Friday 24 April 2020

Set A Cab A Month - April 2020

Whoo hoo, I've actually made my challenge piece quite early in the month this time (well for me anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰) !!

Viral Joyfulness © Joy Funnell

I'm sure you can guess my inspiration for this piece!!
This is a happy bug!! 

Here's the creation process...

...this is it in a short video if you don't fancy reading my waffle...

...or for the waffley version read on!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

...I started out making a paper template of a sort of a bug/virus type shape. Then I textured clay on one side only and roughly cut out the shape and dried it.

I wanted each spike (yep, that's technical name - I had to look that one up!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚) to have the same texture as the back but also to be imprinted with a little design that I could enamel into later. I decided the easiest way was to add more clay to each one separately. 

I didn't worry about making it very neat at this stage, I just wanted them all to be on. I did them in batches of three and dried in between each batch so there less chance of the whole piece getting too soggy and breaking as I worked.

I chose a nice amber cab to go in the middle. It's 15mm in diameter and has some interesting little inclusions (maybe they are bugs??? ๐Ÿ˜). 

Next I refined up all the spikes and made it all neat and tidy ๐Ÿ˜‰

I made a thin disc of clay with the same texture on. Once it was dry and refined I added it into the centre as a base for the amber to sit on. As the amber is nice and transparent you can see the texture through the cab.

I wanted a surround for the cab, and also to neaten up the area where the spikes join the centre,  so I rolled out a snake of clay and placed it onto the edge of the disc...

...and then did some squidging to make a design I liked ๐Ÿ˜Š I checked how much space I had around the cab and eyeballed for the shrinkage!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ (Turned out I got it spot on too, I was quite amazed!! ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Once that was all nice and dry I made a little cylinder of teflon sheet to sit in the middle. Then I started to create some little snakey bits to be prongs. My plan had been to add one prong from each spike, so nine in total, but as soon as I added two I realised three pairs would look nicer (less work too!!) so I went with that. 

Then I had to VERY carefully add a couple of loops plus my logo onto the back making sure I didn't break the prongs!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ta dah!!! Finished and ready for the kiln. 

After firing I polished it to make it all nice and shiny...

...and then enamelled the designs on the spikes in blue/green. Happy colours! 

After enamelling I fused 24k gold foil on the centre using the keum boo method so it would reflect nicely under the amber and add richness to the colour.

 I patinated using Liver of Sulphur to make it dark in the recesses with the texture well defined ๐Ÿ˜€ This only affects the silver so the gold stayed nice and bright. 

Then I set the amber cab by placing it into position and carefully pressing each prong inwards to hold the cab firmly in place ๐Ÿ˜Š

Here's little video of the finished piece.... 

I like the simplicity of the back.... you may of noticed (did you?? ๐Ÿ˜Š) all through blog post I haven't actually said what type of jewellery piece this is!!

Well I was thinking pendant as I was making it, then when I finished it...

...I thought brooch!!!

So I'm debating putting some sort of pin through the back loops instead of attaching a chain...

...I have a couple of ideas, and when I decide I'll update you ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚


Have Fun!

Joy x

Monday 13 April 2020

Wooden Texture Stamps!!

I've recently been playing with these lovely textures!!! I saw them a while ago and thought they looked fun. They are made by Sandra and Renรฉ of Metal Clay Shop in Luxembourg. After I asked them about the the textures they very kindly sent me these two designs to have a play with!! Lucky me ๐Ÿ˜Š

They are crisply cut in natural wood and there are five different designs to choose from. Each side of the wood block has the design on so you get the same design in three different sizes. Large on one side and medium and small on the other. 

If you are looking to buy new textures why not try these out, they will post them worldwide! 
AND there's never been a better time than now to support each other in our metal clay community too ๐Ÿ˜Š

Being made of wood you get a nice wood grain texture in the recessed areas of design when impressed onto metal clay. 

Of course, me being me, I wanted to play a bit more than a straight imprint from the textures ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚

I started off with the giraffe.  I wanted to add eyes and also shape the pendant. First I needed something to dry it on so it had a more 3D shape. A spoon seemed perfect so I taped a teaspoon onto a card. 

As I wanted to enamel the pendants I worked in Art Clay Silver 999. 
I rolled the clay out and then textured it on both sides. After using a needle tool to cut out around the giraffe shape I shaped the neck over the handle of the spoon and the head over the back of the bowl. Then I left it to dry on the spoon.
(NOTE - if you have a go at this make sure your spoon is not made of aluminium as that will react with the silver clay and then it won't fire properly ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Once the giraffe was nice and dry I refined the edges and added a disc of clay behind each eye to add thickness. This was so I could use a stone setting burr to set a black fireable stone in place for each eye ๐Ÿ˜Š I also used a baby wipe to wipe very lightly over the texture to just smooth the very top of all the raise parts so they would polish up nicely after firing. 

