Blog - Amy's Handmade Gifts
Welcome to my jewelry blog; please leave comments!
This will be the first of a new, and hopefully interesting to the readers, series of guest blogs I will feature on my site. They will be from various experts in the handmade jewelry/ornaments world and will explore various aspects of design, handcrafting, components and more.
The first article is from Xena Sadovsky of the Jewellery Maker website, and it is about an intriguing product called 'Copper Clay' - hope you enjoy it!
Introducing Copper Clay
Copper clay is an exciting wonderful way to style up beaded jewellery. Whether you are starting from scratch, a wonderful hanging lucky charm pendant design will improve any of your jewellery. Kick start your summer months with a new wire or chain beaded necklace! You can even uplift those homemade bead necklaces you were thinking of restyling. Bring in some copper clay modelling to design your own patent piece of jewellery that leaves your friends and family in amazement.
Jewellery Designer & Teacher Natalia Colman features on our Jewellery Maker TV show in the UK, and is a specialist in Silver clay & metal clays. She has some great tips for stylish pieces of art for that individual look that you are after.
“The copper clay is 100% metallic copper, just powdered down and mixed using a synthetic binder and water” says Natalia Colman on our Jewellery Maker show. “What’s wonderful about it is there is something in creating something from scratch, it is true artistry”, it is well worth doing and we can’t recommend it more highly.
Some tips for making your jewellery
Basic handling rules
· Get clay out of packet, clay is very dry, hold in square piece of cling film as to protect the copper clay.
· Use liquid glycerine (from chemist, good on hands) and rub in to soften clay, not water; it ruins the clay.
· Once clay is open, it is only good for 24 hours before it dries, so keep cool and dry, and use within day of opening.
Learn various techniques of rolling, texturing and shaping the clay
· Place clay on Teflon sheet. Rub glycerine balm to lubricate your sheet, and to keep the clay from sticking to surface.
· Roll out copper with rolling pin, ensuring a nice smooth surface without cracks.
· Create patterns in the clay, using a tool, to create a religious or tribal design for your charm, earring or pendant.
· You can use some cutters to get your piece out of the clay, like you would when baking.
· Add a tiny little hole around half a centimetre in, for your wire using a clay pick. You can widen when dry with a screwdriver once it is dry you wish this to be bigger to allow cord to string through instead.
· Dry clay ready for firing, on a radiator, using an airing cupboard or a baking tin on low heat top oven for 10 minuites.
· If you have any cracks in your clay one it is dry, mix a bit of clay with some water and paint it into the cracks like a ground and it finishes it beautifully, then repeat the drying steps to solidify copper clay before firing.
Creating or uplifting your own bead necklaces
· Lucky charms bracelets requiring some bright beads and shiny precious metals.
· Celtic copper earrings with patterns created out of a ceramic mould and pressed into the clay, before firing.
· Religious necklaces, The Crucifix for a Christian’s necklace, you could also include some prayer beads.
· Dismantle an old custom necklace you want to freshen up and add your copper charms to the design.
· Make a summer necklace using yellow Spessartite Garnet Nuggets and your copper artistry pendant
3 methods for firing the copper at home
· Place artefact on a firing block, ensure you have your fire torch filled with gas, wearing goggles and hair tied back.
· Circulate flame, the clay will go a dark brown/charcoal colour for about 10 minutes, then place in water using metal tong.
· After cooling period, put into Picklean® (Safe Pickling Powder) to oxidise, rub with a stiff brush to bring out that salmon pink colour and shine. Then fire again to bring out brilliant oranges and pinks
If you wish to find out more about the clay making process from our jewellery and Gemstones Experts then here are a few tips.
Go straight to our Jewellery Maker website and look for Copper Clay in the search menu. You can find products associated with copper clay including kits, including firing torch and all other tools you will ever need. We also have scheduled lessons and classes with Natalia Colman our specialist that you can come over to participate in. If it is too far for you to travel to visit, we are also live on air on the 10th of every month. You can even watch us on DVD’s and free full episodes of the show on our Jewellery Maker Youtube Channel.
Thanks very much for taking a look.
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