Wednesday 28 January 2015

4/52 - Amorness

This week's challenge piece is mainly about technique. I have been playing with trying to set lots of small stones quickly and easily. So far it is working quite well, but I still need to do a bit more testing and refining. The surface of this piece is a mottled texture.

So here is the piece ready to go into the kiln to be fired. It is made using Art Clay Silver and as you can see it is quite small. After firing the heart shape measures about 23mm x 23mm, and overall including the bail piece is about 32mm high.

I polished it up to make it nice and shiny, and then added an enamelled heart the centre using my Enamelled Accents technique. I had debated putting a black heart into the centre, but bright and happy colours won out!!

Finally I added a chain. This chain is made up of sections of commercial sterling silver chain. Another thing on my challenge list* for the year is using up some of the hundreds of beads I have!! Oh yes, in the past I have been an avid collector of beads, but seldom used them!! I do have rather a large stash :) These little transparent beads are made by the wonderful Laura Sparling. I have LOTS of Laura's beads!!! So I worked out how to put them in place onto the chain without using crimp beads to hold them in place. this is not rocket science, but it is something I haven't been doing before, and I like the result so I plan to do more in the future!! :)

Here is a photo of the back of the piece. I kept it simple with a nice texture, and I didn't really see any place for my JOY logo so I decided not to add it. 

*I don't think I have yet mentioned my challenge list! At the beginning of the year when I decided to undertake this challenge I started writing down techniques and ideas for pieces. The more drawers I looked in the more things I found that I'd bought in the past - always with wonderful intentions for making things!!! - and never used! Don't we all do that??? The list has already grown to over 30 things. Some ideas will be combined and some reused in several pieces over the year - but I really hope to try to get through most of them by December! I'll keep you posted with the progress ;)

Have fun!
Joy x

Saturday 17 January 2015

3/52- Moon Gazer

This weeks challenge piece is a fine silver locket, made using Art Clay Silver. It is enamelled and set with 2mm stones, and also has 24k gold keum boo details. I've called this Moon Gazer.

This is a piece that has been in my mind for a while. On Facebook we have a group called Metal Clay Europe, and we run challenges. The theme of the current challenge is The Sun, the Moon and the Stars. Being one of the admins of the group I am not allowed to enter, but if I was this would be my entry!! :) (BTW if you want to enter the current challenge you have until 31st Jan '15!!!)

The front panel of the locket swings to open...

...and inside are a few hidden gems ;)

It is deep enough to hide something special. At one of the shows I did last year someone suggested my lockets were perfect for keeping a TicTac or two close to hand!! I guess you can keep anything secret in a locket! :)

It is quite small, measuring just 24mm wide by 30 mm high plus the bail.

Finally I added a handmade silver chain. I used to make lots of chains but always left them bright shiny silver. These days I patinate almost everything I make to bring up the textures and make them more pronounced. (Patination is a process of making the piece dark all over, and then polishing back up for the desired effect.) 

It was a logical step to start patinating my chains as well and I am loving the results!

While making this locket I was also working on a new stone setting technique which lets me set stones quickly and easily. I shall be doing more experimenting with that!! 

I realised this week that everything I've made so far this year has been very restrained on the colour palette. When I mentioned that on Facebook several people commented that they liked the results! So you never know, maybe 2015 will be a more colour limited year for me (but I'm sure a few  rainbows will appear sooner or later!!).

Have fun!

Joy x

Saturday 10 January 2015

2/52 - Amberesque

My second challenge piece of the year. I really enjoyed making this one!

I'll be honest, I've had the domed section sitting around for a couple of months. I made it in a fit of enthusiasm having thought of the idea, and then could not settle on how exactly to use it! So there it sat, just looking at me - taunting me to get my brain into gear - lol! :)

I kept picking it up and drawing ideas around but none jelled. Then at last I hit on a shape I thought worked really well for it, and it all came together over the last week. Here is the centre section nearly ready for firing.

And this is the finished pendant. It is quite large, the centre section measures 45mm across. It's made using Art Clay fine silver clay, and has an amber cabochon set into the centre. After firing I added the enamelled areas, and then added lots of 24k gold dots onto the dome by the keum boo method. I have to say they were quite fiddly, and I now know that trying to add 18 gold dots (the number of them around the lower part of the dome!) all at once is pushing my capabilities of fast burnishing to the very limit!! :) Still, I managed it - just!!

Finally I added a patina to give the pendant an antique effect, and then started on the chain.

I knew I wanted to make a chain for it, the problem was what would go with it. I was really pleased with the the final result. The chain is made using a mix of silver wire and silver clay. Every textured link is double sided, so no problems if it turns when you're wearing it! I shall be continuing the chain making through the year to see where I can go with it :D

Due to the shape of the front of the pendant this piece isn't reversible as it wouldn't lay properly that way round. But the back is as important as the front in my view, so I added some nice swirling designs.

I always seem to end up with swirls on everything!!

Joy x

Sunday 4 January 2015

Joyful Jottings!

Something else new for 2015!!
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Saturday 3 January 2015

1/52 - Chinoiserie Dreaming

My first challenge piece of the year. Exciting!!!

I've called this Chinoiserie Dreaming. 

I recently visited the Ming exhibition at The British Museum - it was wonderful, and so very inspiring. I particularly liked the blue and white porcelain flasks which were the inspiration for this piece.

It is quite a large piece measuring approx 40mm x 38mm, and the flask itself weighs in at 35g. I made it using Art Clay Silver. Here's a shot of it before just firing. The piece is reversible with sakura cherry blossom on one side and bamboo on the other.

As it had taken quite a while to make I held my breath while it fired!! (Well not all the time of course, it was firing for quite a long time and I wouldn't be here to tell the tale if I had of done!!) ;)

Once fired it was polished and enamelled, I was keen to come up with a technique that gave the impression of the blue and white porcelain. I was fairly happy with how it went.

After a great debate (with myself!) as to what to hang it on (silver chain?? red silk cord???) I eventually settled on making a silver chain with metal clay elements added in, and dyed sea bamboo beads to give a nice colour accent. I gave the chain a nice antique look to match in with the flask. 

Making chains for my pieces is one of the things I will be concentrating on a lot more this year. Before I ever encountered silver clay I made loads of chains. It's time to incorporate them back into my work :)

I had great fun making this piece, but there was an ulterior motive to it as well. This will be a new teaching project for me. 

So...anyone up for making a Ming vase??? :)

Have fun!

Joy xxx

Happy New Year!

2015 already!!! 
2014 certainly seemed to go by quickly didn't it.

So...a new year, a new challenge.

I've decided to set myself lots of aims for 2015, and this is one of them!

Each week I'll make a new piece and post all about it here on my blog. 

As I wasn't a very good blogger in 2014 I will also be adding blog posts about some things I made last year, and what I am up to.

So... course laid in...ENGAGE!!! ;)

Watch this space!!!

Joy x
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