Sunday 29 December 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - December

This is my ring for December for the Ring a Month Challenge 2019.

This is 
Jimbug © Joy Funnell

The theme for the month was Creatures.

This is quite a long winded post - you have been warned!! 😉

When I started on this challenge in January 2019 one of my personal things was to try to use left over elements that I have already laying around. I've managed this with varying success over the months. This month I'm pleased to say that apart from the ring band all the elements were pre-made pieces of clay I had laying around 😀

There's a little story to the main element that sparked my idea for this ring. In November I was teaching a 1-2-1 workshop and we were making Christmas decorations. The main thing to be made was a teddy bear (which was very successful I would add), but during the day I was playing with one or two other ideas my workshop attendee had had while she was working on teddy. One was a snowdrop. I made a little template up and cut out a piece of textured clay to form into a flower shape. In the process of mucking about with it I laid it down and we both said - oh look - a cricket!! 😂

I left it on one side to dry as the shape was quite nice. 

When the theme for the December ring was announced I immediately thought of the little bug shape. 

All year through this challenge I've wanted to do at least one ring with a cabochon (cab) in it. 

I've had this ammolite cab for ages - it has gorgeous colours but the finish is not top quality - there again I was given it as a freebie with some other stones I bought so I can't complain 😉 

I realised it was a perfect size and shape for my little bug so I set about creating!!

In order to fit the cab into the wing shapes so it could be the body of the bug the first thing I did was to remove the bottom 'petal'. Then I found an old piece of textured clay I could make a base from. It was quite big...

...and had been used for practising creating textures on various workshops in the past on the reverse!!! As that side wouldn't be seen that didn't matter. I laid the wings onto it, drew out the rough shape I wanted and then scored the clay. 

After scoring it was easy to gently bend the clay and break away all the excess, much quicker than cutting it back or filing 😊

I fixed the wings to the new base and dried it...

...and then added the original 'petal' base plate back in as that would be the support for the cab to sit on.

From my box of dried bits of clay I found two pieces for eyes and some curly bits!! lol

These were added and my little Jimbug was starting to come to life 😊

The textured surface of the head suggested a natural little smiling mouth so I just went with it and emphasised it more. 

He was very cute sitting on my fingers 😂

Now I needed a ring band. I didn't have one made in my size so I had a good think of something different I could do. I rolled out a snake of clay using the Rollmakers (if you previously missed seeing what Rollmakers are check out this blog post 😉).
After rolling the snake I then flattened it to a thickness of 2mm (8 cards). It gave a nice effect and I'll use this again. I wrapped it onto a ring mandrel and joined the ends. 

I neatened the join and then added little Jimbug onto the band.

Once he was nice and dry he was already for firing. I like to fire rings with large topper elements standing upright supported by a bit of fibre wool.

Once he was fired and cooled I used pliers to adjust his wings so the cab would easily slide into place. 

I polished up the silver and patinated it to give a nice contrast in the textures and make them stand out. 

Finally I set the Ammolite cab into place. To be sure it would be really safe I used a little glue under it and then I gently bent the wings in tightly to hold the cab in place. I don't think the cab would of fallen out without the glue but it would of wobbled a bit and I wanted it to be nice and firmly in position. 

And so Jimbug was finally ready!!

Depending on the angle of the light the Ammolite cab shines reds, yellows and greens. 

I've made a little video of him to give you a better idea of the colours in the cab 😀

So that's it - the twelfth ring!!! 

I've really enjoyed this challenge and I've definitely made some pieces I would never of dreamt of back in January.

I was thinking of what to do next year and a couple of weeks ago (after I had already started making this piece) I had an idea to start a challenge to
Set a Cab a Month in 2020.

I've created a Facebook group for that and asked if anyone wanted to join me - and we already have nearly 250 members!! Wonderful 😊

This ring is the perfect crossover from making a Ring a Month to getting ready to start my Setting a Cab a Month challenge. Please do join in next years challenge if you want to :D

So until next time...
Have Fun!!

Joy x

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - November

This is my November ring for the Ring a Month Challenge 2019.

The theme for the month was Gemstones.

This is 
Rainbow Doughnuts 😁

Why Doughnuts I hear you ask??
Well I'd bought some super whizzy new moulds for making tiny embellishments and this particular mould makes little open circles. In talking to someone about them they said I could make lots of baby doughnuts!! lol It seemed like a good name to use!!😉

The moulds are made by Cool Tools in the USA (so they are molds and not moulds - lol) and are available here in the UK from Metal Clay Ltd  (at which point they become moulds!!!). 😂

First of all I made a load of little embellishments using Art Clay Silver 999. The clay is pressed into the mould and left to dry. Then the little shapes can be popped out. 

Then I made a flat ring band. As I hadn't really worked out my design in advance I went with a very wide band...

...then I played around with the doughnuts until I found a design I liked. Of course if I had done this part first I could of made the band the right size to start with, but hey, why make life easy 😉

I carefully measured up and worked out that the design should fit quite nicely around the ring so then I started to add the doughnuts to the flat band. I used water to join them...

