Friday, March 18, 2011

The real cover!

On March 6th, I wrote a blog post about our cover artist, which was tricky to do given that our cover had a top secret exclusive article.  So we deleted the headline and posted the cover without it so that I could talk about Joy Funnell's beautiful fine silver mask that is our highlighted art piece.

Here is the cover we posted on March 6th
And here is the cover that you will see on our next issue!!

So now you know our big secret--STERLING SILVER METAL CLAY! I can't tell you how excited we are at Metal Clay Artist Magazine to be a part of this chapter in jewellery making history. (And not to mention how hard it was to keep the secret!)  The article will feature the recipes that Lisa Cain and the teachers at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery made, tested and hallmarked!l The recipes to make Sterling Silver metal clay using PMC or Art Clay, comments and samples from the testers will be in our next issue, due out in April.

Thank you Lisa for being so generous with this information!!

Our website: has a few more details about what is coming.    

As well here is our press release:
Friday, March 18, 2011
Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery Director Creates Hallmark-Quality Sterling Silver Metal Clay

Details to be revealed in the upcoming issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine.

Lisa Cain, Director of the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery (MCSJ) in England, announced today that she and her staff have developed methods, recipes and firing schedules for com­bining existing commercial silver and copper clay formulas into hallmark-quality sterling silver clay. A fired sample of the clay was first hallmarked by the London Assay Office on January 25, 2011. The step-by-step method, recipes and firing schedule will be published in the Spring 2011 issue (Vol. 2, Issue #2) of Metal Clay Artist Magazine, which will launch in early April. 

Staff at MCSJ developed two successful recipes, one using Art Clay™ brand metal clays and another using PMC® clays. Well-known UK artists Julia Rai (also a staff instructor at MCSJ), Lesley Messam and Chris Pate tested and refined the process to ensure that it could be reproduced easily and reliably in a home studio. Detailed reports from all three testers will be included in the nine-page article in the upcoming issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine devoted to this breakthrough metal clay discovery.

Ms. Cain explains, “My motivation for developing this new option was the very real need for this type of clay, especially here in the UK where hallmarking laws influence the materials we artists can use credibly in our commercial work. Sterling silver clay of hallmark quality is a crucial next step in the evolution of metal clay.”

Once Ms. Cain had proven that sterling silver clay was achievable and practical, she shared her discovery with a small number of colleagues and close friends, some of whom encouraged her to manufacture the sterling silver clay or try to benefit financially from the recipes in some way. “I have no interest in doing either. My focus is set firmly on innovation, artistry in metal clay, teaching and running the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery. I share it willingly with the metal clay community.” 

Ms. Cain chose to reveal her method, recipes, firing schedules and detailed test results in Metal Clay Artist Magazine because “they were willing and excited to allocate the effort and space needed to really do justice to the story and give the metal clay community all the detailed information I wanted to share.” Metal Clay Artist Magazine is available for purchase at more than 12,000 locations worldwide. To purchase a copy of the Vol. 2, Issue #2, which contains the article on Lisa Cain’s sterling silver metal clay, visit This issue will be available in April.

Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

UPDATE: More than $2,000 raised so far to help disaster victims in Japan!

I am SO PROUD of all my friends and colleagues in the metal clay community worldwide!!! Just during the past two days, more than $2,000 in contributions have been made so far to the pooled group donation on behalf of the Global Metal Clay Community. That means we've already funded TWO Shelterbox boxes, each containing vital survival supplies for the men, women and children victimized by the devastating earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear reactor crisis in Japan!

I am confident that we will raise enough by the time the donation period ends on Monday (3/21/11) to send even more Shelterboxes that will help provide essential resources - 10-person shelter tents to house an extended family, blankets, stoves, basic tools, and other vitally-needed items - to more victims of this tragic disaster.

If you'd like to be part of this group donation on behalf of the Global Metal Clay Community, you'll find more information and step-by-step instructions for making a contribution in my previous post.

