Thursday, 30 May 2013

Silver Clay Jewellery

I've been on the lookout for a silver jewellery course for ages - you used to have to do a lengthy silversmithing course for this, but not anymore. I attended a jewellery course using silver clay (or silver art clay), which is nearly pure silver held together with a binding material. It's made as a way to capture the silver dust that is created in manufacturing processes. It's really easy to work with, you can make endless shapes and designs, and when you burn off the binder you are left with 99.9% silver. Cool huh?

art clay silver, jewellery, jewelry, charm bracelet

On the course we were given 5-6 grams of clay, which doesn't sound like a lot, but does go quite a long way. I made 5 charms for a bracelet, a necklace and some earrings. To make it easier to work with you need a tile, a rolling pin, a craft knife and any stamps or shapes you might want to cut out. Always keep the clay you are not using in the packaging to stop it drying out. You can keep what you don't use for the next shape, just add a little water if the clay dries out.

If you buy any silver clay it will probably come with better instructions than this, but here is the general process: 
- Mould and shape your designs on the tile until you are happy with them, always remember to put a hole in the clay using a toothpick if you want to attach it to something later! 
- Blow a hairdryer on the highest setting on the pieces, until they come free from the tile, be careful as they do fly about once they're loose. 
- Once they are loose, turn down the hairdryer to the low setting and keep going until the  pieces are dry, you can tell this by putting them on a mirror, if you see condensation they are not yet dry enough. 
- Use baby wipes to smooth the edges. 
- You "fire" this clay on gauze laid over a gas ring - place the silver clay where the gauze glows, where it is hottest, and time for two minutes, and immediately place into cold water. 
- Rub the jewellery with metal wire or a metal brush to reveal the silver underneath - it's magic to see your design in clay now in beautiful silver.

Moulding the clay / keep the spare clay in the packaging

Firing the clay / place the pieces into water & brush with metal wire brush

how to use silver clay, jewelry, tutorial, ideas

Finished charms

Silver clay is not cheap, but you can buy cheaper versions in bronze or copper if you want to practice, or more expensive in gold if you prefer!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Chocolate Mendiants

I had so much fun making these - minimal preparation and lots of decoration!

I have never worked with gold leaf before this month and it's SO strange. I had read how delicate it was before I opened it but I was still amazed by how delicate it actually is. You really cannot even breathe near it! I had a tiny brush ready but I found it best to tear it and place it with a tiny craft knife. It's amazing stuff and I think it looks stunning on the finished article.

You will need:
Good quality dark chocolate, one bar makes about 12
Crystallised rose & violet petals
Silver balls
Sugar decorations
Gold or silver leaf (make sure it says edible)
Other ideas: chilli flakes, sea salt, dried fruit, nuts

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over hot water, or very slowly in a microwave, and remove the last lumps by stirring. Place a spoonful on baking paper and decorate. Cool in the fridge.

chocolate mendiants, petit fours, gold leaf recipe, Crystallised rose petals

Crystallised rose petals, crystallized violet petals

chocolate mendiants, petit fours, gold leaf recipe, crystallized petals

Monday, 6 May 2013

You can now...

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