Sunday, 30 January 2011

Well that was FUN!!

My first ceramic workshop today with Anna Keiller was so much fun!!

We started off with big lumps of clay which we conditioned first. After the tiny amounts I use with silver all the while this took a bit of adjusting to!!Anna uses various techniques for making her ceramics and today we covered making bowls by using press moulds.

This is my first attempt using the plaster of paris mould, and here it is once I turned it out after it had been drying for a while (well actually I chickened out and Anna turned it out for me!)...
and the inside.

We were a fun group all working hard. Some had been before so were progressing onto more advanced things like Brian here
This was my second bowl which I decorated inside with pressed in ferns...

and my last attempt where I coiled and pressed in clay. I decided to change this to a wall hanging rather than a shallow bowl so turned it out in reverse.

I had not realised that I had gone for such a swirling theme until I looked at my photos afterwards!!!
So this was my work after 2 1/2 hours. I did make a small extra but I have blocked that out, you will have to wait to see that one :)

All in all a very enjoyable workshop, can't wait for next week.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bird a Week 4/52

Here is my Bird a Week piece for week 4. It is a silver pendant with an enamelled bird. I have added some 24k gold keum boo plus a patina to finish it off. I have not yet decided on a name for this one.

It is quite small, measuring about 28mm in diameter. On the reverse I added three 2mm CZs and my Joy logo.

On Sunday I start my 5 week ceramic workshop. It is only 2 1/2 hours a week but I am really looking forward to it.

I must remember to take my camera so I can show you what I get up to :-)

UPDATE - thanks to Ruth's suggestion I have called this
Lark in a Meadow.

See other Bird a Week entries here

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Bird a Week 3/52

Here is my Bird a Week entry for week 3.

I have called it Love Bird. Ok so it is an obvious name! :-) Sorry the photo is a little dark, I was trying to make the enamel stand out.

It is my third sculpted bird. Still very tiny, the eyes are 1mm CZs and the bird is just 15mm from beak to tail.

I was keen to try out some new pink enamel I had and with Valentines Day approaching I decided to combine everything at once. The enamel is from Zama UK. It is in the BX range of enamels which fire directly onto silver without any flux. Whilst described as the darker colour it is still a lovely pale pink BX141 but after one coat (sorry forgot to take a photo of that) I realised it was going to be too pale for these hearts. I experimented and found that if you put one layer of the discontinued Kujaku Ruby Red 105A over it you get a fab pink! I was very chuffed to discover this.

If you do not have a stash of 105A already though this info is of no use at all to you!,  so I may have a play with some other available colours as well to see what happens.

I decorated the back as well with my little Joy logo so the piece can be worn wither way round.

Another one for the heap to go off for hallmarking next week so I can put it up for sale soon. :)

So that is three sculpted birds in the BAW, time for something a bit different next week maybe....

Here are some other Bird a Week entries

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

This one is an Angel too!

I made a second angel!

This one was for my Mum for her birthday. Sorry the photos are not too good but I only remembered to photograph it just before we dashed out the door to go and see her with it.

This is the back with my tiny Joy logo on it and a little hook for it to hang by. I added a couple of jump rings to connect to the chain.

I had a great debate whether to patinate it or not. I went for the not.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bird a Week 2/52 - Sitting Pretty

 Here is my next bird for the Bird a Week Challenge - I have called it Sitting Pretty.

I am not sure what type of bird this is, you can make up your own mind. Is it a garden bird sitting on a fence or a seabird sitting on a groyne? I know which I had planned it to be but I think it could be either now it is finished!

 I have never really worked with clay in a three dimensional sculpting way very much before so I am really enjoying making these. It is a wonderful feeling to have a tiny lump of clay and end up with something bird shaped. Just by pulling the tail or pushing the head down a bit it becomes a whole different type of bird. Great fun. I have decided the best way to enjoy the challenge is to not get fussed about trying to make a particular type of bird at the moment but to just be happy with each one if it looks bird like :-)

I am glad I am enjoying working with the clay in a more sculptural way as I have signed up for a ceramic workshop here in Hastings. I am really looking forward to it. It is with Anna Keiller and you can find a link to her workshops on the right hand side of my blog. We start the end of January. I thought it would be good to learn new techniques and maybe I can transfer some of them into miniature to use with the silver.

Here are the other BAW entries so far

Saturday, 8 January 2011

New Year, New Challenges

 So you remember the tiny angel I posted the other day? Here she is with a tiny blue enamelled accent heart and gold wings and halo. The gold was applied by Keum Boo, the ancient Korean art of fusing 24k gold to the surface of the silver.

As you can see she really is very tiny, approx 18mm high.

I seem to have got tiny on the brain at the moment ....

This is my very first bird in the Bird A Week challenge that I mentioned in my last blog post.
As I am hopeless on bird shapes I just made a round flat body and then added simple details. Actually he has come out quite well. I am going to call him the Make It bird. He will sit on my workbench and remind me to make a bird each week.

The only problem is he is so small and my bench is always so untidy I might lose him forever on there!

You can see what everyone is creating in the Bird a Week flickr album. There are no rules so if you are feeling creative just join up and post some birds.

Back to my workshop now to finish off some more pieces :-)

See other Bird a week blog posts here...

Friday, 7 January 2011

Challenging Times

How about challenging yourself for the New Year.

The latest Metal Clay challenge is open and photographic entries need to be in by 15th January. The theme this time is Show Me The Love. I won't be entering this one as my last entry came in third (yippee) and winners are not allowed to enter the next two challenges now. So here are a couple of Art Clay Silver and Enamel hearts I might of entered! There are some fab prizes so get your entry in quick.

One of my favourite blogs is Ruth Baillie's Inside the Artisan, Birdland Creations. Ruth makes the most wonderful and amusing pieces, and also is talented in drawing and sculpture. The picture above is one of her cartoons.

Ruth has made the Bird A Week Challenge and I have signed up for it. The aim is simple, make a bird a week for the year and post them in the flickr album she has created for it. They can be any medium so if you are a maker why not give it a go. Since I am useless at bird shapes I thought this would be great for me. By December I should of getting the hang of it.

I will be posting my first bird here later ;-)

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Well here we are - 2011. I am not a great one for resolutions but I am really going to try to blog a bit more often this year (yes I know I have said that before!). The run up to Christmas got really busy and I keep finding I have problems getting into blogger so I need to sort that one out.

So what have I been up to. Before Christmas I was very busy with orders, both on ebay selling Art Clay Silver and for commissions pieces of jewellery. This last week though I have been back into the workshop working on some projects.

This little angel is a prototype for an idea I have. She will have some enamel on her plus gold keum boo fused to her halo and wings (the traces of yellow are just felt pen). I hope to be making a host!

These earrings are like some I made on the run up to Christmas. The little mother of pearl birds are ones I brought back from my trip to Japan last year and I decided to make a pair for me as well. Cute aren't they.

Finally a sneak preview of a large project I have been working on all week. This is a tiny section of the test piece I made. Not the best of photos but those stones are only 3mm in diameter!

This is a competition piece so you will have to wait a while to see the finished article! Progress is going well so far though....... ;-)

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