Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Favorite Silver Clay Piece from Italy

Since we had so much time at the workshop and only two instructional projects, I needed to fill my time with more and more complex, fussy work.

Gordon was working on a piece where he spanned the opening of a lentil frame with thin rolled clay elements, with a stone fired in place as well.

It made me think of the bronze piece I made earlier in the week but broke before firing, where I used thin snakes of clay to make tree branches and then perched a tiny bird in the tree. I placed the bronze tree and bird inside a concave lentil.

My new idea was to make the same tree and bird, but have them supported open across the frame. The bird idea I abandoned because I had brought along a gorgeous rainbow zircon to set into a bezel cup. I thought it would make the perfect blue moon.

So I fussed and fussed, building the bare branches, reinforcing the joints, then attaching the bezel cup. I decided it was too open and needed leaves, so I hand-formed all of those. I also learned to do a nice spiral from clay, and I attached that to the back of the bezel cup.

I was really worried that something would detach during the firing, but all my syringe reinforcement at the attachment points inside the frame held and the support in the kiln didn't sag.

I'm really pleased with it. I visualized a fancy textured heavy jumpring for the bail and to add a coordinating bead to the solid silver leaf drop, but the right materials and tools were not at hand. I thought I might fix it when I got home, but I'm inclined to just leave it as is and work on the next one!