I'm honored to be a member of this generous, caring and warm-hearted community. Thank you all for caring and sharing!!!

~ Margaret

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Supporting Our Friends and Colleagues in Japan

The devastating earthquake, tsunami and their aftermath in Japan have created a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. All of us in the metal clay community have ties to Japan, the birthplace of metal clay and home to the two largest manufacturers of metal clay in the world. Many of the caring and generous members of the global metal clay community have expressed a desire to help and support those in Japan who have lost so much - in many cases, everything - as a result of this horrific disaster.

Metal clay artists and organizations around the world have been making donations to organizations that are providing disaster relief in Japan. Members of the Metal Clay Gallery group on Yahoo! - the largest online community of international metal clay artists - have organized an opportunity to pool contributions into a larger, collective donation on behalf of the global metal clay community.

The group has chosen as the recipient of the collective donation. Shelterbox is a terrific organization with a proven track record of providing disaster relief quickly, effectively and efficiently to those who need it most. (Learn more about Shelterbox's wonderful work further down in this post.)

For those who would like to contribute to this group donation to Shelterbox along with other members of the international metal clay community, Jackie Truty of Art Clay World, USA has generously volunteered to collect our contributions via PayPal through Monday, March 21. She will send the total amount collected to Shelterbox as a group donation on behalf of the Global Metal Clay Community on Tuesday, March 22.

Please note that this group donation itself is not affiliated with Art Clay World or Art Clay products specifically. The disaster is not brand-specific, and neither is the support of the metal clay community. Jackie simply has volunteered the use of Art Clay World's PayPal account to provide an easy, central collection point for donations from the entire metal clay community, regardless of personal metal clay brand preferences. Thank you, Jackie!

To make a contribution to the group donation:
  • Log into your personal PayPal account.
  • Click on the Send Money tab.
  • In the form, click on the Personal tab.
  • Select Other.
  • In the To field, type
  • Enter the amount of your donation and select your currency from the pulldown box.
  • Click "Continue".
  • Review the default Payment Method (and click the "change" link if you want to change it).
  • In the Email to recipient box, change the Subject to Shelterbox donation and in the Message area, type Shelterbox donation for Japan and your e-mail address.
  • Click the Send Money button.
You will have the option to add the PayPal transaction fee to your payment, if you wish, so that it will not be deducted from you donation and will go to Shelterbox instead to help those in need in Japan. Also, Jackie/Art Clay World will not divulge the amount of individual donations to anyone (even small donations add up quickly!), and the group donation will be made with no individual recognition. Instead, it will be credited to the Global Metal Clay Community, in the spirit in which it is being made.

Again, contributions to this group donation will be accepted only until Monday, March 21 so that the Shelterboxes we fund can get to those who need them in Japan as quickly as possible.

UPDATE: After just one day, more than $1,000 in contributions have been sent to the group donation already! In order for the disaster victims to receive their Shelterbox relief equipment, tools and supplies as quickly as possible, Jackie has just sent a $1,000 donation to Shelterbox on behalf of the Global Metal Clay Community so that our first Shelterbox can get on its way to Japan without further delay. As additional contributions reach increments of $1,000, she will send the money to Shelterbox right away. On March 22, a final donation will be sent to Shelterbox for the balance of the contributions, which will help fund another box for disaster victims. Thank you to the global metal clay community for demonstrating your caring and generosity once again!!!

What Shelterbox Is and What It Does

Based in Cornwall, UK, ShelterBox is a highly respected international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide. Its approach to disaster relief is to "deliver the essentials a family needs to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster." We've all seen the heartbreaking images from Japan. So many men, women and children suddenly have become homeless, lacking both shelter and the basic necessities of daily living. Those essential resources are what Shelterbox provides. Each large box is tailored to the relief needs of a particular disaster. Typically it contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, stove, basic tool kit, and other vital items. Japan is the primary focus of this wonderful organization's disaster relief efforts right now. The cost of each Shelterbox is $1000 USD. These boxes bring much more than just essential survival necessities: They also deliver hope to families and individuals who need it desperately.

