Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - July

Here's my ring for July.

The theme for the month was Movement.

I started out thinking about some kind of mechanical movement. A spinner ring maybe? Well I make those and teach them anyway so that wasn't going to be much of a challenge. I couldn't think of any other kind of movement that I wanted to try but at the time I was busy making Tiny Critters!! Aha...a ring with some kind of creature that showed movement could be fun to make! 

Then it was a case of what sort of critter. The animal had to be showing movement so I thought of a hare at full stretch with it's ears back. The legs could be attached to the ring shank. 
Now at this point things got a bit more interesting.... as always I started to Google images to give myself ideas for the shape of the creature...and you know what...I couldn't find any hares running full stretch with their ears back! There were loads of statues and paintings in that pose, but in the photos the ears are upright. Now seriously...that was not going to make a very good design for a ring with the ears stuck straight upwards was it!! lol πŸ˜‚ Can you just imagine!!! πŸ˜‰

Then I saw a photo of a hare jumping down with it's head raised looking up so that it's ears were more backwards towards the body - perfect. I would apply a little artistic licence as to how far back the ears went (so they touched the body πŸ˜‰) and I was good to start making😊

In my quest to use up some part made pieces on this challenge I started out with a part made D ring that I'd been making earlier in the month while teaching. 

I got to work with a file adapting the shape and roughing it up a bit.

My little hare needed something to jump off so I made a little log and fixed it to the ring band...

...and then added some grass like texture to the top part of the ring. 

Next I made my little hare. Here he is sort of finished, but I didn't think he was quite right, then I realised I'd made his head a bit too long...

...so I carved it back a bit and reshaped it, then re-carved the nose onto it. This worked much better to me. So I attached him onto the ring 😊

All in all I was very happy with him, BUT to be fair it was not going to be the most practical ring to wear!!! I liked the idea that he could also be admired as an ornament if he wasn't being worn, so I made a little stand. 

It was very simply made from three pieces. I thought the curved legs would echo the shape of the ring shank and the top texture repeats the grass on the ring. 

The ring just sits nicely into the slot...

...and the ring can sit upright or at a slight angle so you can see the hare better. 

I then fired the ring and the stand and finished them off 😊

Now...what to name the ring. I enjoyed making this one so much I decided on

Jumping for Joy


This wasn't the all that easy to get a good photo of, so I decided to make a little video of the ring too :D 

I've really enjoyed this months challenge and can't wait to see what August will bring us!!

Until then...

Have fun!!

Joy x

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - June

Here is my ring for the Ring A Month 2019 challenge.

The theme for this month was...
Once Upon a Time. 

With such an open theme it should of been easy to think of something to make but my mind was a bit blank on it. Eventually I settled on Somewhere Over the Rainbow as my theme. 

I started out with a part made ring shank that I'd made earlier in the month as a demo. 

For the rainbow I made a solid semi circle...

...and a couple of textured sides. The printed design on the back of my business card is so handy for cutting things like this πŸ˜‰

Once dry I joined the pieces and carved it into an arch shape. I could of cut out more of the arch shape in the wet clay stage but I wanted to try to line up with the texture as accurately as I could so decided to go with this method. 

Then I refined it. 

My original plan had been to have the arc of the rainbow the way up it is in the picture above on the top of the ring, but as I was working I realised I preferred the look of it the other way up πŸ˜€ What the heck -  go with the flow πŸ˜‰

To add the rainbow colours I decided to set 2mm stones onto each side of the rainbow. First I drilled out each setting ready...

Then I attached it to the ring band.... and of course added some birds!!! πŸ˜€

I also added a couple of other things!! 
Every rainbow needs a pot of gold at the end of it...
...and a little silver stone at the other end???....read on... πŸ˜‚

With the stones all set it was ready for the kiln.

After firing and polishing I added the 24k gold into the pot with keum boo method. Then I patinated and repolished it :D 

I was going to add some blue patina onto the birds but having tried it I preferred them silver. 

So my Somewhere Over the Rainbow turned into...

Somewhere Over a Down Under Rainbow!!! πŸ˜‰

But what about that silver stone I hear you ask...

...well every metal clayer needs an unlimited stash of silver clay at the other end of their rainbow don't they??!! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

And for those of you who are wondering - the leprechauns ran away after putting the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!!! πŸ˜‰

Until next time...

Have fun!!

Joy x

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 πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜‰ ...

...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!!! πŸ˜‰

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!!!
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!! ;)

a short advert - lol

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

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