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/