Sunday, December 18, 2011
Stay tuned for additional details in the new year !
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I got a package of 25 grams and I got into my studio to make some pieces with it. The working time for this type of clay is longer and it gives you the flexibility to not worry about the clay drying too fast while you are working with it. The color of the clay is darker and the texture is great and easy to work with.
My plan was to make a ring, earrings and a pendant. The first piece I made was the ring, I hand roll a long snake and wrap it around a mandrel to form the band. The joining of the joints was easy to make and I just added some water to smooth the connections.
I decided to go 3.5 sizes bigger than the size I need it for the ring. I do not use any inserts in my ring when I fired it, I believe it is better to let the clay shrink all the way.
Carving is another thing I wanted to try with this clay since most of my work has carving in it. I was surprise to see how smooth and easy carving was with this type of clay. The carving went perfect and I saved my carving scraps to add some texture in my pendant later on.
Since the clay has a longer working time before it gets dry, I knew hand sculpting will be easy and great to do. I hand sculpted a rose to add to my ring and it was perfect for sculpting.
I let the rose dry first before I added it to the center of the band, this way you will not deform the rose. Adding the rose was easy by using water and fresh clay to join the rose to the band. I do not like to use paste for this, I prefer to use fresh clay instead of paste. I continue to hand formed little rose buds around the center rose and some leaves.
For the earrings I wanted to use sterling jump rings and fire them in place. I embedded them in the earrings with fresh clay and hand formed flowers and leaves. In the center of the flowers I attached a CZ Garnet.
For the pendant I play with textures and added my carving scraps on top of the heart with water. I carved and hand formed roses for the front and back of the piece. I always like to add something extra on the back of my pieces.
My firing schedule was different from the package because my pieces were thicker than 3mm. For the open shelf firing I fast ramp to 1000F and hold there for 40 minutes. I let the pieces cool down completely inside the kiln before I took them out to do the second firing.
For the second firing I added a coat of activated carbon at the bottom of the steel pot and added my pieces in one layer. I covered them with more activated carbon and closed the pot with the lid. I fast ramp the kiln to 1500F and hold there for 45 minutes. I also let the pieces cool down inside the kiln when the firing was over.
This is how the pieces look like when they are fired and out of the kiln. A white matte color and they do not have any oxidation or black coloring in them, not even in the sterling jump ring.
I brush them with a brass brush and soapy water, added LOS Gel patina and finally I polished them in a magnetic tumbler.
©2011 Lorena Angulo
Photo: Speedy Peacock
©2011 Lorena Angulo
PMC Sterling, CZ Hessonite Garnet, Pearls
Photo: Speedy Peacock
©2011 Lorena Angulo
Photo: Speedy Peacock
I want to continue experimenting and I am going to fire the clay to a longer time, maybe close to 2 hours. I will let you know how this goes and if the size of the ring shrinks more if I add more time to the firing.
I am sure you will all like to work with this clay and the best of all is that the price is very similar to PMC3.
Keep Playing, Keep Creating !!
Monday, November 14, 2011
I remember the first time I saw her work, it was magical to see how she was able to transform recycled rubber bicycle and motorcycle inner tubes into amazing pieces of wearable art. I had the pleasure to interview Kathleen to introduce her and her work to our blog followers.
How did you started creating your work and where?
I knew that I was an artist even as a little girl, but I was also good at Math and Science so I attended college and majored in Computer Science and minored in Biology. My schedule never allowed time for any college level art classes however I always had some kind of art project that I would work on in my limited free time.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Coincidentally, I just completed a course about chain-making with Leslie Hartwell at Metalwerx, in Waltham, MA. Inspired by Linda's and Joy's articles and Leslie's class, I thought I'd share some more ideas for expanding your own chain vocabulary.
Often, we spend so much time and effort working on a piece that when it is ready to be paired with a chain, we grab the most convenient commercially-made one and we're done.
Integrating the chain and pendant requires a little pre-planning. Think about the chain, too, when you are designing your piece. What kind of chain will complement the pendant? Will the finished piece look unified? How will the chain connect with the pendant? Also, think about other things, such as proportion—should the chain be large and chunky? Or thin and delicate?
If fabricating a custom chain is not your thing, there are ways to modify commercially-made chain that might be a solution for you.
