Friday, 28 February 2020

Set A Cab A Month - February 2020

Shimmering Cloud © Joy Funnell
Fine silver with enamel and an Ethiopian Opal, made using Art Clay Silver. 

Here is my piece for February for the Set A Cab A Month challenge 😊

This was very much a 'designed on the hoof' piece!!! 😂

It started out with a textured bit of clay that I demo-ed in a workshop. Looking at the piece afterwards I decided maybe I could make something more of it 😉

I searched through my stash of cabs and found a lovely oval Ethiopian Opal Cabochon which I've had for several years, and set about thinking what to add next. 

I found a texture with radiating designs that could go behind where I was going to put the stone. 

I thought the easiest thing to do was to make a back plate for the original piece that could be added to it easily once dry. 
The back plate was roughly cut out, then refined after drying....

...and the two pieces of silver clay were joined using just water. 

I used fine silver wire to make the bezel for the opal. This would be added after firing. 

Then I searched through my stash of pre-made bits and found a pair of loops that looked a good fit!! 😁

I joined the loops to the main pendant and set about decorating the back...

...rolling out some tiny snakes to add, plus a little flower motif plus, of course, my Joy logo!! 😉

The it was off to the kiln with it for firing.

After firing I polished the pendant up and then added the bezel for the cab. 
I had originally thought I would solder this on, but I also wanted to enamel the pendant.... so I decided to add the bezel using Art Clay Overlay Silver Paste. This brilliant paste easily joins fired pieces of silver together and was perfect for adding the bail to the surface. It has the added advantage of filling gaps under the edge of the bezel where the texture is, where solder is not so happy to, and doesn't re-flow like solder would each time the piece goes back in the kiln for enamelling 😀

Now I have to say this is not my normal sort of colour palette!!! I went with matching the colours of the super sparkly opal using yellow, green and orange. I was a slightly dubious having not actually tested the combination in advance but it turned out a really lovely combo and matched the opal beautifully (though I say so myself!! lol ) 😃

After enamelling I patinated the pendant, re-polished it, set the opal into the bezel, and thought about what to hang it on. I went with a black satin cord with red transparent glass beads as I thought they set off the bright colours nicely 😀

The opal has a wonderful play of colours in it which is hard to capture in the photos.  

Overall I'm very happy with the piece and I'm enjoying the challenge of actually using some of my cabs!!

Until next time...

...have fun!!

Joy x

Friday, 31 January 2020

Set a Cab a Month - January 2020

Eye'll Protect You © Joy Funnell

A new year and a new Challenge!!

Last year I did the Make a Ring a Month challenge and I loved it.

This year I'm doing a Set a Cab a Month challenge. 
I decided to do this as I have loads of cabochons I've accumulated over the years and I seldom make any pieces using them.  😮😉

I posted onto Facebook about it and apparently I was not alone!!! 😂
So I started a Facebook group for the challenge and said did anyone want to join me and amazingly the group is already nearly 350 strong!!!
Yes, there are a lot of hoarders out there just like me!!! Here's just a few of my pretties!!! 

I have to admit this month has been busy and I've very much left making this to the last minute. Today is 31st January and I'm  typing the start of this blog post while the piece is in the kiln firing to save a bit of time later!!! 😁

I did at least have an idea in mind so this today I got cracking. 
I have this beautiful little Ocean Jasper cabochon with a really lovely single orb on it which has been just screaming eyeball at me ever since I got it....which is apparently nearly 5 years ago now I've checked back!! 😆

I made a bezel using wire to go around the stone and then embedded that into some textured clay and cut out an eye shape.

Once it was dry I added a thin snake of wet clay around the bezel ...

...and while it was still wet I textured the clay.

I rolled out two more snakes of clay to go on each side of the eye. 

Here's a little tip for you metal clayers. If you want two snakes to be exactly the same thickness roll them both at the same time 😉

Then I laid the snakes on each side and used a ball headed burnisher to impress some indents. 

I made a little bail to complement the pendant. 

Then I refined everything up and joined the bail, so now it was ready for firing!! :D 

 After firing I polished the piece up. Then I enamelled it, patinated it, re-polished and set the stone!!


I love the Evil Eye, Lucky Eye, Protective Eye symbolism so I called this piece
Eye'll Protect You 

This is the back, with my Joy logo of course!! 😊

All in all I'm happy with it. One of the things I really want to do this year is to combine enamelling with stone setting... that's one down!!!

I'll try not to be so last minute next month!!! 😅

Until then...

Have fun!

Joy x

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - December

This is my ring for December for the Ring a Month Challenge 2019.

This is 
Jimbug © Joy Funnell

The theme for the month was Creatures.

This is quite a long winded post - you have been warned!! 😉

When I started on this challenge in January 2019 one of my personal things was to try to use left over elements that I have already laying around. I've managed this with varying success over the months. This month I'm pleased to say that apart from the ring band all the elements were pre-made pieces of clay I had laying around 😀

There's a little story to the main element that sparked my idea for this ring. In November I was teaching a 1-2-1 workshop and we were making Christmas decorations. The main thing to be made was a teddy bear (which was very successful I would add), but during the day I was playing with one or two other ideas my workshop attendee had had while she was working on teddy. One was a snowdrop. I made a little template up and cut out a piece of textured clay to form into a flower shape. In the process of mucking about with it I laid it down and we both said - oh look - a cricket!! 😂

I left it on one side to dry as the shape was quite nice. 

