Boy have I been busy. There can’t be too many more hobbies to discover but I seem to have done it again. I was leafing through a catalogue some months ago and discovered something called Silver Clay. It looked intriguing and I have been looking for a course so that I could learn the basics. I found a very good one in Cornwall at the Cornwall School of Art Craft and Jewellery (CSACJ)
Cornwall School of Art, Craft and Jewellery
Suite 2, Coldrenick Farm Offices
Tel: 01208 264155
I did a five day course that taught the basics from beginner up to intermediate. The teaching by Julia Rai was second to none and the atmosphere was friendly and peaceful. We made an awful lot of pieces. In fact I was surprised how many we made but I guess you have to make something for each stage.
We started off with a pair of earings and later on in the course I made a matching pendant.
Each day progressed to a new stage but building on the previous stages. We made a variety of charms, moulded and formed.
Non fireable stones.
Dry forming and setting stones by drilling.
This is a piece of glass held in with silver balls.
A hollow shape made with syringed clay.
I was dreading ring day as I was convinced that my rings would end up misformed. However, not only were they both perfectly round and fit just right, they were not as difficult as I thought they would be.
Silver, gold foil and liver of sulphur and very hot fingers produced this one.
This one had liver of sulphur and liquid gold. I also thought I had ruined it with the liver of sulphur but a bit of polishing soon sorted it out. In any case apparently refiring returns it to the original state.
My biggest problem was jump rings, I just can’t get them to meet properly. Practice, practice, practice. Looking at the closeup photographs I think I will also use my large magnifying glass when cleaning the greenware to make sure the finish is just right. Normal eyesight, especially aged normal eyesight even with glasses is not enough for perfection. However, I always say that you only really learn when you make a mistake so I should be really good at this given time. In any case I shall be keeping these as examples of each technique and ‘what not to do’s’ and for practising polishing etc.
I did buy a kiln but in fact you do not have to have a kiln to make silver clay jewellery. A butane torch does the job on most of the pieces. This means that you can do it with a lot less outlay and still buy a kiln in the future if you want to branch out or make in quantity. Mind you as it only takes three minutes with the torch, quantity is eminently possible even with this method.
If you are thinking of taking a course, not only is the teaching superb but the srroundings are beautiful and peaceful. The studio is in the middle of the countryside whilst at the same time being very close to the A30. So easy to get to and still ‘away from it all’.
Whilst I was looking at the pieces in a display cabinet at the studio I came across some really beautiful glass used in jewellery. As a result I am taking a class on that too, this time with Marion. Another thing worth noting is that if you do not want to do the standard syllabus it is possible to have a class tailor made for you so that you learn what you want, especially if you have a grounding in the subject already and want to hone it.
Right, I’m off to do some polishing. If you are interested in how the glass making goes, watch this space.