Tuesday, 23 October 2007

3M Wetordry Polishing Papers

Yippiee - my new stock of 3M Polishing Papers has arrived!

I used to use these years ago, but I'd forgotten how fantastic they are! They give an absolutely amazing shine to your metal clay - without too much hard work. The shine is unbeatable!

You get a pack of 12 sheets, 2 each of six different grits. They are soft, fabric-like, and give you a really super-smooth surface. And, as a bonus, they come in pretty pastel colours - cute.

So many people have been asking me about these lately, and why I don't sell them - well, finally they're available online!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Pam East Enamelling Book

Pam East - Enameling on Metal Clay
Now, this is a fantastic book. I love it. It is exactly the enamelling book I've been looking for sine I started with metal clay.

Enamelling is often made out to be extremely complicated, scary, and definitely not something mere mortals should be playing with. Well, this book puts an end to that. It explains how to get started - it REALLY isn't that difficult.

Of course, if you really want to master enamelling - which is definitely an art form - it will take years of practicing and studying. But, if you simply want to use enamel to add a bit of colour to your silver jewellery - you can! It really is something most people can do. At home. Easily. Even without a kiln.

I'm really pleased Pam wrote this book. She's a lovely bubbly woman, who is passionate about enamelling, and metal clay, which certainly comes across in the book. It's written mainly for metal clay users, but the techniques can of course be applied to pieces made from "traditional" fine silver pieces, and, with a little extra work, to sterling silver.

I'll be carrying this book shortly. And don't forget I run regular Enamelling on Metal Clay classes, read more here http://www.silverclay.co.uk/cour.htm.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Thought you'd like to see some photos from the conference?

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Art Clay World UK Conference

Phew - that was a very busy weekend!
Friday to Sunday last week I went to West Dean College, West Sussex,  for the Art Clay World UK Conference. It is a fabulous building, set in 6000 acres of beautifully landscaped park land, a seriously impressive kitchen garden, all the gardens are open for visitors. If you are the slightest bit interested in growing fruit or veg, or intrigued by herbs and roses, or just like to have a nice stroll through sweeping fields and rolling hills - you must go!
During the weekend we had a mixture of demonstrations and hands-on classes. I demonstrated using UV resin with metal clay, and held a class in stencilling on metal clay. The UV resin was incredibly popular and it was so much fun sharing it with people just as crazily enthusiastic about it as me.
It really was a great weekend. We were nearly 50 attendees, which was very impressive as that means a third of all the guild members attended!
Now, it has fallen on me to organize next year's ACWUK conference. If you have any ideas or suggestions about locations, speakers, tutors, or anything else to do with the conference, I'd love to hear from you.  
Take care of yourself.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

UV Resin

Have you heard of UV resin? It really is the latest thing to hit the metal clay world. I first got a chance to try it back in April when I took my advanced class in Japan, and I loved it!

The ring here has a little cup at the top, textured with dots, which I filled with resin colourants. After curing them I then filled the entire cup with crystal clear resin which is slightly domed on the surface. It looks gorgeous - like a crisp clear pond with little gems at the bottom. The entire resin part took all of maybe 20 minutes to complete - that includes getting the bottles out and choosing colours!

I've now, after a lot of research and testing, added a fabulous range of UV resin products to the shop (will be available online shortly), and I'll also be holding a
one-day course in working with it.

The UV resin is different from normal resin in that it doesn't smell, doesn't need to mixed to exact quantitites (it doesn't need mixing at all unless you want colours!), and, it cures in minutes rather then hours!

Just like normal resin you can trap things in it. I have so many ideas including stones, dried flowers, feathers, special photos, ticket stubs, crystals, shells and sand..... I just need another week in the studio to play!

The nice thing with this UV resin is that it cures rock hard - there is no sticky surface to it. It comes out completely smooth and shiny. And it can be filed to shape, sanded and highly polished.

I'm doing a demonstration of UV resin at the Art Clay World UK Conference on the 15th September - it'll be fun to share this new technique with other metal clay fans - or should that be fanatics?

Monday, 3 September 2007

Metal Clay World Conference

What a fantastic event this was! It was so nice to meet up with people I have "known" for years, but only through online groups, books, and articles in jewellery making magazines. I learnt so much from this event, and I've come back full of ideas after all the inspirational seminars and workshop I attended. Not forgetting all the amazing jewellery that was on display!

Here is a wonderful pendant which I made in a two-day class with Gordon Uyehara and Louise Duhamel. It was a fabulous class - I loved every minute of it. Gordon and Louise were great, and generously shared their knowledge with us.

The piece is just over 60mm wide and 45mm high. I altered the design slightly; it was supposed to be a pin/pendant, but knowing I'd never wear it as a pin, I removed it.

There should also have been a little heart at the end of the curved pistil (above the stone), but my heart looked a little bit too twee. Also, the little decorative balls on the piece are much lager than they should have been - I only realised this after finishing the piece.

