Sunday 25 April 2010

Textured Heart Tutorial

I have decided to try to do an occassional tutorial on my blog. So here we go with the first one. If like me you end up with quite a bit of less than perfect paste from the odd scraps then this is an ideal project to use it up. Above are two examples of pendants made using this technique. here are the instructions for the heart.

Make a shape using cork clay and put in a cocktail stick into it while still wet so the shape is easy to handle. Dry thoroughly. Cork is best left to dry naturally for at least 48 hours. For this project I have made a heart shape.

Use Art Clay Silver paste. Paint on the first coat thickly making sure you leave a hole at the top and bottom of the bead. Dry. If you use a hairdryer for about 5 minutes and then finish drying over a hot plate you can get a reticulated style effect on the surface as the top skin dries faster than the paste underneath. Try varying the times to see what different effect you can get.

Repeat for 4 or 5 thick coats until you have at least 1mm thickness and dry thoroughly.

Roll out Art Clay Silver to .75mm thick (3 cards). Cut two shapes to go over the bead holes and another shape for decoration if you want.

Cut a smaller hole with a straw or a hole cutter out of the centre of the bead hole covers. You could texture the shapes when you roll the clay out or use something to add texure afterwards.

Add the first bead cover using a little water on the surface of the bead where you are going to place the circle and also some syringe to attach it, then remove the cocktail stick and repeat on the other side of the bead for the second one. I have used a ball point burnisher on the circles while still wet to decorate them.

Add the decorative shape if using. I have used a cocktail stick to add lines to the heart decoration and made a small depression with the ball burnisher to add a stone later. Dry thoroughly.

To set a fireable stone (I used a 3mm ruby CZ) extrude a small amount of syringe into the recess made earlier and gently press the stone into it to create a bezel. Dry.

Refine your piece making sure you have no sharp edges anywhere and make sure you are completely happy with it before firing.

Fire your piece and polish up. Use Liver of Sulphur to patinate to bring up the texture on the surface and then polish up to a nice shine.

Ball up a piece of fine silver wire (I used 1.5mm diameter wire) to make a headpin or use a commercial headpin and wire wrap your pendant to make a loop to hang it from.

Add a chain and sit back and admire your work.

I hope you enjoy having a play with this.

DON'T FORGET my blog giveaway. You need to leave a coment under the blog post all about it here to be in with a chance of winning!

Sunday 18 April 2010

Super Duper Bloggy Giveaway

It here at long last! My Super Duper Bloggy Giveaway. I know - silly name, but whatever.

The prize consists of a two items that I brought back from Japan with me plus a pendant. There is a lovely postcard of cherry blossom to give you a bit of design inspiration, a set of Japanese stickers which can be used on a mobile phone or anywhere you fancy sticking them (so to speak!) and a solid silver pendant made by me with a nice contasting textured effect. I chose this pendant especially as I think it is quite unisex.

Here are a couple of close ups.

This is the pendant - it measures approx 20mm x 20mm ...

and these are the stickers. I expect you are going to ask me what does it say? The answer - no idea!
So if I have any Japanese speaking readers PLEASE leave me the answer below in the comments section (preferably in English!). It would be much appreciated :) I really hope it says something nice!

To enter all you have to do is leave me a comment below this article in my blog and if you do not already follow my blog it would be really nice if you added yourself in to the followers on the right hand side.

In case you are stuck for something to say I would like you to suggest a name for my hamster. I think of my hamster as a boy by the way.

The winner will be drawn totally at random so if you want to say something else in your comment that is fine too, but if I decide I really like one of the hamster names I will give that person a little surprise gift so there is an incentive.

Only one comment per person please and I will post this prize to the winner no matter where is the world you are.

The giveaway will close on 7pm on Monday May 3rd which is a holiday here in the UK and I will draw one lucky winner.  Please feel free to tell anyone you want about it.

Thursday 15 April 2010

What a Busy Time

I'm back!

Oh.. ok you don't even know where I have been. I spent the last weekend at the Guild of Enamellers conference in Nottingham and we had a great time. My good friend Lynne Glazzard was Chairman and she did a grand job. Thanks Lynne.

