Sunday, 12 March 2017

What do I need to get started with silver clay?

I've been asked a few times in the last couple of weeks about the tools a beginner needs to start working with silver clay so I thought I would write a blog post about it!
Silver clay is a fantastic material that you can use to make silver jewellery from home. The clay itself is made from silver particles, an organic binder and water. You can roll and shape your clay into your design, dry it and then fire it with a butane torch (a creme brule torch will do!).

One of the things I love about silver clay is that you don't need a lot of space or expensive equipment to get started. Here are the basics that you will need.

Some of these items you will already have at home. For everything else I would recommend checking Metal Clay Ltd who specialise in tools and equipment for working with metal clay 

  1. Silver clay. There are two main brands - Art Clay and PMC3 and you use them in the same way so it doesn't matter which you choose. 
  2. Laminated mat or glass tile. This is to roll your clay onto. You need something smooth and without a texture
  3. Acrylic or glass roller. To roll out your clay. A wooden one isn't a good choice because it can stick to the clay
  4. Badger balm or olive oil. We use a little oil to grease the surface of the mat or texture to stop the clay from sticking. NB. Don't use vaseline as it is petroleum based and this damages the binder in the clay
  5. Playing cards. We use playing cards to ensure that when we are rolling out the clay we do so to an even thickness. You place 4 playing cards either side of the clay and roll your clay out and this ensures that the clay is an even thickness
  6. Texture plates, rubber mats or wallpaper. The clay takes textures really well and one of the real benefits of working with metal clay over sheet silver. You can use many things as a texture - you can buy rubber or plastic textured mats or use textured papers like wallpapers
  7. Small cookie cutters - traditional cookie cutters tend to be too large but cutters designed for sugarcraft/cake making are ideal
  8. Straight tissue blade - useful for cutting your own shapes
  9. Rubber clay shaping tool - you can get rubber tools from art supply shops, they are also used by oil painters. We use these with the clay to shape and fill in cracks
  10. Sanding pads. These are used to clean up the edges of the dry clay before firing.
  11. Butane torch. When your clay is dry it needs to be fired with a butane torch. You can buy one from jewellery suppliers or can use a creme brule torch
  12. Firing fibre brick. This is heat proof and you put your dried clay onto this to fire it
  13. Brass brush. Used to brush the piece once it has been fired and cooled (use water and liquid soap)
  14. Polishing papers/sunshine polishing cloth. To get your piece looking lovely and shiny I recommend the sunshine polishing cloth which is really quick and effective for polishing by hand
 I do suggest that you take a beginners class to learn how to use the clay effectively and particularly to learn how to fire the clay safely. 
You may also be tempted to try one of the base metal clays (copper or bronze) because they are cheaper than silver but these are harder to fire effectively so it is always best to start with silver clay. 
What are your favourite tools for working with silver clay? Let me know in the comments below.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Coming soon - online jewellery business bootcamp


I’m excited to be involved in Jewellery Business Bootcamp from Jewellery School Online. I’ve been part of the teaching team for the London Jewellery School 6 day taught Jewellery Business bootcamp since it’s inception and have really enjoyed seeing the students on that course grow their businesses.

This new 8 week intensive online course starts on Friday 27th January 2017 and is designed and masterminded by the founder and director of the London Jewellery School Jessica Rose. Jessica has won six business awards and has run her own jewellery business, fingerprint jewellery business and tool supply as well as LJS which is one of the largest jewellery training centres in the world.
The bootcamp is designed to help you build and grow a successful jewellery business. You don’t have to visit London to do the course, you can be anywhere in the world!

The course includes
  • Professional training online through videos, podcasts, notes and webinars
  • 8 Weeks of intensive support
  • Fresh content released weekly followed up with live webinar Q&A's with Jessica to support your learning
  • Access to an exclusive closed Facebook group just for members of the bootcamp to get support and questions answered at each stage
  • All of our learnings from the past 10 years condensed into actionable plans that you can implement straight away in your jewellery business

The Curriculum

WEEK 1: You and Your Customers
Module 1: Knowing your customer: Goals, Vision and Planning for a Successful Future
Module 2: Build Your Brand: Branding, Visuals & Logos

WEEK 2: Building Your Killer Product
Module 3: Your Jewellery: Collections, Designs & Copyright
Module 4: Pricing your Jewellery for Profit

WEEK 3: How to Market and Sell Like Pro
Module 5: Online Marketing – Social Media and Paid Advertising
Module 6: Online Marketing – Websites and SEO
Module 7: Online Marketing – Blogging, Brand Reps & Email Lists
Module 8: Offline Marketing – PR, Face-to-Face & Sales

Webinars, action points & your questions answered

WEEK 5: Mastering Wholesale & Retail
Module 9: Working with Retailers and managing wholesale

WEEK 6: The Business Nitty Gritty
Module 10: Understanding business and legal matters
Module 11: Financial management, forecasting, budgets & accounts

WEEK 7: Planning for a Profitable Future
Module 12: Jewellery business growth plan with action points for the future

Bringing it all together and mapping out action plans for your next year in business

Does this sound like exactly what you need right now?

I hope you can join us on what will be a great short cut to jewellery business success.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Jewellery workshops I will be teaching this term

I'm pleased (and slightly daunted!) to be telling you that this is my last term of teaching in London for a while. My husband and I are moving to Edinburgh at easter and I plan to be teaching in Scotland this year! I will also be returning to London to do some teaching but it will be shorter courses. I'll let you know what is coming up via the blog.
Here are the courses I will be teaching in London and elsewhere this term

Beautiful beading
Mondays, 3-5.30pm, 12 weeks
Course code: 1502
Starting on 9th January 2017
This term we will be focussing on knotting and braiding techniques including French knit necklaces (see above photo) and kumihimo among other techniques
Click here for more information and to enrol online

Introduction to silver clay jewellery
Mondays, 6-9pm, 6 weeks
Course code: 1504
Starting on 9th January 2017
There are just a couple of places left on this beginners course in using silver clay
Click here for more information and to enrol online

Intermediate silver clay jewellery - box pendants
Mondays, 6-9pm, 6 weeks
Starting on 20th February 2017
Learn how to make your own arrowhead silver pendant with stone setting and your own box pendant.
To do this course you must have attended the introduction to silver clay class or have experience of working with silver clay.
There are just a couple of places left on this course.
Click here for more information and to enrol online

London Jewellery School - various workshops
I am teaching a variety of one day and evening classes at the London Jewellery School. 
Click here for a list of workshops and my teaching calendar

Jewellery business bootcamp from Jewellery School Online
Starting on Friday 27th January 2017
If you have a jewellery business that you want to develop or are wanting to start one the jewellery business bootcamp is for you. It is a modular 8 week online course with videos and support calls.
Take a look at this link for more information 

You Can Make It 2017
Metal clay residential conference in Dorset, UK
As I've previously written on the blog, I will be teaching and presenting at this conference. 
For more information about my classes click here
For more information about the conference and to book a place click here

Private tuition
I am still taking bookings for private tuition from my studio at Craft Central, Farringdon
I can work with individuals or small groups for half a day, a full day or more
Some of the topics I have taught include silver clay, beading, ring making, wax carving, craft business advice
Check out my website for more information
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