If you'd like to make an individual donation directly to Shelterbox:

Visit the web site. UK citizens can just click on the Donate button. If you are from another country, the home page features links to their international sites where you can donate. Just click on the flag for your country, or select your country from the pulldown box at the bottom right of the page.

This post is not a solicitation for donations. It is a way to help spread the word to members of our community about a wonderful opportunity to participate in a group donation on behalf of the global metal clay community, and to let anyone who is looking for a meaningful way to help the disaster victims in Japan know about the Shelterbox organization and its work.

Of course, there are many other worthy organizations to which you can make donations to help the relief effort in Japan, if you wish. It's a good idea to check the percentage of the money that goes to administrative costs vs. the amount that goes to the relief efforts themselves.

For those of you who haven't heard already, the PMC Guild has made a contribution to an internationally recognized relief organization on behalf of its members. Thanks to Tim, Nettie and the entire PMC Guild leadership for their generous contribution on our behalf! As always, I'm very proud to be a Guild member.

Heartfelt and personal thanks to all the members of our wonderful global metal clay community for demonstrating your extraordinary caring and generous collective spirit once again. Our hearts, thoughts, and are with the people of Japan.

~ Margaret

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Numbers 8,9 and 10

Hi everyone,
Well, I have been busy making rings and things...hope you have been having fun in your studios too! I realized as I was getting ready to post photos of my latest ring that I forgot to show you numbers 8 and, now, you get all three!!
So, to start, number 8 is a set of stenciled metal clay with sterling bands that were too big for me so I couldn't wear, I decided to re-think the whole problem to make them wearable. There was a space about 1/8th of an inch to play with....and I have all these sheets of my polymer experiments so I choose the one that looked like it was wood grain. Right size and lucky was that? So, I whipped out my saw and cut out the slabs and chemically bonded them....I may go in and add some decorative rivets or pre-sets at a later date, but I haven't thought about it yet.
Next in line is number 9, which is a ring base of Faux Bone and has been stained with ink and polymer clay. It has been hanging around for about a year so I decided to use it. I also used some leftover bits from some earrings I made years ago and a purple rivoli. So, they were also chemically bonded to the surface....riveting inside the Faux Bone ring was just not possible for this ring.
Then it was time to make a new ring but I have had these parts on the workbench for a month and it was time to move it or lose, I sat down and tried to work things out. I had planned for this ring to have one of my epoxy cones in it and to have the copper metal clay faceplate hold it in place. The problems started when the faceplate broke after getting the first rivet set. Then the little bit at the top broke off...that was when I set it aside. So, when I decided to re-think the idea and make it convey something different. I find if I change the direction I am approaching a problem from, I get a completely different solution that I thought I would. So, while I was thinking, I was also playing around with my little bits and pieces and I found the one with the hand on it and it also had two holes for riveting in it. I slid it between the copper faceplate and the sterling band and it fit nice and snug. I decided to sew the disc in place to help hold everything together while I was riveting. The funny thing was that I liked the thread once I had tied it into place. I thought the softness of the thread was nice against the hardness of the metal, so I left it in place and then I antiqued the whole ring with acrylic paint and a little colored pencil. It is very comfortable to wear even with all the different layers.
So, I am already working on my next may be a four finger ring with a polymer sheet and a long thing stone bullet of amethyst lace agate. You will have to come back to see.....have fun playing in your studios...Kelly Russell if you want to see more photos and different angles.....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cover Girl!

We are thrilled to show off the artwork of 
Joy Funnell, our cover artist for Vol. 2, Issue #2.
Joy Funnell's Beautiful Mask made out of fine silver is our cover piece for our next issue!

(P.S.--You might think that there is something missing from the cover!  
And there is!!  We will reveal an exclusive special article in a few weeks!!)

I have loved this piece of jewellery for a long time and wanted to know some more about it. 

MCAM: When did you make this piece?
Joy: I made this piece in January 2010 to enter into the 11th Silver Accessories Contest in Japan. I was delighted that I was awarded an Honourable Mention for it.

