Step-by-Step Project: Sterling Wedding Band by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Commissions–to take them or not is a question many artists have to figure out for themselves.  About ten years ago the parents of a friend of mine were celebrating a big anniversary and they wanted new wedding bands.  They came to me to make them. I was flattered and scared. The rings turned out well and they have been worn everyday for the past decade.  My friends’ father is a woodworker, gardener, golfer and has worked hard while wearing a fine silver ring…so you can guess that it has been pretty beaten up.  It was flattened and reshaped at one point which work-hardened a few spots.  Over time these spots weakened.  He asked if I could solder the opening.  I figured it would be much better to remake the ring in a stronger sterling silver metal clay.  So here I am with a ring I made over a decade ago–and I need to remake it– “Exactly the same. The fit and shape are perfect.” (Pictured is the old ring and the old texture plate.)

1The first thing I had to do was find the texture sheet I used over a decade ago….in another studio!  My studio moved from a shop I had downtown to my garage–then was cleaned out last summer.  Oy!  I remember finding the old texture sheets and tossing them.  But did I toss them in a “maybe I’ll teach metal clay again someday bin” or in the garbage?  It took me a few hours to find them…but I had them.  Whew!  “Exactly the same” rang in my head!  So here we go…I documented remaking this simple ring band so that you can follow along.

Project: Miniature Jugs In Silver Metal Clay by Sue Heaser

1.2 extract images_Page_28_Image_0001aI always have loved jugs and I have a much-loved collection of milk jugs in all shapes and sizes. It was natural that I should want to make miniature jugs in pure silver! The project instructions will make a jug about ½” (13mm) high,which is equivalent to 6” (15cm) tall in the standard dollhouse scale of 1:12. These little jugs also look wonderful hanging on a charm bracelet.

The secret to sculpting small miniatures in metal clay is to make the rough shape of the object in fresh clay, dry it, and then refine the shape with sanding, repairing imperfections with paste as necessary.

 

 

Project: Silver and Gold Pendulum by PATRIK KUSEK

Untitled-61I’ve always been interested in supernatural phenomena: ESP, clairvoyance, telekinesis, observations that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding. Today there seems to be an unlimited number of TV shows on everything from Bigfoot to psychic pets. Even The History Channel has gotten into the act with programs on UFOs and psychic phenomena. So when I got the idea to make a pendulum for a necklace, I thought a little investigative research might be in order.

MCAM 5.1_Page_07_Image_0004Pendulum divination has been around for hundreds of years. It has been used to find hidden treasure, diagnose illness, locate missing persons, uncover gemstones hidden in the ground, and even find Russian submarines. Many notable people took advantage of the power of the pendulum. Leonardo da Vinci, General Patton, even Albert Einstien was known to use the pendulum with great success. He believed its power lay in electromagnetism and energy that is unseen and not yet fully understood.

Regardless of how or why it works, you don’t need to be psychic to use it, and now you can make one for yourself!

Artist/Author: Patrik Kusek
Photos: Patrik Kusek
Editors: Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Joy Funnell and Margaret Schindel.

 

Graceful Petals- Incorporate metal clay into traditional metal working with soldering by CANDACE STEPPES

MCAM 4.3_Page_45_Image_0001Providing elegance and sunshine to everyday, flowers can always brighten a mood. Create a flower of grace and splendor with carved leaves for that added touch of detail. I will then show you how to solder the foliage to a sterling silver cuff that will allow you to take the flower with you everywhere.

Project and Photos by CANDACE STEPPES
Editing by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Margaret Schindel and Joy Funnell
(All images and text copyright to the artist and permission must be given by the Artist or Creative Fire to reproduce.)