Consider altering chain by methods like hammering, cutting apart, or applying patina.
|Upper left: Altering commercial chain by cutting apart and interspersing with beads, plus adding patina|
Upper right and bottom photos: custom made chains
Chains can be cut apart and the segments re-joined with interspersed beads—or like Linda's project—custom-made metal clay components. Graduated size chains can be linked into one, unified look. You can connect multiple strands of chain to single strand sections. How about mixing metals?
Adding a patina to the chain might be just that little extra something to bring the entire piece together with a customized feel.
If you enjoy making more complex work, there are many additional ways to design chains to complement a pendant. You can be daring and fabricate a chain, or a section of chain, from metal clay. Or, you can make your own chain by soldering wire. Several books are available for soldered chain technical information and design inspiration. Here are three that I really like:
• The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight. This book has a wealth of information—so it's a worthwhile addition to your books anyway—but in this case it offers many tips on chain construction, chain styles, clasps and bails.
• Creative Silver Chains by Chantal Lise Saunders. Nice step by step instructions on some interesting designs, plus a very good introductory section with information on materials, techniques and design inspiration.
• Making Silver Chains by Glen F. Waszek is another well-organized book with great step by step instructions and a lot of good lessons for working with silver.
Monday, October 3, 2011
MCAM reader, Yvonne Kuennen shares her experience with organizing her space and clearing the clutter…
It is a challenge to organize so many tiny tools. You can’t have too many tools or too many beads (everyone knows that)! The question is, what do you let go of?
Sort it all out and systematically categorize the things you are sorting through. If anything appears to be taking up too much space, find a bin for it. Be ruthless…is it being used? Selling or donating unused items is the easiest route in making them go away. The cash or credit you receive is such a plus that the pain of letting go is minimized.
I struggled for months (years to be truthful) to figure out a better order for all these things. I had several different beading rooms, but each one became a cluttered nightmare with no visible tabletop to work on.
One cupboard has kits for seven students (my maximum for teaching workshops), the next has a tower of drawers to house all the molds I’ve made, a variety of texture tips, cutters and the like. The third holds all my firing equipment in a work bucket. The fourth has all my scrap glass and tools for making the dichroic cabochons. The fifth stands empty—yet to be filled, but that is a good thing since I am not finished. I still have beads to organize (get rid of)? The best organizing tool that I have found for beads are 5.5 x 9 x 1 inch trays with separator black felt bottoms. Some even have tops that snap shut. These trays stack neatly, and once labeled, make it easy to find a particular bead.
With my new organized workspace, I find myself being much more productive .
My head is clear and I find more room to design and plan new projects. In demonstrating my respect for other people’s space, my relationships have improved. I have started cooking again due to the newly cleared dining room table. The kitchen is no longer permanent parking space for the crème brulee torch, torch stand and tumbler!
Friday, August 26, 2011
I understand their lack of knowledge, and those who tried it and said it was a mess, and it does not work. Well, I have some news for you; you did not work with the clay the right way.
I respect everybody's opinion but I think there is a point where we need to be careful in how we talk about people who have chosen to work with metal clay, we can express our thinking without being rude and without insulting.
I have been called lots of names because of my ethnicity but I never thought I will be called "names" because of the medium or material I choose to create some of my work.
One of the latest names I saw was "Cake Decorator", people who work with metal clay are consider to be that by some.
I am okay with the name, I LOVE CAKES !!!
Other people feel we are "pretending to BE" metalsmiths.
We are not pretending to be "Anything", we are just people who have chosen to work with Metal Clay and create art. We are not "cake decorators", "metalsmiths", etc. We are just Artists that are open to experiment with new materials and we are always willing to learn new techniques.
I always encourage my students to learn how to solder and fabricate pieces because it will benefit their own metal clay work.
I started my journey in the art by learning metalsmithing, it was my wonderful and talented teacher -Claire Holliday- who introduced me to this novel material, metal clay, that Claire used to create some of her work.
