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Showing posts from March, 2011

Day five, Advanced Metal Clay course

The final day and I knew that I had a lot to do. Sandra and I got in for about 9.10 again and I started building my box bead. I'd been worried about it but I quite enjoyed it once it was mostly secure! I will make one again. In fact, I may have to because it didn't pass! My sides are too close to the edge. I had wanted to fire it anyway but Julia recommended I take it home to see if I could make it work.
We had a lot to do today and I learnt loads of new techniques. I soldered three jump rings I'd made into a chain. I was very pleased with this as I have previously done a silversmithing course and really didn't get to grips with soldering. I also made a necklace clasp first time.
My earrings were a bit of a triumph this time! I love the shell mould stud earrings. The posts stayed in and didn't need re-firing which was a relief. They look great, a good size. I enjoyed the keum boo and the liver of sulphur made the gold I added really pop out. The gold painted dome e…

Day four, Advanced Metal Clay diploma level 3

After a lot of thought I decided to do the level 3 directly after the level 2. This was primarily because of the travel time and costs. It takes about 5 hours to travel from the jewellery school to my home on a week day and at least an hour longer on a Sunday. It also costs about  90 pounds. However, from my experience, I think I would probably recommend that people do those levels at separate times. I went into the level 3 not yet having passed level 2. I had two pairs of earrings that had to be made again and three pairs of earring wires to make.
So I did feel a little behind going into day four and a little worried about the increase in complexity. At this level we are making two brooches, three pairs of earrings and a box bead. There are also some techniques that we will be learning including clasp making, soldering and chain making. I am looking forward to seeing how to use keum boo (adding gold leaf to silver clay) and correctly using liver of sulphur. I've tried a bit at ho…

Day three, Intermediate Silver Metal Clay Course

The final day of the intermediate course. Sandra and I arrived at about 9.10 and got started straight away. There was a lot of finishing to do! Everything had come out of the kiln OK which was a relief!
I spent a lot of time on my bezel set stone pendant. I really don't like it! But at least it passed in the end. I had to raise the stone up slightly with copper wire to get it to sit right - such a nightmare! Took three attempts! It polished up pretty well and is slightly reminiscent of a peacock feather which was the plan. I don't think I'll be doing a bezel setting again!
We had to make some domed earrings which was done by laying the clay over ping pong balls. I used a cuttlefish as a texture and I was quite pleased with it but unfortunately it didn't pass because the texture on the two earrings are so different. I then had a nightmare when drilling them, the hole is not in the right place. So I suspect I will be using the holes to hang beads from! Or fixing them and…

Day two, Intermediate Metal Clay course

Today we made a bezel for a stone set pendant. It's not my kind of thing really! It hasn't gone well. We made our own texture from an eraser (the type that you stick on the end of a pencil), that was easy to do and effective. The bezel part was just annoying! And ended up going through the clay so I had to make another piece to stick the bezel in. Hopefully it will fire OK.
We also chose a glittery glass cabochon to make into a pendant. I always pick blue! I can't help it. We made the pendant and I learnt how to catch the glass with clay so that it will stay on and also how to fire silver and glass. That was something new and I was glad to get a chance to try that out.
We also learnt how to weave PMC paper clay. I was looking forward to learning this and then made a very basic error, cutting my paper clay the wrong way. This meant that I had loads less than everyone else. Undeterred I went for a complicated twill weaving pattern! I think it looks good. We have to make them…

Day one, Intermediate Silver Metal Clay course

I am back once again at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery on the Intermediate Silver Clay course. There are six of us on the course from as far afield as Ireland.
The course is three days and we have a whole list of things we will make during this time. This is a certificated course so things have to be made to the correct standard. It puts the extra pressure on but at least it means the qualification is worth something, you don't just get it for turning up!
Today I made a band ring, two bracelet charms and a pair of carved silver earrings.
I don't tend to make band rings. Silver clay shrinks when it is fired so sizing rings can be a problem. It is also not really as strong as sterling silver (although soon this won't be a problem with silver clay!) so it isn't something I would make to sell. However, I have made rings before on courses so I felt OK with making this one. I have textured it with a basic diagonal line and I think it looks OK.
One of the bracelet char…

