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One of the things that drew me to metal clay is texture. Sheet silver can be textured a number of ways including roll milling, repose, chasing, etching. What you can’t generally do is directly press a texture into the metal in the way you would with clay. So the skill in traditional metal smithing is in recreating a texture using hammer and tools and one mistake is often reason to start over. When I read about metal clay I instantly thought about things you could do that saved time and expense over setting up a metal smithing shop and learning these older techniques. Also, it has been a great savings that I can undo my work and start again with the same silver. I can wad up wet clay, or pulverize dry clay and add water. As an example of the texturing process, I used a cuttlefish bone to texture these cushioned squares. They came together quite fast and I love the effect. These are also my first hand crafted earring wires.

cushionedsquares

Another example of how metal clay can be used to save lots of time is shown in the next photo. These earrings mimic the look of forged silver. In the traditional process the silver is heated quite hot and hammered on an anvil until it is too cool to continue and the process is repeated many times to get the look the smith desires. Afterward some correction can be done with filing and sanding. Fine silver can be fused into a circle with heat. With metal clay, the process involves manipulation of clay into the desired shape, the loop is made by rolling the two ends together with a finger with some water on the inside edges of the rolled snake. Some sanding can be done to remove finger prints and pretty up the join. Sanding clay is fast and easy compared to sanding metal. If you sand off too much you can add it back by smearing on some more damp clay.

forgedearrings

Texture can take on an endless variety but somehow after I made these simple textured circles I wanted to add some color to make this pair of earrings more special. I wondered about enamel as I have been teaching myself to enamel but I was extremely short of time as these came out of the kiln the night before the Fancy Shmancy Flea Market and I wanted to bring them with me. I have to say that the wire wrapped briolettes did the job nicely. These are the first stones I have wired wrapped.

floraldropearrings

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2 Comments

  1. I love the cushioned square earrings, great job!

    Lys
    http://imadewhat.wordpress.com/


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