At The Makery with Francesca and Robert

The Hill Country was calling and Patti and Laura had to go…

to the cozy downtown of Bulverde, Texas. With it’s charming Hallmark feel combined with the friendliness of the locals, this small town made us feel like we hit the jackpot for a girls retreat. We were eager to explore Francesca Watson’s lovely studio and store, The Makery.


Francesca welcomed us into her spacious studio for a three day workshop with none other than Robert Lopez of Robert Lopez Designs!


If you haven’t been introduced to Robert Lopez, he is as cheerful and exuberant as the vibrant colors he creates in his metalworking.

Robert's pieces

Several of Robert Lopez’s pieces.

Well known for the use of titanium and his mastery of fusing Argentium, Robert brings a raw and organic element to the jewelry industry.

The Fractured Mine

This beautiful piece by Robert Lopez titled The Fractured Mine is what he taught us to make in the three day workshop!


The Fractured Mine by Robert Lopez

When I (Laura) first saw it, the colors mesmerized me. The bottom disc of the necklace is titanium set in Argentium. I was ecstatic to learn how to achieve the vibrant colors in the titanium as well as in the top portion of the pendant which is fused Argentium.

Under the direction of Robert, Patti and I were taught several techniques using the torch and liver of sulfur. It was amazing, and fun!!


Patti with the torch

Did I mention Robert was a master at fusing Argentium?

Argentium is Patti’s and my favorite silver to work with. When you fuse it, there is no need for pickling. It is also very fragile! You must always let Argentium cool before quenching it.


Patti’s Fractured Mine piece

Due to it’s fragility, Robert was able to show us how to use that to our advantage in our designs. This is Patti’s fractured Argentium piece she fused her faceted nuggets to. Yes, we even got to learn how to make Robert’s faceted Argentium nuggets!

The finished piece! 

After three days of concentrating, learning, laughing and eating yummy food, I finished my masterpiece. Okay, don’t look too closely…I never said it was a perfect masterpiece, ha. I will, however, be able to transfer what I learned from Robert into my own designs and jewelry making.  I would love to take another class of his if the opportunity so happens. His classes sell out fast!


Laura’s finished Fractured Mine

If you are curious as to how we achieved the texture on the back-plate of the top portion of the pendant, it is all thanks to Rolling Mill Resources paper patterns.  Our friend, Gwen Youngblood, not only owns Rolling Mill Resources with its plethora of patterns, but she was also able to attend the workshop with us!


Laura, Francesca, Patti, and Gwen

Gwen even supplied every student in the class with free samples!

Gwen texture samples

We could not have had a better weekend. An excellent workshop full of engaging and intriguing ideas, good friends, warm hospitality…the perfect girls getaway!

friends wubbers

If you are ever in the area…

We highly suggest you stop in The Makery. Say hello to Francesca. Perhaps even take one of the many workshops offered there. Then hop next door for a one of a kind leather handbag, maybe even cross the street for some pumpkin chocolate muffins. Whatever you decide to do, continue to find the joy in creating!


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Enjoy our newest tip from Laura.

What are Francesca and Robert up to now? Here is a sneak peak!

Robert and Francesca are collaborating their talents, time, and supplies to raise money for the Semper Fi fund! Semper Fi’s new Welcome Home Fund program is specifically geared towards supporting Vietnam-era veterans. The veteran population is near and dear to both Francesca and Robert.

Elements (1)

The final piece they create together will be auctioned off before Christmas, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Welcome Home Fund. As an added bonus, the Semper Fi Fund has received a pledge of a matching grant from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation – so any funds raised through the auction will be matched dollar for dollar!

Lace-and-Shields (1)

To see the current progress Francesca and Robert have made and the final piece, visit recent posts on The Makery’s Facebook page.

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Posted in Gwen Youngblood, jewelry making, Patti's Jewelry Travels, Tools

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