...and continued around the ring - and it worked out right!! Phew! 😌

Then I started to remove all the excess silver clay...

...working around both edges of the ring first with a scalpel.

I used files and baby wipes to refine the design close to the edges of the doughnuts and neaten it all up. 

Next was choosing which stone colours to use. I LOVE this bit!!! 😊 Should I go with the small stones in differing colour pairs or..

....the same in each pair. I liked this second option better. The stones are 2mm and 4mm and are a mix of lab grown, nano and CZs. They are all fire-able. 

I drilled out the centre of each doughnut and used stone setting burrs to make the seat for each stone.

Arguably I could of made this ring using my usual method of creating stone settings, but I like that each setting is rounded on the top so this does give a different look. 

I set all the stones into place

Lots of different colour combos

all around the band 😊

I was pleased with the end result. 

Turned out it wasn't the easiest ring to photograph though!! lol

So now we have made 11 of the 12 rings for the year long challenge.

Only 1 ring left to go!!!

Have fun!

Joy x

Friday 1 November 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - October

This is my ring for the Ring a Month Challenge 2019

The theme for October was
Inspired by the Seasons 

I decided to go with a Spring themed ring 😀 

This month I was running it really close on time - I only started my ring on the 31st but I did manage to get some photos posted before the end of the day!! lol

First I made the topper for the ring. The lovely pink CZ pear shaped stones are 5mm x 3mm so quite tiny. 

As the ring has a Japanese feel to it I went with a weave pattern on my textured band that I thought looked like it went with it!! 😉

Then I carved the band so it had wavy edges.

To add more colour and sparkle I added some 2mm stones, and then I carved the edges of the topper to match in with the ring band 😃

To join the two pieces together I used a element made using the Roll Makers that I already had made. 

Finally I added a little more detail into the main blossom flower to bring the stones together more. 

Then the ring was ready to be fired!!!

I finished the ring off with more of a satin texture which I like the look of. It's not a finish that I use much but maybe I'll use it more now as I liked the effect it gave. 

One of the things I was interested to see was how the surface went during firing where the blossom was. It domed very slightly around the stones and gave a good effect.

I was very happy with how this ring turned out!!! 😀 

I think there are some nice techniques in this ring that are handy to learn including how to set round and odd shaped stones, so I'll be teaching this workshop next year at Creative Glass in Rochester, UK, on Friday 7th February 2020. 

Bookings will be open next week for the workshop!! :D

That's ten rings down in the year long challenge and only two left to do!!

Until next time...

Have fun!!

Joy x

Saturday 28 September 2019

Ring a Month 2019 - September

This is my ring for September.

The theme was 'Finish It'

This is Rainbow Nova 😊

My first question for this month was what shall I finish??? 
I had a good look around and I did have two rings that were unfinished, but as they were both really close to being done I decided I wanted to do something that was more of a challenge! 

Instead I looked around at the various bits and pieces I had and decided to use up some of these discs to make a stone setting to go onto a ring. 

First I played around trying out different designs to go onto a ring band.... 

...and once I had a bit of an idea I started to refine each disc and turn it into a stone setting using drill bits and stone setting burrs.

This is the design and choice of stones I settled on. 

My original plan was to fix the settings directly onto the ring band so I made a wide plain ring....

...then I added a texture and refined the shape up.

Then I had a change of plan!! 😂
I decided to make the stone settings into a separate piece to sit onto the ring band. This was a first for me, a variation on a theme so to speak!! 😉 

I've made lots of this type of setting before but I've never made a curved one to fit onto a ring band, normally I make them flat. 

I adjusted the ring band so the stone setting would sit with the smaller stones sitting out wider than the band, so my very wide band was now much narrower (and I have a nice heap of ready powdered clay for reconstituting!!😂) .

I was really pleased with the result! 
The setting fitted nice and snugly against the ring band.

Advert Alert!!! 😉
If you want to know how to make a ring with a multiple stone setting and texture wrap check out my Pazazzy Rings CraftCast workshop!! 

OK, advert over - lol

Then I set the stones into their settings as they would all be fired in place. They range from 2mm to 5mm. The green stones are nano and the blue are lab sapphires, the rest are CZs. 

Super pretty rainbow colours!! 🌈

I've tried various methods of firing rings with stones in and my current favourite method is to sit the ring upright supported loosely by ceramic fibre wool. If you use this method be sure to allow room for the shrinkage so don't pack the centre of the ring with wool. As the ring fires there's a bit of distortion from the weight of the stone setting but it's super easy to correct on a ring mandrel. 

I think this one is a keeper!! 
My Rainbow Nova is on my finger sparkling away as I type 😉😊

I have to admit I did make this one with me in mind so I added a nice spirally texture around the ring band!! 

 If you are interested in having a similar ring made for you just let me know!

So we are now 9 rings out of 12 made!! 
The year is flying along. 

Until next time...

Have Fun!!

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