Rings & Things (Metal Clay Class ~ Part 2)

Here are two simple pieces which I learned to make during my first two lessons. I designed a simple loop ring, with slightly curved taped band n satin finish with a prong-set synthetic green gem and a the leaf was a class project. The ring didn't really turn out as perfect as I want it to be. But I guess it'll do for a beginner.

Each piece takes more than half a day to make by hand without the help of machinery. I enjoyed making the leaf most. It takes patience and a steady hand as the leaf is composed by a repetition of carefully placing layers of soft clay on a real leaf and drying process. It may sound easy, but you need to find the right technique to form these layers in order to get a strong & solid piece. I love how this technique was able to capture the shape, curves & reveal the fine details on the leaf after firing and finishing. I decided to leave most parts of the leaf in brush matte finish and only shine up some parts around the edges and in the curved parts of the leaf to capture light like a real leaf would. I have not decided what to do with the leaf. This technique, possibilities of using other base materials started popping up in my head. I might try to make a lace necklace next.

Having done basic traditional jewelry metal smithing years ago, and now working with metal clay, I would say it's more tedious to create the same pieces shown here using the traditional method. The finishing process however is about the same. You still need to get your hands dirty, brushing, burnishing, filing, sanding & polishing to achieve a professional look. So ladies, forget about manicures if you are serious about taking up a metal clay course!

In the next lesson I will be learning how to create some interesting hollow filigree beads. I can't wait...

Ripples in the Water (Metal Clay Class ~ Part 1)

Recently I've taken up a short course in Jewelry Fabrication in metal clay. I've been contemplating this for quite some time before jumping in, and when I do, it has been a liberating experience so far. You know something good is happening when it gives you a buzz.

I will be sharing items I created during my class every now & then. This is my favorite piece so far made using metal clay in dough form in 99.9 pure silver. It was made by rolling, cutting, pressing & shaping the clay like you would with playdough. My design morphed into an asymmetrical 3D pendant, with circles in different size & shape, which looks like ripples in the water with stacked pebbles in the center. To bring out the organic shape in different levels, I've used shiny and satin finish in parts to give it texture & visual contrast. I've decided to turn it into a necklace accented with a petite wire wrapped marquise cut labradorite gemstone for a bit of luxe & color. I love the subtle blue flashes on the cool labradorite which incidentally also represents the water element in this design. I also have a thing with unique chains too, and this is using silver wheat link chain which I bought on a trip to Japan.