Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 9, 2009: Silver Clay Success!

EXCITED! Yes, Excited!!!

I'm working on 7 projects right now. One of them a "Wax Stamp" pendant came out soo sweet tonight. It's adorable. I created the piece with polymer clay. Cooked it and then molded it with 2-part mold compound. Then I used the mold for the silver clay. I used bezels for the first time... little fine silver cups the size of the 'gems' that it will hold. They are attached to the piece before firing.

The idea for this is that the stamp holds birthstones of the receivers children.

Here's my question though - Do I put the 'gems' in and THEN tumble or TUMBLE then put gems in? I've looked and looked and don't find anything specifically along this line. (Tumble - putting the pieces in a jewelry tumbler with mixed size stainless steel shot and the pieces are burnished by the shot. I purchased a Lortone tumbler - yes another tool! :o) and it sits on the top shelf of my work bench out in the garage.)

My Art Clay Friends on Facebook all said that it needed to be done before the tumble. Because part of the thing that tumbling does is 'work harden' the silver. Meaning the more it is burnished the harder the silver becomes. A good thing when dealing with delicate bails.

So I attempted to put the gems in and discovered something - i have the wrong type of bezel. I bought bezel cups which you normally use for cabachons but what I needed were pronged settings. Sooo now what? Make due.

Here's the biggest problem. I originally made this piece for a different recipient. Then wanted to make 'charms' for her daughter and thought hmmm should use something else. So I decided to use this piece for another friend who also has two children. However the 'gems' I have for this project are not perfect circles and they won't fit ... what to do, what to do?

Polymer Clay!! Yep that's right. I used the correct colors mixed to look like Garnet and then went back to that slab of Skinner Blend left over from my polymer clay techniques class that is the PERFECT match for turquoise. I cooked the little pieces and once the piece is tumbled I'll glue the polymer into the bezels.

So much success - so little time!

Photos to come!

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