14. I use a size 8 form to make my core. Make a size guide with a strip of paper. Roll out and texture a 2 card thin strip of EZ960; the width should be what is needed for the core and long enough to get a slight overlap when wrapped around the ring form.
15. For forming, wrap the textured strip around a larger (forming) ring core with a paper overlay, overlapping the ends, textured side in. Make a diagonal cut through the strip, then score and slip to join the two edges together.
Set aside to dry, then refine the seam and edges if needed. Before firing, be sure to look for any small cracks and repair with thick slip or clay as needed.
16. Place the inner ring on the desired finished size (sz 6) ring core and fire.
After firing, use a brass brush or fine sand paper to lightly polish the fired core.
18. If needed, file the edges of the core to be a bit more flush with the ring stack.
19. Patina with liver of sulfur and finish by polishing with fine sand paper.
For a more complex design, consider making additional layers with resin.
Caveats and side notes on creating the Strata ring: One of my questions about working with the new EZ960 was whether it would lend itself to forging and using as the core rivet in my design. Turns out, it has similar forging limits to other versions of metal clay.
My first ring design had a much wider core with a more irregular “wafting” edge. This core was also a bit thicker. As I gently hammered to flange out the core, it began to split and crack. The core had shifted as well and wasn’t evenly set on both sides.
Always being one to look at errors as opportunities, I kept working on the core. I got the edges flat and then filed down all the snaggy bits.
I also seriously underestimated the starting size for the ring and ended up with a size 4 ½ instead of the size 6. But that’s what test pieces are all about!
I love the look of this piece as it very much fits my urban primitive aesthetic, but decided as a teaching project I would make another, more traditional looking ring.
For the second attempt, I corrected the sizing and also made the core thinner. Everything seemed to be working as planned. But as I was flanging out the inner core, a couple of cracks began to show. I filed down the edges and continued to hammer only to realize one of the outer rings had cracked. It must have happened before firing without my noticing as I’m sure the core setting process wouldn’t have caused the crack.
Undeterred, I once again chose to look at my error as an opportunity. I pulled out my super thick PMC3 lavender slip paste and filled in the crack in the ring and also the small cracks along the edge of the core. I fired the repairs at a lower temp of 1200F for 1 hour so as not to damage the sterling silver tube rivet. I had to do two rounds of “spackling” and firing to fill the gap, but I’m quite pleased with the results.
So when a project doesn’t quite go the way I originally planned, I don’t despair amid the lemons. I see those lemons as pure potential to make something more interesting … like lemon chiffon pie or lemon mousse or lemon custard!
About the Artist:
Above all else, I am a maker … my life’s passion, my raison d’être. Supporting and defining that passion is my craving for simplicity, simplicity and finely crafted wares created with equally fine ingredients. From my home and its décor, my clothing and shoes, to the food I eat and the dishes and glassware on which it is served, in all things, lovingly wrought simplicity.
So, it’s really no surprise that my jewelry and design philosophy is an extension of that craving. While pondering all of this, and being the visually oriented person that I am, I began to think of my design philosophy as a house constructed by a trio of inspirations. There is a solid foundation of “God is in the details,” thank you, Mies van der Rohe, with walls informed by Occam’s Razor (I paraphrase) “the simplest answer is usually the best answer”, all under an exquisitely imperfect wabi-sabi roof.
A beautiful structure that translates into jewelry and accessories that are free of superfluous details, grounded in a rugged simplicity, comfortable, effortless.
I started making jewelry in 1994 and through the years I’ve assimilated a diverse range of influences and interests into a distinctive jewelry style that I call Urban Primitive. I’m primarily self-taught via lots of how-to books and seem to have a gift for design and composition. For close to 20 years, my primary medium has been fine silver PMC. I began working with the original PMC in 1998 and it was love at first touch. My favorite thing about metal clay is how I can form each component by hand, pinching and nudging shapes, smearing and rolling edges. My fingerprints are visible in each piece, quite literally, the hand of the maker. In the last few years I’ve added bronze and steel metal clays to the work. Now I’m thrilled to add EZ960. It promises to be an exceptional addition to my maker’s tool box.