We had Dice and Mr Ueeda over from Japan, thanks to Aida Chemicals who make Art Clay Silver, doing a workshop and the Masterclass, I had an Art Clay stand, I met up with loads of wonderful people that I only see once a year and all in all it was fab!! I just wish these happy times would last longer :) Phew - I needed a day or two to recover.

I made a great piece on the workshop and once I have photographed it I will post it here.

Back to reality now. The piece above is one that I made on the first week of the Hot Houses in Hastings. I was just sitting playing really. It is a pendant with a bail on the back and I had fun adding all the different textures and then the stones which are 2mm CZs set in syringe. It is nice to make something interesting when you are demonstrating.

The GOOD NEWS - watch this space in the next couple of days as I am about to start a giveaway!!

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Sakura Enamelled

If you read my blog regularly then you will recall a couple of weeks ago I posted a tiny bowl that I made which was patinated with Liver of Sulphur. I promised I was going to enamel it and, guess what, I have!

Here is a photo of it above. I was a bit worried about this as I thought it was not going to look as nice as it did with the patination but actually I am really pleased with the result. It is a sort of mottled red/orange colour - I did not want just a flat even colour.

Here is the before photo and you can see the original blog post about it here.

So what do you think? Which one do you prefer?

The full results of the Art Clay Silver Accessories competion are now up on the website so you can see all the winning entries here. I suggest you use google of something similar to translate the page.

I thought I would give you a few figures on the competition. They received over 5000 entries. First judging narrowed it down to 647 entries. These form the touring exhibition in Japan and from these entries the final judging awarded 34 winners of which 8 are overseas and the remainder are in Japan.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Whoo Hoo AGAIN!!

Yesterday I received some really fantastic news.

Back in January when I went a bit quiet on my blog here it was because I was busy making a competition entry for the International Silver Accessories Competition run by Aida Chemicals, the makers of Art Clay Silver,  in Japan.

It is another of my mask pendants called Spirito di Venezia. I am so excited as I have been awarded an Honourable Mention for it!!

All the winning entries will be up on their website later this week so I will post a link to it then.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Down the Drain!

Yes, yes, I know, this was the opening picture in my last blog post, but I wanted to tell you something sort of funny and nice about it.

Just before I posted about this piece on here I was on the phone talking to my good friend Lynne Glazzard and emailed the picture through to her to look at. Her reaction? Oh a drain cover!!! Now you may think that was a bit unflattering about it but I was delighted as it had not occurred to me.

Lynne was one of the people I went to Japan with recently and while there we kept seeing these wonderful drain covers. This is the one she was thinking of. We found it on a path through all the lovely blossom trees and sprinkled with petals that were blowing gently around.
We saw quite a few of them and probably walked over others without noticing as we were so busy looking at all the lovely things around us.

Here are some more of the ones I did spot. There is such fantastic attention to detail in Japan. I can't imagine us taking the time to do this here.

I am just off to start Hastings Hot Houses so if you are coming to Hastings please do come by and say hello.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Japanese Memories

Here is another new piece I have just finished. It is called Japanese Memories (you can probably guess why:) ! )

It is made using Art Clay Silver and is approx 33mm across. The colour is a Liver of Sulphur patina. To get these colours I made a solution of Liver of Sulphur in hot coffee instead of water and once I got a deep golden colour I rinsed and dried the piece and then gently heated with a torch.

The colour changes happen really quickly so experiment and see what you can come up with.

Hastings Hot Houses

I am taking part in the Hastings Hot Houses which is on over Easter and the following weekend. I shall be at the house in person all over Easter so please do come along and say hello. I am in 4 Dudley Road Hastings. You can read all the info about the Hot Houses Trail and all the great crafts in the houses on the website here. The weather forecast is not so good so what better way to spend the break.

Here is our official invite from all at 4 Dudley Road

Dear Friend

You are warmly invited to our creative Hot House this Easter at 4 Dudley Road, Hastings.

You’ll find a wonderful display of smoke fired ceramics, life size cattle portraits, enigmatic paintings,
stylish knitwear alongside exquisite hand-made jewellery – all for sale at attractive prices.

And, with every purchase, you will be entered into our free raffle to win an original art work.

Easter 2010

April 3rd, 10th, 11th Open 11am - 5pm
April 4th, 5th Open 11am - 4pm
at 4 Dudley Road, Hastings.
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