Project: Grand Inspiration by Helen Wyland-Malchow

MCAM 3.2_Page_47_Image_0001Most metal clay artists have a quite a few pieces that didn’t work out as planned. My metal clay leftovers live in a box on my workbench. I leave them there as a visual reminder, hoping that some grand inspiration will point me in the right direction. I also collect vintage cabs, brass stampings and beads dating from 1910 to 1970, and containers of them litter the shelves on my wall! As fate would have it, I knocked over the box of metal clay odds and ends onto a design board where I had been playing with some vintage cabs and stones. They landed in just the right spot and— voilà!—an inspiration was born. It was the perfect marriage of my collections of vintage stones, polymer clay and metal clay. I have found some of my most interesting stones at tag sales and thrift shops, set in unwanted bracelets, necklaces or pins. Release these stones from their old designs and mix them with your metal clay leftovers and polymer clay to give them an entirely new look! Your local craft store also carries lots of interesting things that can be set into a bezel.

Wishing you grand inspirations with your own leftovers!

Project Design and Photos:
Helen Wyland-Malchow
Editors:
Margaret Schindel and Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This project can serve as a springboard for multiple variations. For example, use three stone or glass cabochons rather than filling two of the bezels with polymer clay cane slices, or join the metal components with metal clay oil paste instead of solder.

Tribute to Gaudí 2 by WALDO IŁOWIECKI

MCAM 5.1_Page_48_Image_0001This bracelet was inspired by the work of renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. I’ll show you how to create this lovely bracelet from Goldie Bronze™ clay using small, individually-shaped elements in layers to build the very sculptural design. The stones in this bracelet are set after firing, giving you a much greater choice of what you can use.

Project and Photos by: Waldo Ilowiecki
Editing by: Margaret Schindel, Joy Funnell and Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Tutorial: Copper and Sterling Silver Mokume-Gane Earrings By Hadar Jacobson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMokume-gane (a Japanese word meaning wood-grained metal) is a difficult mixed-metals technique that originated in 17th-century Japan. Different colors of metals and/or alloys are stacked and diffusion-bonded into a single billet that is carved and forged alternately to expose the different metal layers, creating unique and detailed patterns resembling wood grain. Creating true mokume-gane is an arduous and time-consuming process that requires a great deal of technical skill and experience.

Polymer clay artists use simple techniques to produce patterns that loosely mimic the look of true mokume gane, but they are not practical to use for combining multiple types of metal clay. Artist, teacher and author Hadar Jacobson shows MCAM readers her own method for simulating mokume-gane with silver and copper metal clays.

Tutorial: Bird’s Nest Bezel Bracelet by Michelle Loon

Michelle Loon_wwwcre8tivefire_comThe original inspiration for this project came from my need to create a unique setting for a wine cork after taking a design class in San Francisco The layers of syringe create bezel like frames with an organic feel reminiscent of a bird’s nest. Each bezel frame is unique and can be filled with a variety of mixed media (polymer clay, resin, paper, etc.) after firing. In this project polymer clay bullseye canes are sculpted and carved with added embellishments for a carved button feel.

Author: Michelle Loon
Edited by Joy Funnell, Margaret Schindel and Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

METAL CLAY AND MICRO-MOSAIC PENDANT

Verani_Mosaic_

METAL CLAY AND MICRO-MOSAIC PENDANT

by Michela Verani

Micro-mosaic is an ancient art form of miniature glass mosaics that were popular during the Victorian era and reportedly no longer are made. Micro-mosaic pieces can be intricately patterned, with microscopically small glass components and carefully grouted, ground and polished surfaces, or simpler and more economical, such as Venetian micro-mosaics in which the pieces are larger and the surface is neither ground nor grouted. . This project uses the Venetian style of micro-mosaic and my own processes.

I use several types of glass rods: flat noodle-shaped rods called smalti filati, multicolored patterned and shaped rods similar to millefiori (tessera), millefiori, and some small lampworking rods. I buy my smalti filati or glass rods that make up the background colors from Miami Mosaics. They carry the filati in quite a number of colors and you can buy sampler mixes. (See the Resources section at the end of this article.) According to some sources, the patterned or complex tessera rods are not being made any longer, so my main source for tessera is damaged micro-mosaic pieces. Micro-mosaic jewelry often is available on eBay, and it’s worth checking out as a potential source not only of damaged pieces to take apart, but also of design inspiration. I also have developed relationships with some antique shops whose buyers will purchase damaged micro-mosaic jewelry for me when they find it and then contact me. You might want to try to develop your own similar source(s) of damaged micro-mosaic pieces. Also, just in case the information I’ve found about micro-mosaic work no longer being done is true, please don’t destroy undamaged micro-mosaics to re-use the glass pieces for your own designs! These are valuable examples of a potentially lost art form that should be preserved for future generations.

