Sunday, April 29, 2012

A day in Shao-Pin's studio...

I had the great pleasure of attending Shao-Pin Chu's lathing workshop in his beautiful downtown studio and couldn't help but share a couple of snapshots of his workspace. For an artist, designer and overall cool guy who makes furniture, hardware, and jewelry, his studio is immaculate without any metal filings or wax shavings in sight. Well, until we made a mess throughout the day.
Check out his awesome anvil. It was the biggest I've seen and I have been looking for a big one like this but it seems like the biggest size I can find is 20lbs. I need to make a friend with a welder...
I hope Shao never sees where I do my work, which is my small shoebox apartment because my files are never lined up like his and I am definitely not as clean and organized as he is. Hey, at least I get my work done ;)
We played around with the lathe machines all day, practicing on a roll of jeweler's wax. I never knew a machine could do so much. I don't know if I can ever handfile a wax carving again knowing how intricate I can make my designs with a lathe. I also don't have 900$ to splurge on a lathe at the moment. So I'm holding that thought, and possibly scouting out Kijiji and Craigslist on a daily basis.
Lastly we learned how to taper a brass rod, which inspired me to use this concept in make spikes for my jewelry. I've thought about incorporating cones and spikes components in my jewelry design but I didn't want to buy low quality plated ones in bulk from Asia and charge my customers for a ridiculous marked up price. Sure they're cheap, but I wanted to make these components that had a nice solid weight to them in brass, silver or stainless steel. A lathe might just do the job.
This picture is a snapshot of Shao's gems. He builds his own showcases as well. Talk about talented and self-sufficient.

Thanks Shao for teaching us today and I look forward to learning more~

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