Friday, 31 May 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - May

 

This is my May ring for the Ring A Month Challenge 2019. 

For May the theme set was
MIXED, which meant using at least two materials in the ring.

I'd been cogitating on this all month, an assortment of ideas going through my mind, and then when I got as far as making it on 30th May I went back to the very first idea I'd had!!! I should of just gone for it at the start of the month!! lol 😊

This month I tried to get back to using up some ready made pieces that I have laying around as this was my personal challenge to myself for the whole year. 


I found a rather iffy looking plain ring band (it was my ring size though - how convenient!! ;) ) and a tiny little textured disc to start off. My plan was to rivet a bead to a ring. Whilst I do riveting I've never riveted a bead onto a ring before so that was a new challenge for me :D I thought a red bead would work and I found a little one made of dyed marble.

Next I made a little disc shaped piece of clay with a radiating texture on one side that the bead would be set into. I dried it on a small former to make a little cup. 


While the cup was drying I refined the ring band and made it look a big more respectable!! Then I wrapped a layer of texture around the plain band. 


When the little cup was dry I carved the edges. 


I also carved the tiny disc of clay into a flower shape, neatened everything up and drilled some holes for the rivet. 


I wanted something to go between the cup and the ring band and found a nice carved little washer already made - perfect!!! 


It would sit under the cup like this. 

I attached the washer to the ring band first...


....and then added the cup using syringe and dried everything well.


I drilled right through the band so the hole would be ready for the rivet after the ring was fired. 
Then it was off to the kiln for firing :D


After firing I made a wire rivet with a tiny head on one end and fitted it so the head was inside the ring band. At this point I was debating a little spacer between the bead and the cup. I started to have a play with options to see what I liked. 

Of course then I also started to change my mind about the red bead. More on that in a minute!!

First I added a bit of gold using the keum boo method to fuse the gold to the silver. 


Then I patinated the ring leaving the inside of the cup bright shiny silver. 



There was a good reason for this!! 
Earlier when playing around with how the ring would look I picked up a transparent amber bead that was laying around - and immediately I knew it just had to be!!! ;) 

The red looked nice....


.... but WOW - the amber bead just totally popped!!! 



This lovely bead is a handmade glass bead made by the super talented Laura Sparling - Beads by Laura :D

All that was left to do was to rivet the bead and little flower into place. 

I prefer to use a ball headed hammer for riveting and I placed the ring onto a little
anvil to support it while gently tapping the trimmed wire down so it blended into the centre of the flower and held everything firmly together. 


And here is the finished ring...




When the light hits the bead the gold reflects through it and the silver shines amber colours around it making it look like the amber is almost liquid at times. It's not easy to show it in the photos very well!!

I think it's a very happy ring 😊

Here's a little video to try to show the effect better...


I've called the ring
Liquid Amber...

...but my good friend Ann Davis says it looks almost like jelly - and I think she's right!! lol

Until next time...

Have fun!!

Joy x






Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - April

Oh boy, this month's ring was running it fine!!

I'd been thinking about it all month but everything got so busy and suddenly it was the 30th!! 

The theme for the month was 'Inspired by Nature'.

Actually I have made several rings this month including one for my new online workshop Pazazzy Rings - but more on that at the end of the post. 

However, I hadn't made anything especially for the challenge and I wasn't going to fall at only the fourth hurdle of the year so this morning I set myself a real challenge!

I knew all month I wanted to make a ring with a flower (preferably a red flower!)  but I hadn't got as far as coming up with a firm idea.

Part of my challenge to myself for the year was to try to use up some of the bits and pieces I had laying around so this morning I went on a rummage. I found a ring band with a texture already round it so that was a good start. Then I found a bezel setting that was a couple of years old I think! I made it using the new bezel mould from Aida that I bought at the first YCMI metal clay conference in 2017 and it had never got any further than a straight moulded bit of clay!


Today was super busy with lots to do so I gave myself a 30 mins max slot to turn the bezel into a flower shape. 

This turned out to be quite liberating!!!! I set about it in gung-ho fashion and really enjoyed myself 😉

First I divided it into 5 sections and carved grooves...


..then I started to round off each section to make them a bit petal shaped...


...working my way around the setting...


..until it was flower shape-ish! 😉 ...


...then to choose a stone.

OK, I knew I wanted red, but was I nearly distracted with super sparkly white! I stuck to my guns though and went with red.


I tried sizing up the flower setting straight onto the band but it seemed like it needed something else. 
I found some rolled out plain clay that was only .25mm/1 card thick and cut out some little leaves with a tiny punch...


...then I found a disc of clay with a texture on one side and added the leaves to the plain side.  Yes, I know it's starting to  look a bit like a holly wreath at this point but bear with me...


... I smoothed off the leaf points and used a tiny ball burnisher to add some leaf veins...


...then it was assembly time. 

Note the super useful sponge - cheap sponges make the best customise-able stands for all manner of things!!! 😉

I used syringe clay to join everything. 
First the leaf plate to the ring band...


...then the petal setting to the ring. 


Now at this point I'd guessed what size stone to put into the bezel as I hadn't checked, and normally I use a stone setting burr to make sure I get a really good fit for the stone.

Today with not much time I was working on more of a wing and a prayer!! I wetted the inside of the setting and settled in my stone hoping it would work! As it was in a totally sloping sided setting there was a chance the shrinkage as the clay fired would just push the stone straight out of the top of it without ever gripping it into place but I went for it! 


So I was super happy that the stone fired into place and held!!!
YAY!!!
Here is the ring after firing. 
I then hit it with a hammer a bit to just curl the tips of the petals over slightly (and to see if the stone fell out!! - it didn't) . 


I wanted to add a little more depth to the ring so I added some Vintaj Patinas for a touch of colour on the petals and leaves.





I started out with some pre-made elements and it didn't take more than 45 mins from the start to get it ready for the kiln, and then a bit of finishing.

All in all for a last minute panic I'm very happy with it!!

But next month I plan to try to put more effort into my Ring a Month - honest!! ;)

Now...
a short advert - lol

PAZAZZY RINGS
I'm teaching an online workshop on Saturday 4th May on CraftCast  for making Pazazzy Rings plus a pendant variation. This workshop is still available anytime afterwards as a recording and you can re-watch as many times as you want!! D

These are examples of the rings...



...and a pendant variation...



I hope you can join me for the workshop!! :D 

Have fun!

Joy x


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

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