Experience Level – Advanced
Edited by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Joy Funnell and Margaret Schindel.

Molded glass clay cabochons By Paula Radke

Beauty_Flower buttons3Glass clay is fairly new on the clay scene. Like metal clay, it can be molded and/or sculpted and, after drying and being fired in a kiln, it undergoes a seemingly magical transformation. But instead of textured, sculpted or molded solid metal, glass clay transforms into textured, sculpted or molded solid glass! Easy to use and inexpensive, it comes in powdered form in a wide range of colors (opaque only). You can use your glass clay cabochons as you would use any fused glass cabs, such as in the hinged bracelet project or the mixed media bracelet.

Author and photos except those noted: Paula Radke
Editors: Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Margaret Schindel and Ann Davis
Photos 1-3: Ann Davis

Experience Level: Beginner

Artist Project Series: Nesting ring by Tracey Spurgin

 

Nesting Rings

Level: Intermediate

UK Jewellery Artist Tracey Spurgin is the next master to present in the “Artist Project Series” proudly presented by Cool Tools.  Tracey has challenged metal clay artists to create a nesting ring and shows us step by step in close up photos how to create two beautiful rings. This Nesting Cocktail ring is a stunner, the design allows you to wear each of the two rings individually as a stand alone, or simply nest them together to make one statement cocktail ring.

Materials:
EZ960 Sterling
1 fireable square 6mm gemstone
8 x 1mm fireable faceted gems Continue reading…

Artist Project Series: Creating A Vessel Pendant By Janet Harriman

 

Many times we set out with an idea of how we expect a project to turn out.  In this article Janet Harriman takes you through her plans and what she expected and how she repaired and recovered her piece.  Thank you to Cool Tools for sponsoring this project.

I had a young apprentice who insisted that I try silver metal clay. As a metalsmith with a fine arts background, I was a snob. But just for fun I did try the clay, worked with it for years and then I ended up demonstrating at the National PMC conference at Purdue University. Metal clay is a tactile pleasure. It is magic. Continue reading…

Artist Project Series: Dino Bracelet by Gordon K. Uyehara

~ Cool Tools and Creative Fire are proud to present another project in this series by Gordon K. Uyehara.  Gordon’s work is always interesting and his projects are sure to inspire artists from all levels.  Having a chance to look over the shoulder of Gordon as he works is a treat for metal clay artists worldwide. 

Dino Bracelet by Gordon K. Uyehara
What does one do with two leftover pieces of double-knit Viking weave chain? Dig it out of the drawer after many years and make a bracelet. I envisioned a focal piece and end caps created out of silver metal clay. Although it seemed rather straightforward at first, I encountered some challenges along the way. I detail them below. You may choose to steer around some of them.

I learned how to weave the chain in a workshop many years ago, and unfortunately, I don’t recall how to do it. However, I do recall we used a starter wire shaped like a flower and a wooden dowel to weave around. The chain was pulled through a vinyl drawplate (made out of cutting board) with different size tapered holes. This was for drawing down the diameter of the chain. The source book was, “Great Wire Jewelry” by Irene From Petersen. With a little imagination this project can be modified to work with other types of chain or cord. It is a good idea to peruse the entire project instructions first before proceeding. Continue reading…

Enchanting Silver Quilling by Astari G. Swatantri

I have long admired quilling, but I had never tried this wonderful form of art before until I had an opportunity to participate in the Silver Quilling Certification training at the Art Clay Headquarters in Japan, I had zero expectations. I was so lucky to have Ms. Motoko Maggie Nakatani, a renowned quilling artist, as my teacher. She was also the curriculum supervisor of the certification program. (Top Image: Astari’s award winning piece from the Silver Accessories Contest: “DoPositive” combines many metal clay techniques including silver quilling. Click image to enlarge.)

Continue reading…