Exciting developments - sterling silver metal clay

The metal clay community is very excited about the development of sterling silver metal clay. Lisa Cain, who runs the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery, worked hard to develop a sterling silver clay from commercially available silver and copper clay.
In the press release Lisa Cain said 'My motivation for developing this new option was the very real need for this type of clay, especially here in the UK where hallmarking laws influence the materials we artists can use credibly in our commercial work.'
The recipe, firing schedule and test results will be published in the April edition of Metal Clay Artist magazine (volume 2 issue 2). Lisa has said that she is not interested in making money from her discovery and that her 'interest is set firmly on innovation' and 'artistry in metal clay'.
As a student at the MCSJ I was fortunate to see a few pieces that had been made from this clay last week. I am looking forward to reading the full article in the magazine soon.

Cli…

A-Z of me!

I saw this A-Z idea in one of the blogs that I follow by Meridian Ariel. I think it's an interesting idea so I thought I'd have a try too.












A. Age: Luckily for me I don’t look my age! Over 30
B. Bed size: That really weird queen size-ish that Ikea does. I have the most comfy bed. Love it
C. Chore you dislike: Hoovering. I am so not a chores person!
D. Dogs: I don’t mind them but I’m a cat person. I love their independence. It's great when a cat chooses to sit with you because they really don't have to!
E. Essential start to your day: Liz Earle cleanse, polish and moisturiser followed by Bare Essentuals and Laura Geller (glow box) make up. This is why I don’t look my age!
F. Favorite colour: Blue. Always has been. So many shades, so many moods
G. Gold or silver: Silver. My Mum always wears white gold so I have always preferred that look of metal. And now I make silver clay jewellery!
H. Height: 5ft 9. Maybe. About that
I. Instruments you play(ed): I played recorder and p…

Weekend of bronze and copper clay

I spent a very informative and experimental weekend learning how to use Bronze and Copper Clay at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery which is fast becoming my second home! The tutor was Carol Douglas who showed us some of her work which was both inspiring and intimidating! There were four of us on the course, with varying experience (I was probably the least experienced of us all).
Carol spent some time at the beginning of the first day explaining about the issues of using bronze and copper clay. They aren't as easy to fire as silver clay, with most types having to be kiln fired in charcoal. Results can still be mixed and pieces can end up needing to be fired again.
Because of our experience Carol let us loose on lots of different projects at the same time in order to experiment with the clays. I found this really helpful because I was able to try out lots of different techniques that I wouldn't normally try in order to see what came out well. I made a number of different pi…

Blog featured in London Jewellery School newsletter

I was very pleased to be contacted by the London Jewellery School who asked if they could feature my blog in their newsletter.
Yesterday their March newsletter was distributed and this blog featured in their 'student spotlight' section (see left).
I have done a number of classes there including

Beginners metal clay
Art Clay level 1
Resin and Silver Jewellery
Make Button Jewellery


And I look forward to doing many more. I originally did a silversmithing course at another jewellery school but when I heard about the existence of silver clay I found the LJS. I knew I wanted to have a go with silver clay and I have been hooked ever since! I have been taught by Emma Ashworth, Julia Rai, Michael Milloy and Chu Mei-Ho at the LJS and have found them all to be excellent teachers with a lot of experience to share. Plus they have very well equipped studios which are very well resourced.
I highly recommend taking one of their classes. There is so much choice, you won't know where to s…

Learning from the best

I have been very fortunate to have a brilliant silver clay teacher in Julia Rai who I have now done two courses with and am booked for three more. Julia is the first person in the world to achieve Metal Clay Masters registry level 4 (congratulations!). Sometimes being at the top of your game does not equal a good teacher but Julia is excellent at both the artistry and the teaching!

Now that I am getting more confident with the clay my thoughts are turning towards adding colour. I have always loved enamelled silver pieces and have wanted to learn how to do it myself. I was booked onto an enamelling evening class in January but it was cancelled, I presume due to lack of numbers. But then I found that a metal clay artist and enameller, whose work I really admire, also does tuition days and I had to go for it.

Joy Funnell is a name I know through doing a google image search for enamelling. Practically every piece I liked and clicked through to turned out to be Joy's! She is a Craf…