Archive | March, 2011

Masterclass with Kate McKinnon

31 Mar

Ah!! Where do I begin? I bought Kate’s book Sculptural Clay a while back, and it totally changed the way I deal with my stuff. I was just so blown away by the information, that when I came across a picture online I followed the link to her blog and sent her a mail thanking her for the information. To my complete surprise she wrote back immediately! I went on to read some of her blog and discovered that she was going to be doing a masterclass about 150 miles from where I live. Even more surprising there was still a space on the course. I then (as I do) ummed and ahhed and decided I just could not justify the cost. Wrote and told all involved. Got a lovely message back saying I could come for a shorter period for a cheaper rate. Still in my head had decided against it, working out how many tools and books and supplies I could buy for the equivalent. Slept on it, woke up and apparently in my sleep had decided to go!!

The lovely BF suggested we make a weekend of it.

Saturday morning: Hadn’t been able to make the get to know you meal the night before so made sure I was well early so as not to be the last ‘billy no mates’ to arrive. Was very pleased BF came with me as the directions said turn left at the substation. I had no idea what a substation was!!

Anyway, I was the first to arrive and met Kate. Exactly how I imagined her. Also a tall lady (which I really liked), funny, warm, generous. We had name places round the most wonderul studio, and I was sat right next to her. She had brought us each a double DVD of hers as well as a few little items that she knew we weren’t able to get hold of easily in this country.

So, it started at 10, and I sat there totally enthralled for 3 hours while she demonstrated the things she thinks are most important. Then we went for a wonderul lunch, again I was sat next to her and again she was just the greatest company. You know what it’s like when you meet someone and think ‘yep – I really like you’!

Back in the studio in the afternoon and again she demonstrated more bits, components to make, different ways to use the clay and I think if I was going to pick out just a couple of things I have really taken on board, (since reading the book) it would be the way to cut and dry without leading to all that bloody sanding. I had always questionned the sanding thing and the logic of breathing it in, and here was someone saying, just don’t do it, get it right and you won’t need to.

I had tried putting her techniques into practise from watching her DVD but when you actually see someone do them it just all falls into place.

What I love about the clay, is the full firing, and now I just adore hammering the silver into oblivion – I mean submission – sorry I mean into a nice solid strong piece. The same way that you get with sterling. I am finally proud again instead of being slightly worried that I was taking an easy way out, that is just not true, I am working with a very pure material, that when treated properly is every bit as good, if not better than sterling with bits of copper and nickle in it.!!

Am I rambling? mmm

So, eventually we got down to making. Now to be honest, that was the bit I wasn’t really looking forward to, I am not someone who can do things like that in front of others, I just become all fingers and thumbs, and hey presto I made the most rediculous mistakes 😉

Lovely BF was supposed to collect me at 5, but the class continued and continued and eventually I made my apologies and left an hour and a half later.

I had the best experience, I have no funny stories to tell, I was just enthralled all day, and that isn’t really that amusing!

(The only amusing thing actually was that in that gorgeous part of the world, in the village / town we were staying on a Saturday night, the BF went hungry, all we could find to eat were two packets of crisps!! – amusing for me maybe not so much for him).

This is my proud attempt at a rivet spinning ring – I have no idea what it is actually called, but it’s a beast and I love it!

Playing with Sterling again!!

20 Mar

I started silversmithing about 15 or so years ago, then got sidetracked with life and a lack of money. I started making jewellery again about 4 yearsa ago, beaded, and used bali silver etc, then moved onto precious metal clay. I just recently found my old boxes of sterling and thought this afternoon I’d have another go. I have all the equipment I need now, funny, I couldn’t afford it years ago and now I have it, but bought for something else!
So first, I dug out the feather that I started. It has 9ct gold rolled onto sterling, that was then textured and cut into. I then realised I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with it. I polished it up today in the tumbler, and still have no idea what to do with it!! Its about 3 inches long, so it could be a chunky pendant or a brooch.
Then I fancied making some stacker rings. I soldered them and hammered them and then tumbled them and am just delighted with them, I can see what I am going to be making in the next few weeks!
Mind you I have 300 grammes of precious metal clay on its way and my funds have been totally exhausted paying for a masterclass I’m going to next weekend. So, once my dusty old supplies of yore have run out, I’ll have to wait till the funds top up a bit!
Will write about the materclass after next weekend.

So into doing earrings now

16 Mar

I have so gotten addicted to making earrings now I have the posts sorted out. I was trying to solder them on with such a crap torch which was quite frankly, dangerous! One minute shooting out a 6 inch flame, the next dying, and no way of regulating it, but now I have a decent torch.
This was made worse with the Chinese lodger, who doesn’t really speak any English, I would lock the cats up in the bathroom to keep them out of the way, he would wander through, make noises when he saw what I was doing and promptly let the cats out the bathroom, with a laugh, thinking they had gotten caught there by accident. No way of explaining. Imagine, 6 inch flame and two cats bouncing around on surfaces, it’s a wonder the house is still standing! (mind they are totally bald now 😉 (but no split ends in future lol)
I love hammering silver and have to stop myself over doing it, but it is just so satisfying. I am going to make some hammered circle dome earrings, nothing particularly unique about that I know, but I do know I will get a lot of satisfaction out of them. Roll on the weekend!

Gotta get the hallmark sorted!!

13 Mar

Here’s another little beast. However, I think, trying to decide, that this one I am keeping for myself. The problem is that these are coming out quite the weight little beasts, and in the UK you can’t sell silver if weighs over 7.8 grams if it hasn’t been hallmakred by the assay office. I am in the process of organising this, however it is expensive and annoying 😉 and so at the moment I can only sell my heavy bits outside UK. Perfect excuse me thinks for not selling this at all! (It also fits me perfectly – mm – wonder how that happened)

Recreating nature???

11 Mar

I love geodes, and decided to try my hand at making one in silver. This was made with cork clay and then inset with amethyst crystal zirconia. It’s not huge but quite unusual, as it looks like a silver egg straight on although there is a glint of lovely mauve crystal at the top, when you look in it glistens with mauve and purple crystals. Devils own job to polish the outside to make it so smooth.

The midnight daisy collection

7 Mar


So here is part of the Midnight Daisy collection. A round box pendant, which has holes in the side to let the central flower catch the light, a couple of different rings and simple flower post earrings, in a few sizes. It’s all quite chunky, but I can see this is what I’ll be making for this month at least. Not quite sure which one I’m keeping 😉

And here are a few of them

6 Mar

So, finally I’ve gotten some of them photographed and uploaded, it’s just all such a time consuming business. I loved making these. They are part of a collection which I’ll show in the next post.

So excited – rings are firing!!

1 Mar

I’m just so excited. I have rings finishing off now – can’t wait!!

I also have AAPD ( artist attention Project Disorder!!)
A fellow team member from the metalclayheads team on Etsy) has just helped me diagnose myself!! Laura from Zoewyn on Etsy (amazing creations) says:

Quote: it is commonly mis-diagnosed as ADD or ADHD, since it is a “special” disorder, being not common in the general public, but it is in epidemic proportions within the artistic community.

It is best treated with caffeine, chocolate, and some rocking music, and lots and lots of alone studio time

It flairs during times of stress when the artist can only visit a work table for short spurts of time. Unquote
Thank You Laura – I was quite worried!!