Friday, January 7, 2011

Pure Silver

If you are like me and you like to keep all of your craft books, just in case you are inspired to try something new... it is important to find a space for them so that you can find them! I like to organize mine by magazine company and by theme, if they are mixed media books, textiles or jewelry. I keep them in baskets in my Studio for safe keeping and when they are organized, I know where to find them when I am inspired.

How do you store your craft books?

Enjoy a visit to Dan's etsy shop where you will find handmade...fine silver pieces

by Texturz
"Originally from Maine, I relocated to Southern California many years ago for its better weather.

Healthcare worker by day, in my spare time I work on my new creative pursuit: metal clay. I discovered an artist practicing this 10-year-old art form at a recent County Fair and I signed up for a class on the spot.

Until then, the extent of my art experience was years of outdoor photography; so it was with some trepidation that I approached my first silver clay class in late September. However, with the encouragement and expert guidance of my talented and experienced instructors, I quickly developed sufficient skills to establish a personal workspace at home. As a beginner it was difficult to know what tools I would need, so I did lots of reading and research online. My breakfast table has been transformed into an art clay workspace until I can build a suitable workshop. I organize my everyday tools in jars: brushes in one, clay shapers in another, files and picks in another, and so on. Decorative cutting scissors are well organized and close-at-hand in their own wooden lazy susan. A tackle box holds most other backup tools in a cupboard. The dollar store is a great source for plastic trays and boxes that I use to store many small supplies including my silver clay packets, paste and syringes. Early on, I purchased many templates and molds which I still occasionally use. My current preference is for unique patterns, textures and molds which I create with two-part silicone putty.

The Art Clay I use is made from 100% reclaimed silver and is very easy to work with - even for those of us with no former clay experience. When I'm planning a new piece, like this Mushrooms Miniature Sculpture

 I use regular modeling clay to create a mockup of my intended creation; and that I can easily modify as I see fit. Unlike Art Clay I don't have to worry about modeling clay drying up; and it can be reused repeatedly.

Although I have a Dremel hand tool, I prefer the personal touch using diamond needle files and sponge polishing pads to finish the clay piece prior to firing. I was fortunate to find a used Paragon kiln on craigslist and now can enjoy firing multiple items simultaneously.

When I want to impart a softer satin finish to a piece like this branch (, after kiln firing, I brushed the piece with a brass brush. Afterwards, I used an artist brush to apply a patina to the textured portions of the pendant.

For a shiny, more reflective look such as this pendant (, I tumbled it in a jeweler's rotary tumbler. Then I used an artist brush to apply a patina to the textured areas.

There is a great sense of satisfaction in creating a unique fine silver piece from a lump of clay. Always looking to broaden my repertoire, I'm already contemplating which metal clay I'd like to get my hands on next: steel, bronze, copper or gold. Either alone or in combination, working with metal clay offers enormous artistic creative opportunity."

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