Lexi Erickson is a well-known metalsmith artist. She’s been teaching for over 30 years, and she has a truly unique style. I’ve known Lexi since my Interwave days, and since I met her she’s told me that I’m welcome to join her in her studio any time.

After years of intending to visit her, I decided that now was the time to commit. So a few weekends ago, I journeyed down south to her space to spend a few hours creating with her. I have to tell you, it was magical, and I so enjoyed the chance to get tips from here. Here are just a few of the things she shared with me.

  • Instead of cutting your solder in advance, cut your solder right before solder. This will ensure it doesn’t tarnish. Using tarnished solder would make it much more difficult to solder.
  • Lexi reminded me that you should always scale down when you solder. This means, don’t try and use hard for multiple joins. Instead, scale down each time, starting with hard, then going to medium and finally easy. She even shared with me that while many snub easy solder, it’s what a lot of pros actually use. Embrace it.
  • When your piece comes out of the acid, if you use Dawn dish soap mixed with ammonia with a brash brush, to help add a shine to your piece.
  • Use your non-dominant hand when soldering to hold the torch. You’ll need your dominant hand for the fine motor skills like moving solder or holding something down.
  • Slice your sheet solder to mimic wire solder. And when you solder, place it inside where nobody will see it to save on the clean-up.
  • Have a few fire bricks on hand. It will allow you to carve out spaces and provide different soldering surfaces for different items to make soldering easier.

The best part is that Lexi is not shy about sharing her tips, and she’s done it. She’s filmed several different videos and written instructional materials that you can purchase through Interweave. Visit the Interweave online store to see more and find the resource for you.

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