Halstead is proud to sponsor the third annual Halstead Design Challenge in cooperation with the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).
Participants purchase a kit from Halstead and create brooches in line with a chosen theme. This year’s theme is Hidden. Participants are asked to use at least 50% of the material in the kits with all the proceeds from the kit sales and a percentage of proceeds from the final brooch sales benefiting SNAG. Jurors will select about 30 submissions for an exhibition at the SNAG Conference in Portland in May. The top 3 submissions will receive cash prizes.
The response to these Halstead Design Challenges has been amazing. The first year, the theme was Kinetic. There were 100 kits for sale that year, which sold out in 24 hours. First prize went to Gabrielle Gould for Spring Garden View.
Last year, the theme was Memento. We increased the number of kits to 200 and they sold out in 24 hours, too. First place went to Jim Bové for Mnemosyne at the waters of Lethe.
For this year’s Hidden theme, participants will create pieces around a hidden object in their brooches. We kept the kit quantity at 200 and they sold out in 12 hours. The jurors are Hilary Halstead Scott, President of Halstead; Brigitte Martin of Crafthaus; and Jim Bové, published artist, educator, and winner of the 2017 Halstead Design Challenge.
There have been some amazing designs that have come from these annual challenges. This year’s kit features sterling silver, copper, and brass supplies that include wire, metal blanks, beads, sheet metal and, my favorite, sterling silver tubing (see the top photo for the materials in the 2018 kit). Since there is a piece of tubing in the kit, many participants may choose to incorporate hinges in their pieces. I love hinges and, although they seem intimidating, I’d like to show you how easy they can be with a little practice.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for a simple knuckle hinge:
Step 1. Cutting the Tubes
TipTube cutting with a saw is very important. If you use cutters, the tubing will collapse at the cut. In the studio here at Halstead, we use tube cutting jigs. I highly recommend purchasing one of these if you are going to cut a lot of tubing.
Step 2. Preparing the Sheet
TipUse a saw here. Cutting with sheet shears leaves ragged, bent edges whereas a saw will produce a nice, clean cut.
Step 3: Tubing and Gaps
TipThe solution to this problem came from Soham Harrison on his YouTube video: 3 Knuckle Hinge.
Step 4. Gap Solution
TipThis was a great solution since I didn't have a file on-hand that would work.
Step 5: Prepping for Soldering
TipIt's very important that the solder doesn't flow onto the adjacent hinge sections. Keep your solder bits far away from the separate sections and use tiny slivers of solder bits.
Step 6: Soldering your Hinge
TipI like to start out by moving the flame in a large circle around the piece, which dries the flux slowly rather than quickly. Drying too quickly causes bubbles to form and may move the solder bits around.
Step 7: Cleaning
TipKeep the bristle disks away from the hinge sections. They can remove the edges on your hinges.
Step 8: Creating the Hinge Pin
TipMake sure the wire fits as snugly as possible.
One of my favorite books that we have in the Halstead Library is The Metalsmith’s Book of Boxes & Lockets by Tim McCreight. I highly recommend it if you’d like to try out different types of hinges. It’s full of how-to instructions and the photos inside are beautiful and inspiring.