I thought it'd be cool to show you how I make a simple pair of earrings with art clay silver.
For those of you who don't know, art clay is a precious metal clay, which when fired becomes 99.9% pure silver. It's one of the main things I use in my work, and I absolutely love it. It is quite expensive to buy, but the results you get are really worth it.
Right, first of all I rub a little badger balm on my hands and tools - this stops the clay sticking. Then I roll the clay out using my little rolling pin and spacers.
I then choose a texture to use - I do have various different texture plates, but I find lace is a great thing to use - cheap to buy, and it gives a gorgeous print, plus there are so many different types of lace available. I simply place the lace over the clay and roll over it.
The next thing I do is cut the shape I want! I have various cutters for this, but this time I wanted a rectangle shape, so I just used my tissue blade to cut this. I then make a hole for it to hang from, and apply a little bit of slip [clay mixed with water], then add a fine silver prong setting.
I wait for this to dry overnight - you can dry the piece with a hairdryer, but I can rarely be bothered to sit there for 45 minutes doing that. The next thing to do is sand and smooth the piece! This can be quite time-consuming but saves a lot of work later.
And now to fire it! Ah, I wish I could say I owned a kiln - I wish I had the money/space for one! But no, I simply use a little camping stove. That, or my torch.
Once it's fired, you can leave it to cool for 20 minutes, but I'm impatient so I 'quench' it in some water. Now the pieces look like this...
Yep, white! But not for long! Using a stainless steel brush I brush the pieces, to close the surface and bring out the silver shine.
Once I've polished the piece, I can then oxidize it using liver of sulphur - if I'm unhappy with the results later then I can refire it.
Once they're out, they're a grey/black colour. Just need a polish up!
Then all that's left to do is set the little stones and attach the ear wires!
I was planning on saying that these earrings are now available to buy in my folksy shop, but I've literally just sold them! Only listed them about half hour ago - my fastest sale yet, me thinks!