Saturday, January 26, 2013

More Fun with Metal Clay

I've got a half dozen craft show applications sitting in the office, my Etsy shop has been totally neglected, and my website is down pending some new pictures.  So I've been spending a lot of time working on some new silver designs. Wanting to try with silver the techniques I used with bronze clay, I spent another week buried  in my workshop.

Trying to create open work curlicues with silver is a bit different from  bronze.  Silver hardens more quickly and seems to be more fragile when dry.  It breaks more easily.  It took me a while to get used to the feel again so I started with some simpler pieces.

Like flowers and leaves, the curlicues are much easier to put on a solid surface.

But I eventually created a pair of earrings that I really like.

And later a pendant set with a genuine ruby cabochon.

But the best piece I made this past week was actually one I made using a tutorial.  Now there are lots of tutorials out there and they are a great way to learn new techniques.  I just haven't found one for anything I really wanted to try.  But in an older issue of Metal Clay magazine I found a tutorial by Anna Mazon.  She's a metal clay artist and instructor from Poland.  While she's the expert on the open work technique I've been working on, her tutorial is for a 3-dimensional pendant called "Hidden Pearl".  I spent several hours on this piece and I have to say that it's really nice to have all the logistics of the design already figured out.  (Sometimes that takes more time than the design itself.) So I just followed her very clear instructions and pictures and here's the result--

I haven't decided yet if I'll put this one up for sale or just keep it for myself.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January and the Creativity Zone

I'm in the zone right now, holed up in my downstairs workshop.  January is when I take out all those pictures I cut out and the sketches on little scraps of paper and try to create some new designs.  Not all of them work out as planned but I've made a resolution that this year I will only fire those I'm completely happy with.  Then I can't fall asleep for thinking about how I can change something that didn't work or what can I add to a dull piece so I won't smash it in the morning and reconstitute the clay.  A lot more clay than usual has been reconstituted this month.

I've done a little more work with those curlicues I mentioned a couple of posts ago using the bronze clay in an attempt to get better at it before I move on to silver. While the open work can probably be even finer, these are pretty good initial designs.  Sanding is really important for a smooth finish but I'm finding it difficult not to sand these brittle pieces to the point of breaking.
These are time consuming, a challenge, and a bit different from my usual geometric Art Deco style.  But one needs to move on creatively and challenge oneself, no?

As for geometric, I also made more of the the dangly retro style necklaces.  These are just fun and a nice break from the detail work.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fresh Start in the New Year

Yes, I've been neglecting my blog for a month now.  I've been so busy that I really hadn't thought about it until today.  And I've missed some great posts from some of my favorite bloggers--Wug's Backyard, Pussdaddy, Facing 50 with Humour to name a few.  So I spent a little time getting caught up.

It's a new year and every January I get itchy to start new jewelry designs.  I spent some time in December going through my inventory, purging older items that didn't sell and making little sketches of things I want to make in the new year.  I managed to win a stash of old clock gears and old balance cocks on Ebay, bought some really old brass chain (spent an hour cleaning it because it was so grungy), and got some nice old metal buttons at a local auction.  And right after Christmas I received the bronze and silver clay I ordered.  So I'm now ready to get started.

My workbench is in the downstairs family room and I have to walk past it every time I go to do the laundry. Not being able to resist the pull of my new findings, I created a few steampunk pieces in between loads.  And in perusing the metal clay forums I came across a product that I purchased to seal the brass pieces and chains to keep them from turning brown or discoloring skin.  You just paint on Permaclear with a small sponge.  It's undetectable. Love it!

When I was cleaning my work area in December I came across a bit of leftover bronze clay. So I decided to try out one of my new ideas for a necklace.

It looks a little retro to me but not like anything I've seen anywhere else.  I'm hoping it sells because I plan to make a few more in a similar style.  This one was fun.

So I'm well on my way in 2013.