Friday, February 15, 2013

A Bird and A Hare Necklace


 
Just needs a chain!
Taking Hadar’s ‘Pictorial and Architectural Jewelry’ class was a 3 day adventure into using Hadar’s clay and her techniques. 
The first piece we made was with Low Shrinkage Steel XT clay with a small amount of copper added.  She just discovered that the Steel XT low shrinkage clay does not need 2 phases of firing.  Her manual is updated. www.artinsilver   I’ll be using a lot more of that in the future.  It was easy to mix and work with and has a longer working time.
Our first project was to be the interior of a room.  We were to start drawing a rectangle on tracing paper.  Then we were to draw a second rectangle that would be a window. We drew lines to the corners of pieces.  Now we had a ceiling, a floor, and two walls.  We transferred that to layers of clay.  Hadar’s direction for the perspective drawing was very simple and very effective.  She wanted us to use her perspective technique, use several textures and add some copper to the steel.  We could make a flat piece or a wavy piece.
Hadar's Example for Class
I decided to make a wavy piece and use many textures for the various layers in the perspective.  Somewhere along the creative process, my pictorial piece became the exterior of a castle.  It has a round tower made from clay wrapped on a cylinder and it sets behind the wall.  A copper bird perches on top of the tower and a copper hare rests close to the front door.  This is my ‘bird and hare’ necklace!
Before Firing
The chain for this piece will attach on the back.  I’ll put wire through each of the two loops and form a bead so the loops stay in place.  Then I’m going to make a steel chain (technique from Keith le Bue’s class).  This will take a while so you will see the finished piece in a few weeks!
Back of castle.  Note the two small tubes for attaching wires
Things I learned in class: 
  • Small amounts of Bronze XT and copper can be mixed with Low Shrinkage Steel XT and one firing is enough to sinter.
  • You can tell if the piece sintered by using the yellow radial disc to take off any charcoal and clean the piece.  If the piece is sintered, it will look like metal – shiny steel and if it is not, it is matt black.  That was really fun to observe.
  • Testing your kiln before firing is a smart move.  Under-firing and over-firing are states to avoid.
  • Expect some cracking.  Learning to repair the cracks, making sure the clay is really dry before re-firing the piece is just part of the process.
  • Read the labels carefully!  Before class I ordered Steel XT – not Low Shrinkage Steel XT.  Wrong clay.  I’ll use it but I wish I had understood the difference in time!
  • When possible store the mixed clay in saran wrap and put it in the original plastic vial.  That way you can keep track of the kind of clay you are using.  Very helpful!
  • Craftsmanship and finishing really do make a big difference!  We know that but need reminding once in a while.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Bird and A Hare Necklace


 
Just needs a chain!
Taking Hadar’s ‘Pictorial and Architectural Jewelry’ class was a 3 day adventure into using Hadar’s clay and her techniques. 
The first piece we made was with Low Shrinkage Steel XT clay with a small amount of copper added.  She just discovered that the Steel XT low shrinkage clay does not need 2 phases of firing.  Her manual is updated. www.artinsilver   I’ll be using a lot more of that in the future.  It was easy to mix and work with and has a longer working time.
Our first project was to be the interior of a room.  We were to start drawing a rectangle on tracing paper.  Then we were to draw a second rectangle that would be a window. We drew lines to the corners of pieces.  Now we had a ceiling, a floor, and two walls.  We transferred that to layers of clay.  Hadar’s direction for the perspective drawing was very simple and very effective.  She wanted us to use her perspective technique, use several textures and add some copper to the steel.  We could make a flat piece or a wavy piece.
Hadar's Example for Class
I decided to make a wavy piece and use many textures for the various layers in the perspective.  Somewhere along the creative process, my pictorial piece became the exterior of a castle.  It has a round tower made from clay wrapped on a cylinder and it sets behind the wall.  A copper bird perches on top of the tower and a copper hare rests close to the front door.  This is my ‘bird and hare’ necklace!
Before Firing
The chain for this piece will attach on the back.  I’ll put wire through each of the two loops and form a bead so the loops stay in place.  Then I’m going to make a steel chain (technique from Keith le Bue’s class).  This will take a while so you will see the finished piece in a few weeks!
Back of castle.  Note the two small tubes for attaching wires
Things I learned in class: 
  • Small amounts of Bronze XT and copper can be mixed with Low Shrinkage Steel XT and one firing is enough to sinter.
  • You can tell if the piece sintered by using the yellow radial disc to take off any charcoal and clean the piece.  If the piece is sintered, it will look like metal – shiny steel and if it is not, it is matt black.  That was really fun to observe.
  • Testing your kiln before firing is a smart move.  Under-firing and over-firing are states to avoid.
  • Expect some cracking.  Learning to repair the cracks, making sure the clay is really dry before re-firing the piece is just part of the process.
  • Read the labels carefully!  Before class I ordered Steel XT – not Low Shrinkage Steel XT.  Wrong clay.  I’ll use it but I wish I had understood the difference in time!
  • When possible store the mixed clay in saran wrap and put it in the original plastic vial.  That way you can keep track of the kind of clay you are using.  Very helpful!
  • Craftsmanship and finishing really do make a big difference!  We know that but need reminding once in a while.