Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - February

The theme announced for February for the Make a Ring a Month Challenge was MUSIC & LYRICS. This was a very open theme to be interpreted in any way we wanted to.

It didn't take me too long to decide that I wanted to represent a song and I had an idea for what! 

So, a little side waffle first!! 😉 If you read my RAM January blog post then you'll know I signed up for this year long challenge without properly reading all the info, so I was somewhat taken aback when the first theme was announced as I hadn't realised there was going to be themes!! 😂 Anyway...before the January theme was announced I'd actually had an idea for a ring to make, but then I decided it didn't really fit January's theme. 

I realised that ring would be perfect for the February theme as it fitted a song from an album I've always loved. The idea for making the ring came to me while watching BBC Bargain Hunt (a programme about buying antiques and collectables then selling them at auction) . One of the items was an old wooden paddle with a carved chain link style design along the shaft of it. 
I sat there watching thinking I'm sure I could do that in silver clay. Frustratingly I can't find an image of what I saw to show you, I've tried a lot of online searching but given up. You'll have to take my word on this :)

I worked out the way the link design was made was actually really easy to do. 

I started out making a plain D ring shaped band in silver clay. OK, so I forgot to photograph that bit 😉 Just imagine a plain D ring here...

Then I marked up where each link would be with a pencil and carved a groove for the end of each 'link'. 

I carved out on each side of the centre top 'links' to get the shape....

...and evened it up a bit around the ring...

although a bit of wonkiness always adds some character 😏 ...

..then I neatened it all up a tad more.

Next came the refining. For this I used baby wipes.
The aim was to round off the edges of each
'link' so they started to look like they went though each other...

...and I worked my way around the whole ring, stopping to dry every now and then (the ring, not me! 😃 ) The baby wipes add moisture as I work so care is needed not to make the clay too soggy. 

Finally it started to look more like a chain link design 😁

And then I fired it, polished it and patinated it.

I was quite pleased with the result - I think it does look like chain link!
An unending chain of love.

It's quite a narrow ring and is very comfortable to wear.

Here's a short video to give you a better idea of the unendingness ...

...oh, and the song that inspired it...

'I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain.'

'Chain, keep us together...'

Yes, I'm sure you've guessed by now!!! ;)

From the Album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
The Chain

I've really enjoyed trying something totally new to me for this ring.

My plan of using up some of my spare clay elements that I have laying around went totally out the window for this ring - but never mind 😇

Until next time...
Have fun!

Joy x

Friday, 25 January 2019

Workshops in Switzerland 2019

At the end of February 2019 I'll be off to Switzerland for my annual teaching trip to Creative Glass at Volketswil just outside of Zurich. This will be the sixth time I have taught there and it is just an amazingly lovely place. The studio is very spacious with a lovely separate dining area and the whole place is filled with wonderful glass (even the sink in the toilet is amazing!! ;) lol

This year I'll be teaching four new workshops that I haven't taught in Switzerland before. There is still a little space on some of them so why not come and join in!!! 
All the details are on the Creative Glass website here.

On 23rd and 24th February I'll be teaching my Crystal pendant workshop. This covers a wonderful array of techniques including  riveting, making unique texture plates with polymer clay, adding gold foil, soldering bezel cup, stone setting and of course working with crystal wands. Oh, and let's not forget we are using silver clay too! It's a great way to expand your knowledge. There is so much to learn and you'll be able to choose from a lovely selection of crystal wands and cabochons to make your own unique piece. 

The next workshop on 25th February is Joyful Whistles. These really are a lot of fun to make and you'll end up with your very own working whistle. Maybe you'll even be able to play a little tune on yours, and if you have a dog what could be better for attracting his/her attention!! :D These are great to wear as a pendant and I wear one on a longer lanyard around my neck too. 

Yes, they really do work!!! Check out my video :D 

On 26th February it's all about rings!!! I'll be teaching my Celestial Rings with their amazing construction and a squared off ring band. The topper is set with lots of super sparkly stones!!! These really are statement pieces :)

Finally on 27th it's all about GOLD!!!!
This workshop is all about adding gold to your work and we'll be looking at various methods. We'll be adding gold by the keum boo method and also looking at various other ways including pen plating and using gold paste :D There is nothing better than a good splash of gold to take your work up a level! 

I'm so looking forward to being back in Switzerland to see old friends and make new ones. 

Don't miss out!!!

Joy x

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Ring A Month 2019 - January

I decided it was time to join a challenge again so for 2019 I've joined the Ring A Month 2019 challenge started by the lovely Anna Campbell-Hall.

When Anna first posted that she was going to do this challenge and would anyone like to join her I immediately clicked to join. It was one of those impulse things, I love ring making and I'd already decided I wanted to do some sort off challenge in 2019. It was perfect! 

I was busy thinking out what my first ring would be when Anna posted the theme for the January - which rather took me by surprise - because in all the excitement to join it turned out I'd only read the first half of her post about the challenge!!! 😄. I'd completely missed that there would be a theme for each month!! This actually was a good thing as instead of making some easy ring that just sprang to mind now I would have to do a bit more thinking - making it an even better challenge for the year.