MCAM: Challenges you encountered while making it?
Joy: The main challenge was getting the material effect around the face. I was working with textured clay at .25mm thick so I could get the draped effect but it took a while to get it to look right. I like to decorate the backs of my pieces as well so I finished off the back of the headdress with more of the draped material effect. I think that took longer to do than the front!

MCAM: How many in are in this series?  Any inklings to make a commercial series?
Joy: This mask was the third in a series and it took the longest to make. I worked on it off and on over a three week period. When I finished this mask I felt that the idea had run it course but after a break from them I am starting to feel another one may yet be on the horizon. I kept the first one in the series as I use it for my branding. I sold the second one and will be selling this one soon. I certainly won't be going into mass production of them though!
MCAM: How does it hang on a chain?
Joy: On the back is a question mark shape bail and the piece sits very comfortably on a sterling silver torque. Even though it is a relatively heavy piece at 43g it does not feel heavy when worn on this.
MCAM: What are you working on right now?
Joy: I have several pieces on the go at the moment. A couple of them are bird related for the Bird a Week challenge I am taking part in. I am trying to make more pieces with Enamelled Accents on them as examples for the workshops I am teaching at the Guild of Enamellers conference in April and MCWC in July. I have one particular half finished pendant with an angel on where I am struggling to decide on the right design to go around her but I will just keep looking at it until inspiration hits me. I also have a step by step tutorial I am writing in progress.
MCAM: What type of metal clay is your favourite?  Why?
Joy: I work almost exclusively with Art Clay Silver 650. When I first encountered metal clay this was the type being used and I quickly went ahead and took my Art Clay certification courses as I was so enamoured with it. Because of that I have just stuck with it. It works well for me and I feel very comfortable using it. When I teach I explain to students about other brands and tell them they should try them if they wish to see what they prefer to use.

MCAM: Have you tried others?
Joy: I have used Art Clay copper but the other metal clays available do not really appeal to me. I enamel a lot of my pieces and I was enamelling long before I ever discovered silver clay. I always used to work on fine silver and have a dislike for enamelling on copper. It is just personal preference and for me Art Clay Silver is what I am passionate about. Maybe in the future I will experiment more with other clays, but for now I shall stick with what I really enjoy using. I know I will create my best work if I do not have any nagging doubts in my mind about the medium I am using. 

Thanks Joy for sharing this information with our readers!  
~Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February RAW rings

This month was a big challenge for me because I spent most of the month sick and taking care of my sick daughter. What really kept me going and gave me great energy was to keep making and creating what I love to do, jewelry.
Even though I was not able to make some pieces that I had in progress, making my rings for RAW was a nice way to make me feel better during my very sick days.
In this month I experimented with a new material and it was invigorating and excited to see my creativity in a different way.
This material gave the opportunity to add a lot of color to my creations, which I love !  Color to me is very important and the brighter the better ! Color can make you happy!

Here are the rings I made for the month of February.

©2011 Lorena Angulo

The top two rings were made with Creative paperclay. I hand sculpted and carved the pieces with the paperclay. After they were dry I colored them with colored pencils and acrylics.
The bottom ring on the right was made with a cork, brass and copper. You can see more about this ring in this post, "My first RAW ring for February."
The bottom ring of the left was made with steel wire and brass wire, I got inspired after reading a wonderful book, Steel wire jewelry.

Because I was so energized with this material, Creative paperclay, I just could not stop and I made already two more rings for the month of March!

©2011 Lorena Angulo
Creative paperclay, colored pencils and acrylics.
3.11 inches by 1.45 inches
©2011 Lorena Angulo
Creative paperclay, colored pencils, acrylics, beads,
PMC and a CZ.

I had a great time exploring this new materials and I am sure you will love to play with it too.
Have you played with Creative paperclay? I will love to see what you have made.

Here you have all the pieces I made with my first package of Creative paperclay.

Keep playing, keep creating !

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