One of Claire's metal clay pieces was featured in the front cover of the Metalsmith magazine, a publication of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
|Sea Seed No. 1 (Brooch)|
©2005 Claire Holliday
Photo: Dean Powell
In 2010 I had a wonderful opportunity to show my work (not exclusively metal clay) to other talented and renowned metalsmith artists, among them, Thomas Mann. Thomas was so intrigued and interested that traded one of his pieces for one of mine.I was honored to do a trade with him !
|Thomas visiting my table and looking at my work.|
Another fascinating and mind opening experience that helped me expand my creativity and techniques, was when I had the pleasure to participate in a workshop and lecture by Robert Ebendorf at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas.
What I learned from Bob gave me a new dimension to create, incorporating traditional metalsmith fabrication techniques with the distinctive style promoted by Bob's work but keeping my own creative voice and designs.
In case you don't know, Bob was one of the founding members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and an inductee of the National Metalsmiths Hall of Fame.
During the workshop, when Bob saw one of my hand sculpted copper clay trees of life, he suggested to me to create a piece using what I learned from him and using the tree of life as the center component.
This piece was later featured in the front cover of the Metal Clay Artist Magazine, and many other publications.
I really want to give thanks to a lot of my metalsmiths friends and colleagues that are open to see beyond the material. I have learn a lot from all of you.
Keep learning, keep experimenting, keep creating !
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Sometimes when I’m working at my bench, I concentrate so hard it occurs to me that I almost forget to breathe! Not a good thing, because I like to breathe and plan to keep doing it as long as I can.
Another thing I do is tense up my muscles all around my neck and shoulders. And I don’t blink my eyes often enough… You get the picture.
I’ve been practicing yoga for many years, and I have realized that I should apply some of my yoga practice when I’m working. I discussed the idea with Rosie, my yoga teacher, and she had several suggestions. I thought I would share a few ideas with those of you who also think you might benefit from this.
All of these movements should be done very slowly, gently and deliberately. Never do anything that hurts. These are gentle stretches intended to release your body from the tension that builds when we concentrate so hard. This is not intended to be a workout!
Start with the breath. These are called 4-7-8 breaths. Sitting up straight, inhale slowly and mindfully to a count of 4. Hold your breath to a count of 7. Then, exhale slowly to a count of 8. Slowly repeat a few times, taking care not to make yourself dizzy.
Now the eyes– periodically it’s a good habit to give your eyes a little break. Try these movements; look up to your forehead, then straight down to your chin. Stretch your eyes to look as far to the periphery as you can. Look up, then down, several times. Then do the same thing, but look left and right– from ear to ear. Afterward, rub the palms of your hands together vigorously to generate some heat. Then, cup your hands over your eyes, resting the heals of your hands on your cheekbones and your fingertips at your forehead. Close your eyes and let the warmth and darkness relax the eye muscles.
Next, the neck. Sitting up straight, with your shoulders evenly across, slowly lift the neck as if to stretch the spine. Very slowly and gently lower your chin to your chest. Then, slowly tip your head to the right and roll your head around—right, back, left, and front. Roll very gently and don’t strain your neck. Keep your chin pointed to the center and pivot around it. Next, repeat in the opposite direction. After that– stretch upright again, lifting the neck. Keeping your shoulders down, slowly and gently turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Then, move across to look over your left shoulder. Relax.
Now, the shoulders. Again, sit up straight, shoulders straight across. Then, lower your shoulders down. Roll your shoulders around to the back, then raise them up to your ears, then forward. Roll your shoulders several times, gently. Relax. Repeat in the opposite direction.
Last, something for your forearms, wrists and hands. Sitting up straight, hold your arms against your sides. Raise your forearms at a 90 degree angle out in front of you, hands straight out with the palms down, fingertips pointing forward. Holding your forearms in this position without moving them, bend your wrists so your hands are facing straight up– palms out, fingers pointing to the ceiling. Now slowly bend your wrists so your hands are facing down, backs of the hands out, fingers pointing to the floor. Keep your forearms in the same position without moving them. The wrists and hands will do all the moving. Repeat up and down, several times. Then, bend the wrists so your fingertips point right, backs of the hands out, palms toward you (as much as possible), forearms still not moving. Repeat by bending your wrists to the left. Left, right, several times, slowly. Then, still keeping the forearms straight, stretch your hands out fully, palms out, fingertips pointing up to the ceiling. Then squeeze the hands into in a fist. Stretch and squeeze, several times.
