STEP 5: Cut one end of the coil at an angle, using a craft knife or clay blade. Place the angled end against the flared wall of the ring and lay the clay coil in a wavy pattern around the ring as desired.
Step 6: Overlap the remaining end of the coil and cut it (at the same angle as the first end), leaving a few millimeters of overlap. Blend the two ends together thoroughly with a clay shaper to make a sturdy joint.
Step 8: Continue shaping and holding the clay coil a little at a time until it maintains its wavy shape all the way around the band. Allow the clay to air dry or dry it with a heat source according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I used a toaster oven at 80°C/175°F for 10 minutes.
Note: The wavy shape of the coil means that it is longer than the circumference of the ring liner, thereby allowing the coil to shrink around the ring band without cracking or breaking. If you prefer to make a straight band of copper instead, wrap a few layers of paper around the recessed area of the silver band to accommodate shrinkage before adding the copper coil. Since the paper will burn very quickly, you also can add a strip of ceramic tape over the paper to prevent the copper from coming into direct contact with the silver during firing. This will make it easier to remove the copper oxides after firing since they will stick to the ceramic tape instead of to the silver ring liner. It also makes the copper coil into a “spinner” that will rotate freely around the recessed center of the silver band.
Step 9: Fill in any gaps by moistening the dry clay and then pushing fresh clay into the gaps and smoothing it with a clay shaper. Allow these repairs to dry. Then Use a clay shaper to rub off any excess clay on the silver band.
Step 10: Scrape any bumps off with a craft knife.
Note: Before firing the ring, I recommend testing your kiln to make sure that it does not fire too hot.
While the ring is being fired, prepare a bowl of water and place it right in front of the kiln door (or right next to the kiln, if you have a top-loading kiln).
After the firing cycle is complete, allow the kiln to cool down to approximately 600°C/1100°F (it should no longer be red inside). While wearing protective gloves and eyewear, remove the ring from the hot kiln with long tongs and plunge it into the cold water. A lot of the copper oxides will flake off.
Step 14: Clean the entire surface of the ring, using an electric rotary tool with a fine Scotch-Brite™-covered polishing wheel (such as a Galaxy™ red polishing wheel). Some oxides may “hold” the copper coil to the silver temporarily, so thoroughly remove any oxides on the sides of the coil or under it.
If you made a spinner ring: Clean the surface completely and gradually loosen the copper coil from the silver until it can turn freely around the ring liner. Brush the exposed surface with the polishing wheel, as above. Reminder: If you cover the recessed area of the silver ring liner with both plain paper and a strip of ceramic tape before adding the copper clay coil, the ceramic tape will prevent contact between the silver and the copper as the clay shrinks, which will allow the spinner to turn immediately after it has been fired.
Step 15: Burnish the top and sides of the ring with a burnisher to unify the surface, close any pores and remove any scratches.
If you made a spinner ring: After burnishing, use micron-graded polishing cloths followed by an application of Wenol™ polishing cream for a shiny finish. The copper can be protected either with a lacquer, such as Nikolas Clear Lacquer spray, or with wax, such as Widnsor & Newton™ Wax Varnish. Important: If you choose to protect the finish in this manner, skip step 16!
Step 16: To add a heat patina (optional), place the ring on a heat resistant surface. Using a soft reducing flame (less oxygen), move the flame slowly over the ring to heat it up, then sweep the flame across the copper, a little at a time, to change its color gradually.
Step 17: Place a small amount of concrete for jewelry in a disposable container. Mix it with water in the following proportions: 1 part water to 4 parts jewelry concrete (I use the same measuring spoon for both). Add a pinch of dry colorant and mix well. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Important: If more water is added, the working time will be reduced from approximately 30-40 minutes to approximately 10 minutes.
Step 18: Center the fired copper coil on the ring band and hold it in place. Use a spatula to apply the jewelry concrete, filling the areas on both sides of the copper coil. The coil has an undercut, which adds a mechanical bond as well. Smooth out the concrete with the spatula, pressing it down gently so it reaches all the way to the flared borders and under the coil.
Step 19: Use a soft cloth or a sponge to smooth out the surface and remove any excess from the copper and the sides of the ring. Allow the jewelry concrete to set. The cement will further set over a couple of days, after which it can be wet. Although the cement needs no particular protection, a wax varnish or another sealant can be applied to the ring in order to protect the copper patina.
Caution: Equal amounts of copper and silver fired together while touching each other, may result in a meltdown. The ring in the photo was made using COPPRclay™ and fired using a two-phase firing schedule (open-air firing followed by firing in coconut carbon).
About the Artist: Angela Baduel-Crispin
Angela is a globe trotting artist who was born in Brazil, went to school in Hawaii and now calls France her home. Her work has graced the pages of Metal Clay Artist Magazine since our first issue! Angela’s style and work evolves every few years, usually after a prolonged time of reflection and time with her family. Family is of equal importance to Angela as art. She is the proud mother of two beautiful and smart kids who are growing up too fast. But as smart as they are, Angela is still able to win all deputes as she is the only one in house to speak three languages!
Flared fine silver ring liner www.metalclayfindings.com, www.metalclaysupply.com, www.riogrande.com
Jewelry Concrete and colorants: www.fauxbone.com
Another source of inspiration for concrete and jewelry: http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/concrete-jewelry.htm