Out again? On a school night? Tsk-tsk. This is getting to be a bit of a habit isn’t it. But what a fun one! Was stretching my muscles again, but this time my body got a respite as it was my creative sinews that were getting the workout. Let’s face, it was long overdue. And boy did I feel the burn…
So last nights activity of choice was…? Jewellery making at a local jewellery school, using a super awesome material called Metal Clay! It starts off as regular looking clay, but after a few simple steps (and a bit of heat) it turns into copper or silver right in front of your eyes! It’s magic! I intended to take some pics of the process, but got so caught up in what I was doing, I totally forgot to! Rookie error :(.
I went to the class well prepared – c’mon, you can’t be surprised about this by now – as the course details had explained we’d be making stuff to “our own design”. I took that to mean that I needed to have my design worked out beforehand. Turn’s out that’s not what was meant. So a week’s worth of head scratching and pencil sucking wasted then. Oh well :). My page of creations did lead the teacher to (wrongly) assume I had my own kiln though, which I found hilarious! Me?! With a kiln?! Oh man, that would be some kind of disaster!
I joined five others on the night, all equally excited about the treasure trove of shiny wonderments adorning the walls and shelves of our classroom. Our jewellery guru Julie was a brilliant teacher, enthusiastic and passionate, which always makes for a great course. She did have to calm us down once or twice when we were getting a little too excited. And when I say ‘us’ I of course mean ‘me’. Oops! After the introductions, and the ‘science bit’, we were all itching to get our hands on our clay. I’d upgraded from the standard Copper Metal Clay to the even shinier Precious Metal Clay, so that the piece I designed would be in hallmark quality silver. It wasn’t much more expensive to do this, and I’m glad I did. I prefer silver jewellery, the process is quicker (silver doesn’t take as long to fire as copper does) and I wanted to take my piece home with me that night. None of this waiting around malarkey for me thanks. I’d paid, I’d made, I was taking it :).
Talking done, it was time to get making! We chose our design plates – one for the front and the back – and our shape cutters, and then dived into our clay (not literally of course). Most of the class chose to use the same shape cutter. Not me though. I’m an individual. I refused to pander to the establishment’s idea of the norm. Up the rebels! That and my design didn’t really work with their silly shape :). So, clay out, tools at the ready and into the creating we went, with gusto! Prepping and rolling first, then onto pressing our design plates into the clay and cutting it to shape. Then a little down time as our pieces were sent to a food dehydrator to dry (we filled this time talking about cake; wonder who brought that subject up…?). Once dried, it was time to sand down the edges and hand drill a hole ready for the chain/hook stage later. And yes, they let me loose with a hand drill – the fools! It’s ok, no injuries were sustained, and all fingers are still in tact :). Now it was firing time! Into the kiln our masterpieces went and, 10 minutes later, out popped the PMC ones, ready for refining. When fired, silver clay turns white, and you’re meant to brush off all the white residue to reveal the super shiny silver below. But I really liked the white finish, so I decided to leave it as it was, just buffing the raised parts of my design with a copper brush and burnisher, to reveal a hint of the sparkle beneath. And here it is, my first entirely handmade piece:
I’m so pleased with how it turned out :D. It’s hard to believe that only a few hours before it had just been a boring squidgy bit of clay. Now look at it; all shiny and gorgeous. And I made it myself! How cool is that?! Julie had warned us at the start of the class that working with Metal Clay can be totally addictive, and I have to say, I completely agree! I’ve already picked her brains about how I can make my hand-drawn designs a reality, and warned her that my stupid face may well be popping up in some more of her classes soon. She looked quite relaxed about that, but did say she might hide some of the more “advanced” tools away, just in case I got a little too carried away. Me? Carried away? Now that doesn’t sound like me at all… :).