I came across these while going through the big pile of my jewelry paraphernalia: a sunflower charm (11×14mm), a heart charm (9×9mm) and a leaf charm (10×10mm).

I made these charms while I was in a metalsmithing class, circa 2003 I believe, at University City Arts League in West Philly. This was my first project for the class. I picked up a piece of red wax and sculpted the original models, which then my teacher Claire took to a metal casting place to have them cast in sterling. After I received the cast pieces, I had to re-shape, oxidize, polish and give them the finishing touch. I was particularly happy with the way the sunflower charm turned out, so I had a mold made along with a couple duplicates. I enjoyed working tiny corners of wax figures, and it was such a delightful sensation to see those tiny, red wax blurbs transformed into weighty and shiny silver pieces. I’d love to try more in the future.

The jewelry class of UCAL had the most relaxed atmosphere — it doesn’t have much of fixed structure at all but feels more like a shared studio space with a teacher present. Each student picked out what she/he wanted to make, and Claire the teacher would help them out. There I learned how to cut, solder, hammer, polish and finish metal. Fun time! I was quite lucky to be living so close to such a wonderful establishment. If you live in or nearby Philly, I highly recommend checking out University City Arts League.