I also added a bail onto the back of the pendant. 

For the owl I wanted sparkly orange eyes so I added a little disc of clay onto the eye area and carved a little texture onto it. Then I set orange fireable czs in place.

All ready for firing!!! 

Once fired and polished it was time to enamel. 

I went for nice bright colours on each of them...of course!!  ๐Ÿ˜

One rainbow owl...

...and this is the back of the owl...

...and one rainbow-ish giraffe!! 

...and the back of him

I had a lot of fun with these textures. The detail on them is really nice and lovely for enamelling!! They would also be great used with patinas or resins ๐Ÿ˜

I do hope you try them out, and until next time...

have fun!

Joy x

Sunday 12 April 2020

Set A Cab A Month - March 2020

Oops!! Well this is a bit late!!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Medieval Mystery © Joy Funnell

I did actually finish this pendant for the Set A Cab A Month challenge in March... but only just!!! 
Life got a bit hectic so I only started making my piece at about 4pm on 31st March!! ๐Ÿ˜‰There was no way I was going to fail at making a piece for a challenge that I started! It HAD to be done! 

This meant that the idea I had for my March piece was put on hold (watch this space in April for that one!!) and I went searching for something I could make in one evening!! lol

I found a blank ready made silver pendant that I had left over from the ones I made for teaching my Embellish! workshop at YCMI. I'd made a few extra so everyone could choose which textures they wanted, so that was lucky!! 

I fished out some fine silver bezels cups and the plan was to solder them onto the pendant. I have to say I had no real clue what I was doing with this piece and where it was going. I hadn't even looked to see what cabochons to use!! I was just going for it.

I put some paste solder under each bezel cup and heated the piece to solder them on. I was fairly sure I'd be quite lucky if I managed to solder all the bezel cups on in one go...

...and indeed whilst they all looked like the might of flowed the moment of truth is always after they have been in the pickle!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

As expected not all the bezel cups were soldered when I tested each one. Interestingly though I was left with a nice pattern as the larger cups were all firmly attached but only two of the smaller ones were. This immediately made me realise I gone a bit mad with bezel cups anyway to start with, so I just re-soldered one more small one on to even up the design.

Then I made some small spirals of fine silver wire and attached them to the pendant. It made a much nicer design that my original one!! 

So...what to add next...GOLD!
Oh yes, everything is better for a bit of gold!! ๐Ÿ˜€

By now it was running late into the evening as I'd stopped to cook dinner, eat it and watch a bit of TV with hubby!!! Possibly not the best idea but there you go ๐Ÿ˜‚ 

I found a small circle punch to cut out some discs of gold foil...

...which I added by heating the silver and burnishing the gold onto the surface using the Keum Boo method. I like adding gold like this onto spirals. Because the surface of the spiral is very uneven as it won't all fuse on so some bits of gold will come away afterwards. I call this distressed keum boo and I've used it quite a bit in the past!! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜

Next was the fun bit - could I find a nice combination of cabochons. Now I will admit to having a slight panic at this point when I couldn't find any nice 8mm round cabs for the centre stone. However eventually I located a bag with a few in including this nice turquoise. To go with that I choose 3 x 6mm vintage red foil backed Swarovski crystals and 3 x 2mm rose cut (with a faceted top) amethyst cabs. With the gold I thought it made a nice rich colour combination ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Then I debated holes!! Well why not ๐Ÿ˜‰ I marked them out with a pencil first to check I liked the idea...

...then drilled them.

After that I patinated the whole piece to turn all the silver a nice dark colour and give a good contrast with the gold. 

Finally I polished up the pendant a bit and then set all the cabochons. 

I took a few quick photos and managed to post it into the Set a Cab A Month Facebook group at 23.20!!! ๐Ÿ˜… 


I love the combination of the cabs with gold and darkened silver ๐Ÿ˜ƒ 

It's the first time I've used rose cut cabs too and they really catch the light and sparkle. I shall look for more of them  ๐Ÿ˜Š

Until next time....

Have fun!!!

Joy x

PS watch out for a new blog post on some exciting textures coming VERY soon!!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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 ๐Ÿ˜Š

This was very much a 'designed on the hoof' piece!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!! ๐Ÿ˜

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!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ) ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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.  ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜‰

I posted onto Facebook about it and apparently I was not alone!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚
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!!! ๐Ÿ˜

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!! ๐Ÿ˜†

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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!!! ๐Ÿ˜…

Until then...

Have fun!

Joy x
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