Sunday, July 15, 2012


Inspiration had come, now how to create it?
I was super excited about this project!  It was going to stretch me as an artist.  I had to work out details of creating I'd never tried before.

I thought about several ways I could go about it, trying to picture what each would look like when finished.  Probably more thought and planning went into this piece, than any other I've attempted.  Nothing is perfect, and I know I can't always anticipate what I'll encounter.  But, launching into this detailed and time-consuming project, had my gut clinching with fear I'd mess it up.  The let-down would be huge, not to mention the wasted cost of the silver.

I wrote out some details, drew diagrams, and trashed some of the ideas.  How am I going to make it look like individual windows?  How will they spiral?  Do they touch? Overlap? Is it one long spiral of textured clay, with window cut-out's?  How do I add color? 

You think I sweated over this for awhile?

Finally, I settled on a plan of action.  I decided to create a slender spiral of metal clay, as a base.  Then, I chose a texture sheet that looked like I could make several 'windows' with cut-outs.  I drew everything to scale on paper, drew a bail I liked; then measured and calculated the number and size of the windows.  I needed twenty-two individual windows, with one round center circle.  Oh boy, I had some filing and sanding ahead of me! 

The next am I going to get the windows to attach to the spiral?  This piece already involved a fair amount of silver clay.  I don't want to add more if I don't have to!  I wonder if I could squidge those windows in place?  Would they adhere to the spiral and stay aligned, considering the shrinkage when fired?  Yikes!  Another gut moment.  I really like the idea, and I was excited about the way it would look, if I could get it to work. 

Squidging is one of the coolest things I've discovered.  Thank you, Kate McKinnon!  I found out about squidging through Kate McKinnon's book Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry.  Squidging is the process of joining two cleanly cut pieces of greenware together, using a small amount of water.  You wet both areas of the pieces you want to join, allowing the clay to absorb the water and become a little sticky.  You then slide the two pieces back and forth against each other, using a gentle pressure.  Keep in mind where you want them to align, because they will quickly begin to stick together.  Once the movement between the two pieces stops, they are firmly bonded. 

Here are three of my jewelry pieces I created by squidging:

Lotus Pendant

Endless Summer Cuff

Endless Summer Necklace

Ok, I'm going to squidge it! 

Come around for another visit, and I'll tell you where I go from there.

Do you have a favorite technique you've discovered or learned from someone else?  Will you share it here?

And, before I go, I'd like to say....
Being a book lover, I buy a ridiculous amount of books.  But, I have learned so much from the tips and sharing of so many incredibly wonderful artist in this world.  Some of the books and tutorials I've purchased contain similar information, naturally, because they are teaching the same medium.  But, there always seems to be one or two little tidbits in each that imparts something new.
Knowledge is power....and inspiring....and brings confidence!
There is a thrill in discovering something new.
You don't have to go as book crazy as I do, the library is a great resource to start with.  But, I encourage you to learn from the artist around you; they have so much wisdom to impart.
And, I highly recommend Kate McKinnon's book, Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry.  It is fun, educational and worth your coin!

Have a blessed day!