It is a beautiful piece, designed by Gordon - if you haven't seen his site yet you must have a look: http://www.honudream.com/

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Introductory Class

Some very focused and busy students, working away on their masterpieces. This is from the Introduction to Art Clay Class on the 1st July.

They all made some lovely pieces, and everyone had a go at setting stones, and using the syringe.

We had a lamp worker (someone who makes glass beads, from rods of glass, melted around a steel mandrel using a torch) in the class. She had brought a bag of some of her beads, and they were gorgeous - really beautiful. She made some simple bead caps in silver during the class - I look forward to seeing them used with her beads.

We also had Rachael visiting from craft&design magazine - the new-look bi-monthly magazine, which has developed from Craftsman Magazine. I've been a faithful subscriber of Craftsman, but I must say that this new version gets top marks from me. It's a really nice magazine for all makers, artists, and collectors - anyone interested or involved in contemporary UK craft and design. And, every magazine has a seriously substantial events listing, with loads of crafts fairs listed.


Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Level 2 Course

So, yesterday we completed the four day Level 2 Course.

It was a really nice group of students, they all worked really hard and we had lots of fun. All of them have been running classes for a while so we all shared ideas and tips with each other. I love it when I learn new things from my students!

Apart from the L2 Projects we also made a lentil bead which we decorated with Art Clay Gold paste and Accent Gold for Silver - yummy.
Here are a few brooches straight out of the kiln. All of them have synthetic stones set into them, set in the dry clay by drilling holes, and mounting the stone, before firing.

And today I received some nice new wooden hammers, which will go up on the website tomorrow. They're really dinky and cute. (Can a hammer be cute?)

Nite nite!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Computer woes.

What is it with computers and time?
Every time I go near the computer, a whole day seems to rush past. I sat down this morning with the intention of updating my accounts, and so far... well, so far I've not even entered one figure. Instead I've responded to a huge backlog of emails, re-written some old metal clay instructions, taken some new photos of casting grains and fine silver tube bails,  edited the photos, added said items to the website, had a quick look at my favourite forums, and, well almost anything apart from touching my accounts.
Sigh. And now it is time to cook dinner.
Tomorrow I'm running another Level 2 certification. It'll be the first Level 2 certification class I run using the new project designs from Aida. There were some projects I wasn't  to keen on before, and finally we have got a book with new designs  for all of the projects - some of them really wearable! I'm looking forward to seeing how the students get on with them. I'll be posting some photos later.
Take care!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007


Hello from Japan, the birth country of Art Clay!

I'm visiting Aida, the manufacturers of Art Clay for a fantastic advanced course, where I get to learn some new techniques. I'm having so much fun, spending 5 full days in the studio - heaven.
I'm learning from some amazing teachers, and we're working in a studio surrounded by a creative team who spends all day long just designing and creating Art Clay pieces. It is amazing seeing some of the things they make - their techniques and control of the metal clay is immaculate. The picture here shows one of them, making sweet little hair clips from the Art Clay moulds.
And I've never seen such a clean office or factory, you could eat off the floor.
I've also got a chance to sample the Japanese shopping (should have brought another bag...) and of course, food. I love Art Clay, travelling, shopping, and Japanese food, so to say I'm over the moon happy would be an understatement.

So far we've gone through techniques like Raden, old Japanese inlay technique, UV Resin, Kumihimo weaving of fine silver wire, Paper Type brooch making, advanced stone setting, and Art Clay stencils.
Here is a picture of a project we're working on right now, a gorgeous ring decorated with stencils and paste. The next couple of days we'll look at glass, setting silver foil with enamels and more. I'll keep you informed!

Friday, 2 March 2007

Level 2 Certification

I'm teaching a Level 2 certification course this weekend.

Yesterday, the UK curriculum was changed by Aida. The Combination Ring (Ring with gold cabochon) has been removed from the projects. With the recent price increase it simply raised the price of the course too much, and some of us felt it was impossible to keep it as a project, and well, Aida agreed!

It is up to each teacher to decide what to do instead - they can just remove it and leave it to that. I'll probably introduce a Lentil Bead with Art Clay Gold Paste as a new project, and spend some time going through other interesting things we never have time for otherwise.

Time to check on the glass cabochons in the kiln, fusing away for tomorrow's teaching. Bye!

The show

Well, that was a buzz! We had a good show, managed to sell out of starter kits, torches and beginner's books.

On the last day I managed to burn my finger pretty bad on a torch fired piece. Never try to quench hot jewellery in an empty glass - it doesn't work. Had to pack up the stand and drive home with my finger in a glass of ice. Not sure how I managed!


Wednesday, 21 February 2007

London Stitch & Creative HobbyCraft

We'll be at the London Stitch & Creative HobbyCraft show this week, 22-24 February at London Excel. We're at stand D28D.

Come and say hi!

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Special offer

Special offer!
Every 20gm and 50gm pack of Art Clay 650 (normal and slow dry) comes with a free polishing cloth! Available while stock last. Valid on orders placed on www.silverclay.co.uk