I hope you find these exercises calming, but at the same time getting the blood flowing! There are many more ways yoga can be practiced at your bench. Give it a try. Namaste!
Monday, August 1, 2011
|Yup! That's right-- 37 degrees! (That's 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit!) Who says Canada is always cold?|
|Don't they know I'm trying to get to the airport to catch a plane and go to the Metal Clay conference????|
|Chicago--as close as I got to it at least!|
|I was so busy at the conference, I forgot to take many photos! This photo is from the presentation by Deb Wajnarawski. She is demonstrating soldering, and the live video is up on the screen.|
|This beautiful polymer clay ring is by Ponsawan Sila.|
|Pictured is Joy Funnell and a larger than life version of the cover which showcased her piece on the cover. The second cover (bottom) is a piece by Hattie Sanderson.|
|Me, Pam East, Lorrene Baum-Davis, Hattie Sanderson and Mary Ellin D'Agostino.|
I also had fun celebrating the magazine's second birthday with birthday cake of course!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Gilders paste is a wax based medium used to highlight wood, porcelain, plastic, resin, metal, wax, etc. It comes in different colors and you can apply it directly with your fingers, sponge, cloth or use some mineral spirits to make the paste more creamy and easy to apply with a small paint brush.
Before applying the paste to the metal piece, we need to be sure it is free of dust and oil. If the surface is smooth you may have to use a fine sanding paper to create some texture in the metal. The paste will apply better if the metal has some kind of texture in it.
The paste dries to the touch in about 10 minutes and takes 12 hours to fully dry.
You have enough time to take the color out if you are not happy with it. You can use a cloth to take the color out or mineral spirit.
After your piece is totally dry, you have to finish the piece with a clear lacquer.
PMC3 and Gilders paste color Patina
©2009 Lorena Angulo
Copprclay and Gilders Paste ( African Bronze, Inca Gold and Silver)
©2011 Lorena Angulo
Bronzclay with Gilders paste (African bronze and Silver)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
If you have not receive your latest issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine, you may not be aware of this great opportunity to participate in a Metal Clay Competition.
Metal Clay Artist Magazine announced their annual design competition, the theme for this year is "Metal Clay Plus..." The magazine is looking for innovative combinations of metal clay and non-metal materials. Some of the non-metal materials you can use are: Resin, Polymer Clay, Glass, Porcelain, Ceramic, Fabric, Paper, etc.
This year competition is sponsored by USA-based PMC Connection.
Please, visit the magazine's website to see all the rules and requirements to participate.
This is the link: 2011 Metal Clay Design Competition
The deadline to submit your entry is by 11:59 Eastern Time on January 30th, 2012. You have lots of time to play and be creative.
Have FUN and participate !
Winning entries will be showcased in the Spring, 2012 issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Submissions will start June 15, 2011 through Aug. 15, 2011
Release date: Late - October 2011
I am seeking images to feature in our next annual calendar, The Art and Design of Metal Clay Jewelry 2012. All jewelry forms - necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, brooches, and others will be considered. Unique and diverse design styles and techniques are desired. Metal Clay is the predominant material, but other media - resin, gems, metals, enamel, and more may be incorporated into the design. High digital images will be accepted by mail or
c/o calendar submission 2012
P. O. Box 614
Bowmansville, PA 17507
Artwork submitted must represent work that is unique and original in design. New unpublished/unseen work is preferred . Group shots or individual pictures will be accepted. Limit 3 entries, no more then 2 shots per entry. Please don't send actual pieces. Professional photo quality is a MUST. Please consider the fact that viewers will only see your photo not your original work, so clear, uncluttered photos with an accurate representation will be priority for the selection process. Images should be 300 dpi, in tiff, jpg or psd format with no compression. The image size should be no smaller than 5 ". However only large format photos 8 1/2 x 11" can be considered for the prominent cover position.
Artwork for inclusion will be selected based on:
- High degree of excitement
- Unique use of metal clay and degree of challenge.
Hint: The above is a great checklist for submissions
Each calendar page measures 8.5 x 11, Opened it is 11 x 17.
