Sunday, August 30, 2009


I was so excited about the new brooch design that yesterday, after I made the silver parts for a Garden Windows Pendant class sample, I had to give it a go.

It's really a very simple design, with a smooth window surround and handformed branches and leaves. I wanted to support the bird and branches going across the window at the same height as the rest of the piece, so I tucked some cardstock under that area. I should have cut a piece of teflon sheet to go there as well, but instead I unthinkingly stuck all those delicate parts to the cardstock. I debated firing it with the paper intact and finishing after, but I really wanted to reinforce from the back. You can tell where this is going...

I broke several of the branches and spent way too much time repairing, rebreaking, and repairing again, before I finally got all three pieces into kiln last night. Humph,I thought I'd cut out a bunch of earrings to go in as well!

This is just out of the kiln, with only a little brass brushing. I decided to go with the smooth surface on this brooch, so that I could do a little hand sketching on it. All those scratches you might see are deliberate scratches on my part, rather like the scratch marks I will use for texture on faux bone back, to take color. You can see what I mean in the drawings of the previous post. These will be clearly intentional when the patina brings them out.

I've been really thinking about the metal clay process lately. I want to make sure that my work really NEEDS to be metal clay. I keep asking myself with everything I make, "Could I do this with other metal processes? If so, then it shouldn't be metal clay." The smooth surface on this piece has that issue -- why isn't it sheet sterling? Well, because I can't sketch easily like that on sterling, nor can I form and attach the bird, branches and leaves easily in sterling.

I'm ready to move on to faux bone, which I loved when I took a workshop with Robert Dancik. I bought a pack of the material from him more than a year ago, and I bought a small belt sander just for working it, which is still in the box out in my glass/metal studio. Guess I better find a place to put it.