Review: Hot Connections Jewelry: The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques

Don’t let the title fool you.  Hot Connections Jewelry:  The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques by Jennifer Chin is not just about soldering and connections.  In fact, the majority of the book teaches the reader about all aspects of fabrication and working with metal to make jewelry.  More than you bargain for!

Having dabbled in soldering techniques myself, reading other books and tutorials on the subject and having just about everything it takes to do this type of work, I was very excited to receive this book for review.  Something was missing from my technique and something called “The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques” seemed to be just what I needed.

You see, when I take up a craft, not only do I like to learn all I can about the technique involved, but I go deeper.  I like to learn about the materials, at what temperatures do they do what, how do the elements have an effect on them, how long will they last, etc.

So, as I started reading I was ecstatic to find that the properties of metals were described.  Their make-up, melting points, etc.  But don’t worry, for you non-information-nerds, it is covered in a concise, easy to peruse fashion.  I love that about this book.  Tons of information but laid out in such a way that you can ingest it easily.

As I read through torch information, safety and workspace set up, imagine my surprise when I got to chapter two.  Essential Fabrication & Soldering Techniques.  The surprise to me was the amount of time and attention to fabrication this chapter started.  I’ve read plenty of materials on fabrication and this book covers a LOT…

measuring, scribing, sawing, filing. bending, hinges, drilling, sanding, riveting, forging, dapping, chasing, reticulating, embossing with a rolling mill, patina, polishing…should I go on?

Jackpot! in this here book!

I would consider myself an intermediate beginner.  I know basically what I’m doing, I have the whole metal working set up, I just need some practice and time at the bench.  I already know how to make jump rings and ear wires (there is instruction in the book for that).  Perfect for a beginner or someone who wants to start making their own components.  But the book goes on to more intermediate and advanced techniques as well.  Hinges, reticulation, flush stone setting, pin backs, mixing metals, inlay…

If you are interested in metal jewelry technique, you need this book.  Let me say that again…If you are interested in metal jewelry technique, you need this book.  It is my new sourcebook for this type of work.

Oh, and of course, GORGEOUS photos in the tutorials and of accomplished artist’s pieces.  I also like the hand-drawn illustrations that accompany the photographs.  Kudos to Jennifer Chin and Potter Craft Publishing.

You can purchase this book on or Barnes & Noble online.

NOTE:  I received a book for review from the publisher but do not receive anything from sales resulting from links on this page or any other future sales.


104 COE Color Studies: Bead Sets Part 4

I thought I would have more combinations but alas, my last day of torching before Bead & Button did not happen.  So let’s go with the ones I do have.

I contrasted the darker orange from before with the bright yellow.  Funny how this same yellow does not look lime-y with the orange and the orange does not look as red in this set as it did some of the others that had cooler colors.

orange and yellow color studies in glass

I’m also seeing how this would be good info in a form that is easier to reference because, without seeing the two different sets next to each other you wouldn’t even know that it’s the same orange and looks very different.  The reverse:

orange and yellow color studies in glass

Another winner.  I’m thinking too that these would be cool beads to do in school colors.  I mean, school colors are usually flat and nasty but with the colors that can be achieved by layering different glass I think there could be some really cool homecoming and alumni jewelry that would look very nice while tailgaiting.  So, I may just have to work on some cream and crimson beads…no, I KNOW I will have to do that.  Below is that yellow from above with the lighter orange:

orange and yellow color studies in glass

It’s a little more subtle of a contrast and close to monochromatic, I think.  See?  I told you I didn’t pay close enough attention in beginning art.  Here’s the reverse:

orange and yellow color studies in glass

I hope some of you can stop by at Bead & Button because when you see these in real life you will be blown away.  I guarantee it.  I have all of these beads hanging by my work surface and I can’t tell you how many times while I’m working I think, “I just want to roll around in them.”  They’re just luscious.  They average in size of 12mm x 17mm x 9 mm thick.

Here’s the last combo I was able to do:

orange and purple color studies in glass

It’s an interesting blend and look at those spacers!  Big deal, right?  No.  They glow.  Not literally but they look like there is a light inside.  That is because each of those little 5mm x 8mm spacers have THREE layers of glass.  The opaque core and two layers of transparent glass strategically layered to give the effect that you’re looking down into them.  Whenever I make these I make a few extra.  For one, because I never know when I’ll drop one when stringing, just for it to go disappearing into some nook or cranny.  Two, you can always use extra spacers and three, because I want to accumulate a whole pile and make some cool chokers.

Here’s the reverse of the above:

orange and purple color studies in glass

I like how the combination of glass that I used for the purple (three layers) gives the illusion of a pink-ness when next to the orange. This is the same purple recipe I’ve used in the others where it has looked more blue.  Again, fascinating stuff.  So, that’s that for now.  I can’t believe I have to stop this adventure here.  I haven’t even touched teal, blue, red, or ANY of the earth tones or ivory.  Not to mention all of the cool new glass colors that have been sitting in my stash forgotten.  Now I know what to do with them….pull them out one by one and give them a good going over in this fashion.

104 COE Color Studies: Bead Sets Part 2

Ready for more color studies?  These are the most recent (not counting the ones in the kiln right now) of the series.  I showed you turquoise and lime as well as purple and lime.  Next I thought I’d try my hand at turquoise and yellow.  I had made some test beads of that color combo before and while I didn’t like it too well, others seemed to think I should pursue it.  Here was my chance.

glass bead color studies

The first step, again, was testing.  I chose my glass rods based on what already knew about the layers that I used and was pleasantly surprised by what I got.  Instead of yellow I got a lime-y color more brilliant than previously.  I liked it and made the set.

glass bead color studies

And I made the reverse because sometimes, like with any color, used in different amounts and different orders, the colors look different.  Also, when working with glass sometimes light penetrates the layers and the color that reflects back changes.  Look at the reverse here and you can see what I mean.

glass color studiesSee how the same layers of glass for the turquoise look different than the ones above?  For one, the smaller dots use less glass and two, they get spread thinner since there is less there to go around when they’re pressed flat.  So, on to the next combo…I liked that lime-yellow color so much I decided to do another purple set with it.  I was feeling more confident about what I had learned so I didn’t test this one.  I just went with it.

glass bead color studies moretti

And yes…the reverse:

effetre glass color studiesI changed the combination of colors used to make the purple on these from the previous day’s beads.  Again, these might not be my colors but I’m starting to gain an appreciation for color in itself without being judgmental.

Ok, one more combo for today.  Back to turquoise and giving orange another shot.  Totally different combination of layers for the orange and this is what I got:

moretti glass color studies

I think I was getting there although I didn’t like what happened to the turquoise in the reverse pattern:

effetre glass color studies

Yes, I used the same layers of turquoise but that darned orange is so powerful it showed through the opaque underneath the turquoise.  Either that or my opaque was just weak and spread too thin.  This one needs more work and I did try it again with a different combination of glass for the orange, which I like.  But you’re going to have to wait for the next installment because, once again, this post is getting long.

I have four more combinations waiting to show you.  That’s eight more sets if you count the reverse sets.  Be sure to subscribe or come back.  I have another contest lined up too so be watching for it!