Silver Art Clay Day

30 Apr

Since discovering that I teach Silver Art Clay workshops I’ve been asked by a couple of friends whether I’d show them how to make something. I casually said “Yer sure…” then a few more friends asked and so a date was set! I hired the workshop space at The Bead Shop and last Sunday got set up to show everyone.

I feel here I should tell you what Art Clay actually is; Silver Art Clay is mouldable clay make out of recycled pure silver, water and an organic binder. You can shape and manipulate the clay however you like and once it’s fired (the binder burns off and the water evaporates) you are left with pure silver – magical really! It’s popularity increased hugely after it was featured on Kirstie Allsopp‘s “Kirstie’s Homemade Home” series several years ago, although I seem to remember Kirstie’s items weren’t overly successful, she and many others watching, were blown away by this wonderful material.

Our Art Clay Day; I did a quick demo to begin, then found out what everyone wanted to make, guided them in the right direction and off they all went.

Everyone busy - Nettynot BlogI had to stop myself going into full on teaching mode, as it was a relaxed craftanoon and I was giving everyone free rein, after all we have a small picnic set up too and I was technically NOT at work –  there’s always more to do than I anticipate, with “does this look alright”, drilling holes and antiquing finished pendants, it all got a little busy towards the end. But it was ALL worth it! I find it immensely satisfying to teach someone a new skill and help them to create a unique piece of jewellery from scratch and it’s even better when you’re showing your friends! (sorry for the cheese – but it is true!)

No cheese here though, probably the only thing we didn’t have…mmm.
Picnic - Nettynot blogHere’s some pieces in progress, Margaret brought along a collection of vintage sugar craft cutters which make great pendant shapes. Rebecka took inspiration from her background in textiles and started weaving clay together and Jem went free form, creating lots of different pieces, look out on her blog for a post soon showing off her finished pieces.

Art Clay in progress - Nettynot BlogThere was much excitement as everything went into the kiln…
Pre-firing Art Clay - Nettynot BlogHere’s some of the wonderful makes! Lots of different bits n pieces – makes me happy! Anyone who is familiar with some of Amy Blackwell’s illustrations might spot her distinctive style in the form of a lovely hand.
Kiln ready - art clay firing - nettynot blog I do like a good before and after shot – although my camera was misbehaving for the finished jewellery.

Finished Art Clay Pieces - Nettynot BlogEverything was a bit too shiny for my camera, however I’ve pinched a few photos from the others, which show of the detail much better.
Some finished Items - Nettynot BlogYou can achieve so much with Silver Art Clay, it’s a wonderful material. It allows you to make anything from stunning sculptural pieces to simple items with imprinted texture. Once an item is fired you can sand and polish a piece until you get a mirror finish, giving it a high end ‘bought from a posh jewellers’ look. However I’m much more in favour of something that’s been handmade retaining a handmade element. When I finish an item I tend to give it a quick burnish, to highlight all the raised detail, which contrasts well with the matte surface of the lower detail – simple yet effective.

Rebecka’s woven pendant above was antiqued using liver of sulphur, which oxidises the surface (basically speeding up the tarnishing process), she then polished over the raised areas creating that wonderful contrast and highlighting the detail.

Button Charm - Nettynot Blog

I found a bit of time to utilise a mould I’d made from a metal button and created a small charm pendant. This is the kind of small project that’s very achievable and a great way of replicating something.

Thanks for reading!

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3 Responses to “Silver Art Clay Day”

  1. jumpyjess May 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Very lovely creations! :à

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Silver Art Clay | - May 3, 2015

    […] is a bit more technical detail about silver art clay in Steph’s blog here. Steph is a fantastic tutor and you can book onto silver art clay and many other workshops […]

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