Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to Make Faux Spiculum Chain End Findings

A spiculum? What on earth is a spiculum? In metalsmithing terminology, it's the name for a tapered tube of metal. They are formed from a flat sheet of metal, the seam is soldered, then they can be curved and bent in a variety of attractive forms.

Metal clay lends itself to a similar technique. Because we can easily roll metal clay into a tapered form, we can make our own version of a spiculum. I make them into custom chain ending findings for unfinished chains and call it a "faux" spiculum–because it's not really a tube. At least not all the way…

Here is a tutorial on how to make these chain endings, using my faux spiculum technique. It's an easy intermediate project–I am going to assume you know basic metal clay procedures, including how to roll a metal clay "snake".

If you would like a copy of the PDF just click on the link below. It will immediately automatically download for you.


I hope you enjoy it!

~ Evelyn

Monday, May 16, 2011

Celebrating two great years of great articles and projects !

Metal Clay Artist Magazine is celebrating its 2nd year anniversary.

I am very happy to see how this great magazine has grown so much. Each issue is bigger and full of great articles, projects, tips and beautiful pictures of work by many artists around the world.

Thank You to Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Carl LeBlanc, Margaret Schindel 
and all their great team of helpers for such a great job !

Thank You to all of you for supporting this wonderful magazine !!

Here are some links you can visit and join the groups.

Happy Birthday Metal Clay Artist Magazine !!!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Expand your creative repertoire to conserve metal clay

The hottest topic of conversation among metal clay artists these days is the rising cost of precious metals and the financial and artistic challenges it creates. Our readers tell us that their biggest challenge lately has been finding ways to save on materials costs without inhibiting their creativity or diminishing their work.

This situation isn’t likely to change any time in the foreseeable future, and Jeannette, Carl and I have spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to help metal clay artists meet this challenge.

The Clay Convergence column by Lisa Pavelka has been part Metal Clay Artist Magazine from the very beginning and focuses on mixed-media techniques with metal clay. In her column in the current issue called “Remains of the Day,” Lisa shares her favorite ways to use small amounts of leftover metal clay to make striking embellishments for polymer and other pieces (including metal clay pieces).

Our next issue of MCAM will include wonderful advice from Linda Stiles Smith about ways to reduce spending in the studio. She’ll address everything from ways to reclaim clay bits and metal dust from unexpected sources to ways to reduce studio energy costs.

We also are planning to publish more projects that show sophisticated and unusual ways of combining polymer clay and other media with metal clay. And one of our upcoming issues will be devoted specifically to polymer clay techniques that can be used in combination with metal clays.

Anyone who is concerned that using polymer clay in their work will diminish either its artistic or monetary value has only to look at the work of renowned polymer and metal clay artist Celie Fago. Celie was a polymer artist long before metal clay was invented. She has pioneered many innovative polymer techniques over the course of the past two or three decades, and is one of the first artists to combine polymer and metal clays in her work. Far from diminishing her metal clay work, her elegant and sophisticated polymer techniques only enhance it.

She recently wrote a blog post about how the skyrocketing cost of silver has made her re-think her use of both metal and polymer clays. She is experimenting with ways to adapt some of her silver and bronze designs to polymer and other less expensive materials, letting those materials do the “heavy lifting,” as she put it, and using silver metal clay for precious embellishments that take the work to the next level. A great example is her signature Ouroboros carved snake toggle clasp, which she has been making for years in silver and bronze metal clay. Recently she tried making some of these distinctive toggle clasps from carved polymer with silver clay embellishments. The look is different from the all-metal clasps, but no less beautiful or artistic. In fact in some ways they are even more interesting.

I’m looking forward to attending Celie’s upcoming class, PMC Pendant With New Polymer Inlay Techniques, on June 9-12 in preparation for an article that will be in our special polymer issue next Spring.

By the way, for those of you who are interested in learning some of Celie's amazing polymer techniques, you're in luck! Her classes usually fill up as soon as they are announced, but a couple of spots have opened up in the polymer inlay class that I will be attending, as well as in her Hinges for PMC: New and Advanced Techniques class on June 21-24 that I have taken previously (and that Jeannette is hoping to be able to go to if she can juggle her schedule sufficiently). If you're interested in taking advantage of one of the openings in either of these 4-day classes, I recommend contacting Celie ASAP at to try to reserve one of those open spots.

Do you have any interesting ways of reducing your costs by combining metal clay with other materials? Please share them by commenting below and/or by posting them on the MCAM Facebook page.

Thanks and happy claying!
~ Margaret

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I found a new modeling clay to play with !

I am always in the look out to find new materials or mediums to play with and I just got a new one that I have been playing with for a couple of days. This new modeling clay is called Craft Porcelain by AMACO and I have been having lots of fun with it.

It is not as easy to textured or carved as Creative Paperclay but the finished look after it is air dry is fantastic.
The modeling clay's name, Craft porcelain, is because after it is air dry the clay looks and feels like porcelain.

Here are some of the pieces I have done playing with this material.

©2011 Lorena Angulo
Hand sculpted with Craft Porcelain
©2011 Lorena Angulo
Hand sculpted with Craft Porcelain

©2011 Lorena Angulo
Hand sculpted with Craft Porcelain

©2011 Lorena Angulo
Hand sculpted with Craft Porcelain

©2011 Lorena Angulo
Hand sculpted with Craft Porcelain

The clay can be painted after it is dry or you can buy it with color also. It is very simple to work with and it can be a good addition for your metal clay work. I also believe that making my designs with this clay can give me a great idea of how my piece can look like in a 3D form.

The pieces need to be sealed after they are dry and finish with a clear sealer to protect the material from getting damage.

Keep playing, Keep creating !!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Etsy MetalClay's Charm Bracelet for the Red Cross

Just like an old-fashioned cookie swap, twenty-one members of the Etsy MetalClay Team held a charm swap last spring. Each artist designed and fabricated their own charm in metal clay. The charms where then mailed to team member Jane Font, who divided them up and sent out a set to each participating team member. It was so exciting to open up the package and unwrap each charm. Every one a work of art!

But the swap was about much more than that—because the team also decided to make two extra charms each, assemble them into bracelets, and donate those two bracelets for charitable causes. Last fall the first bracelet was successfully auctioned for the benefit of Autism Speaks. Now, the team has the second bracelet up for auction on EBay, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross. The auction ends Thursday, May 12 at 9 p.m PDT.

Team member Christine Childress kindly volunteered to assemble the bracelet. She chose a beautiful 7.5 inch sterling cable chain with a toggle clasp. Fine silver, bronze and copper metal clays have been used for the charms. This is the last time this set of charms will be available.

The Etsy MetalClay Team is an international group of metal clay artists, sharing experiences with working in the metal clay medium and selling on Etsy.

~ Evelyn P. Dombkowski

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