our classes before? Don’t worry no previous experience is necessary.
In this class you will learn the fundamentals of learning to work with precious metal: sawing, disc cutting and dapping, hammer texturing, roll printing, basic forming and finishing, as well as bezel setting stones. Students will make individualized jewelry pieces including a pin, pendent, ring and a simple linked project. Each night you’ll go home dreaming of what to create the next day, designing in your sleep. This class is an ideal opportunity to explore a range of techniques, in a condensed time, while creating several projects. We hope to see you in class!
For more information about this and all our other summer classes go to www.danacadesign.com
We are excited to have Casey Sheppard join us July 25th and 26th to teach the Nomadic Cold Connections class. In the class you will learn more about cold connections and make a hinged bracelet with a clasp all without ever picking up a torch. What makes it “Nomadic” well Casey is currently touring the US by bike as a way to connect communities as part of her project Case of the Nomads and bringing her traveling metalsmithing studio with her…how cool is that!
How long have you been making jewelry and what got you started?
Around 2005 I started playing with beadwork and making jewelry for fun. I had funky short hair at the time, sometimes a Mohawk and loved wearing super big long loud earrings. But I found that all the jewelry in stores bored me or wasn’t unique, so I started to make my own. It wasn’t until I wanted to expand into metal that I dove all in. I got a cold connection book, bought the suggested tools listed in the back and finished all the projects. That was my introduction to metal jewelry and the beginning of my addiction.
What is your background? Is it in art or something else?
I come from an artist family. My great grandfather and grandmother are/were writers, my mother has a strong skill in mosaics and sewing, father is a retired art teacher and my brother is truly the most amazing artist I’ve ever seen. Even though I grew up submerged in art my first passions were fashion and tools (grandfather owned a lumberyard most of my life), that’s why jewelry is a perfect fit for me!
You are teaching a class for us called Nomadic Cold Connections, aside from the skills outlined in your class, what do you hope to bring to your students?
Connecting. I hope to connect with the students through stories and life experiences while creating. Bonding with others and sharing each other’s stories adds so much to our lives. I also look forward to what the students will be teaching me. Ahhhh community!!
You have an interesting project going on this year as a way to connect communities. Can you tell us a bit about this project and how you plan to connect communities through art?
Yeah!! For 1 year I will live/work on the road out of a converted Ford Transit Connect aka Jones with my adventure dog India, mountain bike Skidmark and metal working tools. My goal is to connect with art and bike communities. I will be teaching workshops, visiting with artists, having trunk shows, volunteering, bike racing, riding with different cycling communities and much more. Once I’ve gotten my hands dirty in these communities I will be writing about them in a weekly blog, this will help to connect and share my experiences with others.
How many other cities are you planning of traveling to as part of this project?
Oh man, cities….well, as of now I have almost the entire first 6 months booked with about 30 cities I’ll be stopping at, this also includes parts of Canada and a few really cool Islands!! I can’t wait!!
Any advice for others on how to start a community based art project?
Advice? Well, stick to your guns but be open to ideas. Everyone has an opinion but try to remember why and who you are doing this project for. Try not to overcommitte yourself, ask others what you can do to help or ask them for help ( worse thing they say is NO) and always always remember to be grateful and say thank you, it’s amazing how much of an impact a simple thank you note will do!!!
Do you have a personal website related to your work or your teaching that we can share?
Thanks Casey! We look forward to meeting you this July and can’t wait to see that traveling studio of yours.
If you would like to register for this or any other class at Danaca Design you can call us at 206-524-0916 or stop by 5619 University Way NE, Seattle WA 11am-6pm Monday-Friday and 10am-6pm on Sundays
Danaca Design’s Metal Crafting Center is a jewelry and small-scale metal working studio located in the University District of Seattle. We offer classes for individuals seeking to gain skills in the art of decorative metal working and jewelry design. We house a small store-front gallery featuring local artists, both professional and amateur, as well as a limited selection of tools. Several times per year we host open-house events with a particular focus on new exhibits and or exhibitors. All students of the Metal Crafting Center are encouraged to exhibit their successes in the gallery, as space is always reserved for them!
Kicking off the summer class schedule at Danaca Design is Gravity Casting July 11 & 12, 10:30am – 5:00pm. This class is only offered once a year and features, among other things, sand casting and tufa stone casting. Gravity Casting is a great way to learn metal casting with out a huge set up like lost wax casting and is a great class to use up any scrap silver you might have laying around.
Gravity Casting is a permanent casting method where metal is heated until it is molten and then poured into a mold. The molds can be made of many materials such as metal, sand, tufa stone, and cuttle bone. In jewelry making the most frequent mold materials are sand casting, tufa stone, and cuttle bone.
Learning to cast isn’t just about making jewelry components. By knowing how to cast you can alloy your own metals; for instance creating sterling silver out of fine silver casting grains or pouring ingots. An ingot is a block of metal typically oblong in shape. Ingots can be rolled out in a rolling mill (creating sheet or wire) or can be forged. Pouring ingots is a great way to use up small bits of metal scrap and shavings getting the most out of your precious metals.
Sand casting is a metal casting process where sand is used as the mold material. Jewelers and industry uses the sand casting process and it is the most commonly used method in industrial casting. The basic process is that a pattern is made in the sand and then molten metal is pored into this recess. Once cooled the casting resembles the pattern made in the sand.
Tufa Stone Casting
The Spanish coming to New Mexico and Arizona is what brought the tradition of silversmithing to the American South West. They taught the Navajo and Pueblo people how to cast molten silver to create jewelry and other items. The mold material that they used was tufa stone. Tufa stone is a soft and porous volcanic stone that can be found in many parts of the world including the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Tufa stone can be easily carved and withstand high heat making it an excellent mold making material.
Have we got you interested in sand casting yet? Come check out this class and all classes on the summer schedule at Danaca Design by clicking right HERE!