So I got making. I didn't really have a plan so I made a plain wide band with natural uneven edges and went from there. First I added varying sized holes around the band.

I then decided it would be a good thing, over the course of the year, to try to use some of the many dried clay elements I have laying around, and I have lots!! This box has teeny, tiny bits in. I chose some textured discs of clay to fit behind some of the holes on the band.

I added them from the inside of the band to create some textured recesses. I tried to make sure every texture I used was different. One or two are similar but no two are actually the same. 

Once I'd filled as many of the holes as I wanted I drew a pattern onto the plain areas with pencil to see how it would look. I'm not a great fan of plain silver so by carving in a design I could fill up some of the area. 

I thought that looked okay so I went ahead and carved the design onto the surface using a combination of the tip of a needle file and a tiny balled headed burnisher tool. 

You can see in the recess at the front in the photo below that one of the circular textures had a little crack in it. I did debate filling the crack, but as it didn't go all the way through I left it as it was - it added more texture!!!! 😉

Um...there was still still quite a bit of plain silver left so I went with my normal filler when doing designs that I feel are a bit empty. If in doubt add some dots, they always seem to work! 😂 

Finally I did a bit of carving to the edges of the band to make it a more interesting shape.

Finished and ready for firing. It went off into the kiln and was fired at 820C for an hour plus.

After polishing the ring I used some patina to make the recesses dark and to highlight the textures. 

Here's a short video of the ring so you can see all around it. 

I quite like the outcome. I've certainly never made a ring by this method before, and I'm sure I wouldn't of done without the challenge - maybe I will develop this technique more in the future :)

Now I will patiently wait to find out what the theme for February's ring will be! 

Have fun!

Joy x

Monday, 3 October 2016

Enamelling Weekend Workshop

It's only a few weeks to go now until our residential enamelling weekend in November!! We still have a couple of spaces on this if anyone else wants to join us. It is going to be a fun time with workshop sessions through from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
If you've ever wanted to learn more tips and techniques for working with silver clay and how to use enamels to add lovely vibrant colours to your work then don't miss out!!!
This workshop will be packed with great info and ideas for creating your own textures to enamel onto, adding stones to fire in place, decorating the back of your pieces and even adding super extra little finishing details like these fun little snakes on the side of the piece below.
The cost of this workshop includes your hotel stay and food plus you get an amazing 25g of Art Clay Silver to create with! All that for only £399 means it really is an excellent value weekend.
We will all eat together through the weekend so it's a chance for everyone to make new friends as well as learning new techniques. There is also a kit fee of £16 and as part of your kit you will get a range enamel colours ready prepared by me to use on the workshop and you get to take them home with you afterwards so you will be all set to carry on your enamelling adventure at home :D
You'll find all the details in this brochure :D

 This is the program for the weekend. As you can see it will be action packed with never a dull moment! ;)
If you are in Europe you'll find Folkestone is ideally situated right by the Channel Tunnel and there are also regular trains from London that only take around an hour.
I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends and new there :) If you have any questions about it do email me!!
Have fun!
Joy x

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Hidden Lanterns and Joyful Spinners!

I am very excited to be going back over the pond to the USA next month to stay with my good friend, the very wonderful Ann Davis. My flights are all booked and it is only five weeks away!! Ann is a truly amazing and very innovative artist. I always feel so inspired when I stay with her and come back with my head crammed full of new ideas. She has done so many things and is a real fount of all knowledge!!! I always learn new things from her.
While I'm there I will be teaching for 3 days at Ann's studio - La Ruche Davis, near Washington, DC.
First will be a two day Hidden Lantern workshop. These are complex little pendants with lots of exciting techniques to learn. Each side of the hollow pendant is gently curved.  On the one side we will be making textured areas to enamel into. We will also be adding lovely sparkly accent stones.

The reverse of each pendant has pierced out areas in the design. This is why they are Hidden Lanterns ;) 

On two of the pendants 24k gold has been added inside which shines out through the pierced areas and reflects the light when they are worn that way round. The third pendant is a variation with a removable base. This allows for something different to be placed inside to show through. Of course for me that has to be something colourful!! :D

This pendant also has small accent stones set down each side.

One of my favourite parts of these pendants is the tops!!! Each has a different design and loop to hang it with. These really add to the character of each one.

I'll also be teaching a one day Joyful Spinner Rings workshop.
These fun rings are a delight to wear. Hours of twiddling fun with the inner ring freely moving inside the outer channelled one. There'll be lots of stone setting too to give them sparkle.
I've been making lots of examples of them - I love making these!!!

This one even has tiny stones set on the sides for even more sparkle!!!

I can't wait to see what everyone makes on these workshops. One of the things I enjoy so much about teaching is seeing people take an idea and come up with variations that would never even cross my mind!!!
If you want to join us for all the fun do get in touch very soon!! Both workshops are nearly full but there is still a seat or two left at the moment :D I'm looking forward to meeting old friends again and making new ones!!
I know I'll come home having learnt so much too!
Meanwhile - have fun!!
Joy x
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