Saturday
Mar282015

A First and Another First

In 2013, I was the first artist to ever combine the techniques of fold-forming and metal clay in a single piece. It's cool to be the first person to have done something, considering how long humanity has been on this rock hurtling through our solar system. Fold-forming didn't really come about until the late 1980s, and metal clay wasn't invented until the 1990s, so to be fair, the combination of those two techniques has only been possible within the last two decades. Still, I'm glad I thought to do it. Here's an example of one of the pieces I did:

Seeds and Sprouts cuff bracelet, 2013. Fine silver, peridot.

This bracelet has a fold-formed ridge that runs the length of the cuff, and is also anti-clast formed for extra curvature and hammered for added texture. Then I formed the flowers, leaves, etc. using silver metal clay and natural peridot stones. (When fired, metal clays become solid metal so this bracelet is 100% silver.)

More recently, I had created a pendant cap to hold a quartz crystal. This piece was made from copper, and looked fine in copper, but I wanted to try something. I wanted it to look like gold. In fact, I wanted it to look like tumbaga, a copper and gold alloy used in pre-Columbian South America that is a rich, warm orange-ish gold color. My idea: coat my copper piece with gold metal clay paste and then fire it to fuse the gold to the copper. This gold paste was designed to be used only with silver, however. I had no way of knowing if it would fuse to copper. If I attempted this and it didn't work, it would be a costly mistake. But I reminded myself of a favorite quote:

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."
—Stephen McCranie

So I decided to go for it.

I'd heard about a very experienced metalsmith and teacher (Chris Darway) who had successfully fused gold metal clay paste to sheet copper, so I suspected that if it could be done using his technique, it could also be done another way, with a much more three-dimensional object. My experiment worked. It didn't quite mimic tumbaga as this is piece is one metal fused to another, vs. alloyed together, but maybe I'll work on another idea I had to approximate that look, next time.

The Clarity Amplifier pendant, 2015. 22K gold over copper, natural quartz crystal, 2.5 inches (approx 60mm) long.

So this success is another first. I'm the first person ever to fuse gold and copper together in a three-dimensional object using metal clay techniques. As I mentioned, it's fun to be first, but I'm more excited that it worked, as this opens up more creative opportunities for me and all other metal artists.

 

Thursday
Feb072013

It's been a while

I post frequently on Facebook but have neglected to updte my website lately. Will definitely need to freshen things up on here. I'm considering doing a series of statement rings that I'm affectionately calling "wizard bling." Here's one I just finished:

Friday
Feb112011

For A Good Cause

I donated this one-of-a-kind bracelet of coral, turquoise and hand-carved silver beads for a silent auction to benefit a local charitable organization, the Off the Street Club (www.otsc.org):

Housed in a kid-friendly complex in West Garfield Park, the Off The Street Club gives 4- to 18-year-old kids a place to do their homework or play computer games in the Learning Center; perform plays in the Performing Arts Center; dance, rollerskate, sing, and play musical instruments; express themselves through arts and crafts and woodshop; and more. Off The Street Club kids have mentors, tutors and role models; girls can experience real “girl power” and heightened self-esteem in the Girls Center, while boys and girls together can meet and interact safely and respectfully throughout the Club.


Founded in 1900, OTSC is Chicago's oldest boys and girls club and serves more than 3,000 kids.


In the summer, Off The Street Club kids get to trade in the violence and drugs of their neighborhood for cookouts, sing-alongs, swimming, hiking and horseback riding at Camp Mathieu. Around the nightly campfires the only things to fear are the ghost stories. Winter Weekends at the camp let kids experience skiing, sledding and other outdoor winter sports. Everyone goes home with memories that'll last a lifetime.


Tuesday
Sep212010

yesss... my precioussssss...

finely carved copper, bronze and about 7 carats of emerald. precious, indeed.


Tuesday
Jun082010

Progress on Newest Collection

Wow. Moving really brought me to a creative standstill, but now that I'm beginning to get settled the first task was to get the new work room functional. I am now finishing the model for a cuff bracelet for my Ancestrale collection: