Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Inventory for 2012

The clay is all gone :(  It certainly didn't take long.  It's all jewelry now.  And you can tell me what you think.

I have to say that except for a couple of classes with a certified metal clay artist, I've been learning the hard way.  Fortunately I've only had a couple of projects that were a total loss but still...  I've been reading a lot and watching YouTube videos (what did we do before YouTube?).  As a result my new collection includes bezel set stones and some pretty fancy colors.

I started off with a few simple things.  For craft shows I need to have a wide range of styles and prices.  Simple pendants and earrings sell well so make sure to have a  few.  This one has a square cut peridot in the center that can be set right into wet clay and then fired.  Some stones can actually stand the super high temperature of 1650 degrees that silver clay can tolerate.  But peridot can only be fired at 1430 degrees for 30 minutes.

At the high end, I've created 4 pendants with bezel set stones.  These have stones that can't handle heat at all.  You need to create the piece and the bezel separately.  Then attach the 2 pieces together and fire again at1650 degrees for an hour or two.  Once it's all done, you can set the stone in the bezel.  This one below is my favorite.  The stone is aqua chalcedony and I've added a few pearls.

Oxidizing silver is pretty much hit or miss.  I've collected a few formulas used by other artisans and they have helped.  But a lot depends on the clay.  Fresh clay oxidizes better than reconstituted clay.  It also depends on the temperature of the sulfur solution.  I've used straight liver of sulfur and tried adding ammonia.  You can imagine how bad the work room smells.  And I've never had the same results twice.

Something really interesting happened with a pendant I made in the steampunk style. The key and lock were created at different times from different wads of clay.  I attached them and dipped the entire pendant into one of my new formulas hoping for a little color and this was the result.  If I had actually wanted the key to be a completely different color from the lock I could never have figured out how to make it happen.

 Then there's this bracelet.  I really only wanted it to be lightly oxidized to bring out the pattern in the links.  I didn't want any color so I just used a watered down liver of sulfur solution. This blue and gold combination was another surprise!

It takes time and practice to be able to handle silver clay well.  There are classes and there's a whole certification process with a series of projects to help artists get proficient and learn to do things like set stones, make hinges, create lockets and boxes.  It costs a lot of money and takes a bit of time so I'm not sure I'm ready yet.  I was getting a 35% discount from my supplier.  But now that the manufacturer of the clay is making it mandatory to be certified in order to receive that 35% discount, so I may be compelled to get the certification.


  1. I love it all, but especially that bracelet! Good luck with the possible certification!