When the theme for the December ring was announced I immediately thought of the little bug shape. 

All year through this challenge I've wanted to do at least one ring with a cabochon (cab) in it. 

I've had this ammolite cab for ages - it has gorgeous colours but the finish is not top quality - there again I was given it as a freebie with some other stones I bought so I can't complain 😉 

I realised it was a perfect size and shape for my little bug so I set about creating!!

In order to fit the cab into the wing shapes so it could be the body of the bug the first thing I did was to remove the bottom 'petal'. Then I found an old piece of textured clay I could make a base from. It was quite big...

...and had been used for practising creating textures on various workshops in the past on the reverse!!! As that side wouldn't be seen that didn't matter. I laid the wings onto it, drew out the rough shape I wanted and then scored the clay. 

After scoring it was easy to gently bend the clay and break away all the excess, much quicker than cutting it back or filing 😊

I fixed the wings to the new base and dried it...

...and then added the original 'petal' base plate back in as that would be the support for the cab to sit on.

From my box of dried bits of clay I found two pieces for eyes and some curly bits!! lol

These were added and my little Jimbug was starting to come to life 😊

The textured surface of the head suggested a natural little smiling mouth so I just went with it and emphasised it more. 

He was very cute sitting on my fingers 😂

Now I needed a ring band. I didn't have one made in my size so I had a good think of something different I could do. I rolled out a snake of clay using the Rollmakers (if you previously missed seeing what Rollmakers are check out this blog post 😉).
After rolling the snake I then flattened it to a thickness of 2mm (8 cards). It gave a nice effect and I'll use this again. I wrapped it onto a ring mandrel and joined the ends. 

I neatened the join and then added little Jimbug onto the band.

Once he was nice and dry he was already for firing. I like to fire rings with large topper elements standing upright supported by a bit of fibre wool.

Once he was fired and cooled I used pliers to adjust his wings so the cab would easily slide into place. 

I polished up the silver and patinated it to give a nice contrast in the textures and make them stand out. 

Finally I set the Ammolite cab into place. To be sure it would be really safe I used a little glue under it and then I gently bent the wings in tightly to hold the cab in place. I don't think the cab would of fallen out without the glue but it would of wobbled a bit and I wanted it to be nice and firmly in position. 

And so Jimbug was finally ready!!

Depending on the angle of the light the Ammolite cab shines reds, yellows and greens. 

I've made a little video of him to give you a better idea of the colours in the cab 😀

So that's it - the twelfth ring!!! 

I've really enjoyed this challenge and I've definitely made some pieces I would never of dreamt of back in January.

I was thinking of what to do next year and a couple of weeks ago (after I had already started making this piece) I had an idea to start a challenge to
Set a Cab a Month in 2020.

I've created a Facebook group for that and asked if anyone wanted to join me - and we already have nearly 250 members!! Wonderful 😊

This ring is the perfect crossover from making a Ring a Month to getting ready to start my Setting a Cab a Month challenge. Please do join in next years challenge if you want to :D

So until next time...
Have Fun!!

Joy x

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - November

This is my November ring for the Ring a Month Challenge 2019.

The theme for the month was Gemstones.

This is 
Rainbow Doughnuts 😁

Why Doughnuts I hear you ask??
Well I'd bought some super whizzy new moulds for making tiny embellishments and this particular mould makes little open circles. In talking to someone about them they said I could make lots of baby doughnuts!! lol It seemed like a good name to use!!😉

The moulds are made by Cool Tools in the USA (so they are molds and not moulds - lol) and are available here in the UK from Metal Clay Ltd  (at which point they become moulds!!!). 😂

First of all I made a load of little embellishments using Art Clay Silver 999. The clay is pressed into the mould and left to dry. Then the little shapes can be popped out. 

Then I made a flat ring band. As I hadn't really worked out my design in advance I went with a very wide band...

...then I played around with the doughnuts until I found a design I liked. Of course if I had done this part first I could of made the band the right size to start with, but hey, why make life easy 😉

I carefully measured up and worked out that the design should fit quite nicely around the ring so then I started to add the doughnuts to the flat band. I used water to join them...

...and continued around the ring - and it worked out right!! Phew! 😌

Then I started to remove all the excess silver clay...

...working around both edges of the ring first with a scalpel.

I used files and baby wipes to refine the design close to the edges of the doughnuts and neaten it all up. 

Next was choosing which stone colours to use. I LOVE this bit!!! 😊 Should I go with the small stones in differing colour pairs or..

....the same in each pair. I liked this second option better. The stones are 2mm and 4mm and are a mix of lab grown, nano and CZs. They are all fire-able. 

I drilled out the centre of each doughnut and used stone setting burrs to make the seat for each stone.

Arguably I could of made this ring using my usual method of creating stone settings, but I like that each setting is rounded on the top so this does give a different look. 

I set all the stones into place

Lots of different colour combos

all around the band 😊

I was pleased with the end result. 

Turned out it wasn't the easiest ring to photograph though!! lol

So now we have made 11 of the 12 rings for the year long challenge.

Only 1 ring left to go!!!

Have fun!

Joy x

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