Saturday 29 August 2015

30/52 Claricity

A while ago I bought a couple of little carved fluorite bowls from my local stone shop in Hastings - Stonecorner

Actually it is rather dangerous me going anywhere near that shop as I always seem to come away with things I didn't go in for!! :)

Anyway...the plan was to make a stand for each bowl, and this week I've made the first one. Well that isn't quite true, last week I started making the first one for the other bowl, and then managed to break it before it was finished!! So that one is back to the drawing board!!

The stand is fine silver, made using Art Clay Silver, and I wanted a slightly rustic aged look to it. I was trying for a medieval feel - not sure if I succeeded, but I do like the result. The little bowl sit nicely on the top of the stand.

The fluorite bowl measures 42mm x 48mm and is 18mm high. The silver stand is 42mm high. To try to give a sense of scale I took a photo of me holding the bowl next to the stand :)

I made the three legs of the stand curved at each end and then adjusted the shape of the top prongs after firing so the bowl sat safely. Of course I forgot to photograph it before I did that!

As well as the twisted 'rope' of silver holding the legs together there is a tiny silver ball set on each side of it. This gives extra strength as well as a design detail :)

I really enjoyed making this, it is always fun to do something non-jewellery.

Now I need to start the second - again!! :)

Have fun!

Joy x

Tuesday 18 August 2015

29/52 Tideland-esque

This challenge piece follows straight on from my last one 28/52 Rainbow Ripple, using the same techniques for creating unique textures to enamel onto.

I think this one is my favourite of the two. It is made using fine silver and the 2mm and 3mm stones are set into seashell bases. 

For this one I did a bit of bead stringing. The beads would, of course, look a much better colour photographed on a white background! But the black background makes a much better contrast with the enamel! Oh the trials and tribulations of photographing your own work!! lol :D

I'll be teaching this technique in April next year at Craftworx in Yorkshire and I'm really looking forward to it :)

Creative Doodles for Enamelling :D

Have fun!

Joy x

28/52 Rainbow Ripple

For this challenge piece I've been working on creating unique textures in metal clay for enamelling onto. I had a lot of fun with this! 

I started out with a few practise pieces to see how the idea looked. I liked the effect in this one below (OK so don't even ask why it is that weird shape - that's what happens when you re-purpose something you broke on another occasion ;) )

For this piece I went with more of a swirling design. It is fine silver with enamel and set with 2mm orange CZs and 3mm black spinel stones all around it.


On the back I added decoration with silver shapes. The centre round has one of my own textures on it (and I now have a heap of my own textures sitting in front of me waiting to be listed on my website!! :) ).

Once it was fired and finished I made a handmade silver chain to go with it. Each link has a hematite bead which I thought blended in with the black spinel well. 

I've had these hematite beads for ages, but they are magnetic and a right pain to try to use! So following on from my success at demagnetising steel shot a few weeks ago I placed the beads onto a ceramic pad and covered them with some ceramic fibre, then put them into a preheated kiln at 800c for 5 minutes. I took them straight out and left them to cool with the ceramic fibre over them and yes, they were no longer magnetised!! Yay!! 

I've already made a second piece along these lines and I'll be posting it very soon!! :D

Have fun!

Joy x

Monday 10 August 2015

27/52 A Touch of Silver

I recently saw a product advertised which piqued my interest! It is made by HS Walsh here in the UK and is a Silver Plating Solution. Apparently all you do is rub it on and it adds silver to the surface. Whilst this seems to be mainly marketed for tarting up items of worn silver plate the fact that it said it could be used on any base metal got me interested. I wondered how well it would work on fired bronze clay :)

I sorted out 4 pieces made using Goldie Bronze to have a play with. 

As these had been sitting around a while the first thing I did was polish them up to shiny, shiny :)
(You can tell they are now shiny as you can see me holding the camera reflected on the angel ;) )

The instructions said I needed a soft cloth and some rubber gloves so my hands didn't go black. I was good to go!

I started out on the angel. Applied the solution liberally and rubbed...and applied and rubbed...and applied and rubbed...well you get the idea. A lot of elbow grease later and the angel was a little bit silvery - not what I had hoped for. Then I went onto the stone set ring working on the topper. Same thing. Definitely a lighter colour but not really silver. That stone set ring was made using a RingCore and guess what - as soon as I applied some solution onto the inside of the ring band it went silver straight away!!

Yup - it was one of those 'duh' moments. Of course. The RingCore was not metal clay so was not porous! Even though I had polished the pieces up really well using 3M Radial Bristle brushes and they were nice and shiny I had not used anything that was going to really seal the pores in the metal. 

So I got out my agate burnisher and burnished the surface of the cross really well. When I used the solution on it in just two applications the cross was really nice and silvery looking! Success!!

I left the square ring plain bronze to try to show the difference. Not easy to capture in a photo but hopefully you can see the difference.

I think this Silver Plating Solution gives a nice option for a quick silvery finish on base metal, and it is supposed to help prevent tarnishing. I'll leave these pieces out and report back on that in due time.

So there you have it - if you want a fast silvery look to your base metal clay make sure you burnish REALLY well :)

Have fun!

Joy x

26/52 Precious

I am absolutely delighted that my necklace 'Precious' has won the Grand Prix Award in the Silver Accessories Contest 2015 in Japan!!! You can see all the award winning work on the website :)


The full title of the award is
Award of Minister's encouragement at the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Grand Prix)

How wonderful is that!!! :)

I really was speechless when I was told I had won (and that doesn't often happen!! :) ) - not least because the piece so nearly didn't even get entered. It took me longer to create than any other piece I've made and I encountered an assortment of problems in the process and very nearly gave up on it. 

But I have a song that I love with very special wording...

'When you're doing what you love
And loving what you do
You won't start nothing
That you don't see through.
You've gotta have patience
And a whole lot of faith...'

...and I am so glad I did have patience and faith, and got there. I learnt new skills and overcame the problems and in the end I managed to get it posted on the very last day for the deadline! Phew!!

The necklace is made using Art Clay Silver and the textures are my own designs. The idea was to make two very contrasting sides to the necklace. I pierced out areas on one side and all around the edges of the piece.

On the side for enamelling I carved textures into the cells. On the other side I added 2mm lab rubies.

Then I added 3mm lab garnets on the reverse of the side to be enamelled.

Here is the piece nearly ready to go into the kiln. 

 Of course I meant to carry on taking photos all the way through making the piece, but with time getting short I was concentrating on finishing - and totally forgot to take any more photos until I had completed it!! :)

The entry forms asks for a description of the piece. These are my thoughts and the concept of it...

A reversible pendant showing two different sides of human characteristics.

A joyful, happy front faces outwards. The rigid lines are softened by the muted warm colours and the brighter crisper cool colours. The gold highlights sparkle and are partially worn away as if aged with time. A relaxed and comfortable feeling.

Facing inwards is a steely grey semi-organic cage surrounding a heart of gold. Bright gemstones show passion. A strong will with kindness and determination.  

Life changes daily. Sometimes the joyfulness is hidden inwards and then the heart of gold shines out brightly to the world. 

Once the piece was fired I added 24k gold and enamelled it. Finally I made some enamelled chain links interspersed with twisted chain links, and an enamelled clasp.

Making this piece did turn into a labour of determination mixed with a passion to finish it! :)

In October this year there will be an exhibition in Tokyo of all the entries and an awards ceremony, and I think I just might be there!!! ;)

Have fun!

Joy x

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