Thursday, 27 September 2012
Silver Art Clay lesson
Last Saturday I went with my mum to another craft class at The Bead Shop Nottingham. This was the last one in the series of 4 that we booked, but the new class schedule has just come out so we're booked on another 5!
This class was Silver Art Clay. It's pretty much the same as PMC but shrinks at a different rate. There are different forms of the clay - standard, slow dry, paste and syringe. I didn't think to take photos until after the firing I'm afraid.
The pictures above are of the pieces just after they're fired, but a lot of work went into them to get to that stage. We started with the leaf and used the paste, watered down to paint in very thin layers onto a real leaf. After each application, we dried it using a heat gun, then added another layer. We continued this throughout the class whenever we've finished a task, ending up with about 8 layers, the last ones being very thick.
For the pendant we were given 5g of the slow dry clay. By slow dry, it just means that it doesn't dry within seconds, more like within minutes. Most people made 2 or 3 pendants or charms, I only managed one as it was the most frustrating material ever! It dried up the minute I touched it. I finally managed to roll some out and cut out the little heart. I gave the rest of my clay to my mum who got on really well with it.
The ring was made by rolling out a sausage of clay, then wrapping it round a mandral. We used the syringe clay to make decorations, but I was crap at it! I discarded it in the end and just cut out 3 flowers and stuck them on. Before firing we had to sand down the pieces to make them nice and smooth. My ring was actually pretty good, despite my difficulties.
After firing in the kiln, we wire brushed the pieces to remove the white covering you see in the top picture, then sanded and burnished the pieces, depending on the finish required. For my pendant I brushed the background and sanded it slightly, then burnished and polished the raised heart for a high-shine finish. I did the same on the ring. The leaf was brushed, then the veins burnished lightly before it was dropped into an antiquing solution. The above picture shows it when it had just come out of the solution (which smells of rotton eggs!).
I was struggling to get a good picture of the ring, but you can see that the leaf has changed colour, it carried on doing this until it ended up a kind of grey colour.
I got some pictures in the natural light on Sunday, not great pictures, but I think they show the pieces off OK.
It's very hard to photograph a ring, it had a tendancy to roll. I've got tiny fingers so my ring is tiny, but it doesn't fit! It's just a little too small. I was a bit gutted as I planned to wear it.
So, my thoughts on Silver Art Clay? I enjoyed learning the process, but it's not for me. It's too frustrating. It's also really expensive, the equipment will set you back about £30, not including a kiln of course, and the clay it's sell costs a fortune. It's probably for the best I didn't take to it! My mum, on the other hand, loves it and has already put the starters kit on her wish list!