Please include the following information. Missing information may forfeit your position in the calendar: (Please consider over 300 photos arrive for review)
3. Website or e-mail (indicate if this information should be included on the calendar)
4. Title of piece
5. Materials used
6. Dimensions in millimeters
7. Brief Description of process and/or motivation to how it was conceived. An interesting, well written statement is encouraged, 50 words or less. (This information will be published so put your best foot forward.)
8. File name
9. Has your file been retouched?
10. Is your file 300 dpi?
Please direct all inquires to: Holly Gage, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, June 26, 2011
|My ring from Lorrene's class.|
So I'll start from where I left off in March and promise to try and keep our blog more up to date!
As most of us know--we often give others the gifts we'd like to receive. And I think that holds true with things we write about. The following is a blog post I started to write in March--which seems to have turned into a "note to self".
Finding your own artistic voice is often a journey that takes a true artist a lifetime, since we evolve and grow and learn new things. Many metal clay artists have jumped on board learning about the new clays, joining groups or have found like minded individuals in a guild. Even with all of these opportunities, some artists struggle with finding their unique style and more importantly to feel that what they are working on has a purpose. Other artists are over-whelmed with the amount of ideas and things they want to try and all of the medias and ways to express themselves--and so they bounce from one thing to the next, all the while amassing (a.k.a. hording) huge amounts of materials and tools along the way. Added to this is the need to keep costs down in our studios, seeing ideas to fruition and throw in the twisted fact that some of us seem to need to be given permission to enjoy and explore our art on a regular basis.
Adopt An Alien, Creatures by Lindsey Banker
Now while we all love new things, and our community has seen it's share of new things in the past few years, are we having too many new clays, tools, techniques come our way? I had an interesting conversation last week with the owner of one of the bigger metal clay distributors. This person expressed the opinion that with so many new clays that some people are jumping "off the band wagon" and sticking with one or two clays. This is of course a logical step as people find their niche and focus on their own artwork. But for many of us--learning about the properties and experimenting with the new metal clays and techniques is not only a part of our studio practice--learning and sharing what we have tried is exhilarating. A tiny chance for us to participate in jewellery making history.
Speaking of jewellery making history, as most artists in the metal clay community now know, Lisa Cain and her staff at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery have worked out a way for us to make sterling silver metal clay. (See our current issue for her recipe Vol. 2 #2.) This innovation will undoubtedly change the course of work for many metal clay artists in the UK and Europe and those in other places looking to be able to add the universally recognized stamp of "approval" .925 to their creations. It will be very interesting to see how artists embrace and add to the recipe and techniques developed by Lisa and her team.
And of course we are all aware of the rising price of silver and we are looking for ways to stretch our studio dollars. This is pushing artists be more creative with their materials. I am seeing more artists incorporating glass, polymer clay, resin, faux bone...and more into their metal clay creations. A blog post by Celie Fago really turned a lot of heads. She talked about ways to incorporate or even substitute polymer clay into her metal clay designs as a way to stretch her studio budget. See May's post by Margaret Schindel (Our Senior Editor) for more photos and details. Photos from Celie's Blog:
|"For many years I've made this toggle clasp out of carved solid snakes of PMC."|
Besides the amount of materials we have to choose from, keeping costs down in our studios, the next biggest struggle in studio life is actually getting down to business in our studios. Ok...that should be "MY" studio. Oh yes, the truth is out--I'm behind on the blog and in working at my own bench on my own little ideas. I wonder why I feel I need to have permission to freely create? I see others online talking about this, so I'm relieved to know that I'm not alone. But I'm sure many who struggle to balance family life and a studio business also find it hard to justify the time away from family or from pushing their business further along. I know it is for me. I have two young children, who I adore. I also have the magazine--and all the stresses that go along with investing house and home to produce something that I feel is valuable and has a purpose. Maybe I should be content with the magazine as my creative outlet--and not beat myself up for not "making stuff". Or--is the bigger question--"why do I feel so darn creative, when I have to do the bookkeeping?"
Hmmm--something to ponder once I finish checking on what people have posted on Facebook today. I'm curious to see what new pieces of art those "alien artists" who have more than 24 hours a day have made today!
~Jeannette Froese LeBlanc
P.S. If you'd like to see what we've been up to--our new issue is due out very soon! Great articles, and great work again team!! And it's our second birthday in July!!! Check out what's in our new issue...
|Cover Artist: Jen Kahn|