Happy 2018! January means that the Tucson Gem Show is just around the corner. Gems, minerals, gems, minerals, everywhere you look! This year, I’ll be there to snag some new gem treasures for future jewelry, but also… I’ll be teaching workshops!!! For those of you who are curious about metal clay or Argentium silver or fusing or metalsmithing (or all four), please consider signing up for one of my one-day workshops at JOGS, organized by JewelryTools.
I have two primary reasons that I combine metal clay and Argentium:
- Metal clay is expensive compared to milled silver products. Using metal clay for only small sculptural components stretches that clay expense to more jewelry.
- Argentium is special – it’s low-tarnish, hypoallergenic, fusible (easier than fine silver!), very malleable (easy to bend and form) when fully annealed, as well as heat-hardenable for maximum strength.
The first workshop, on February 1, combines metal clay with Argentium sheet to make a simple pair of earrings (or a pendant, if you prefer). We’ll start off by making sculptural components from metal clay, covering this exciting material’s properties and appropriate firing. Then we’ll learn about the special characteristics of Argentium silver, hammer texture some sheet, fuse the metal clay components on top, then shape and finish the earrings with hand make ear wires. Overall, it’s a great introduction to my process, covering a wide range of skills that can help you move your jewelry to the next level.
The second workshop, on February 2, uses Argentium wire to form interesting supports for metal clay components. Again, you can make earrings or a pendant. The first part of the workshop is quite similar to the wedge earrings class, with focus on working with metal clay and my approach to sculpting details. After firing the metal clay, we move on to fusing wire into rings, ovals, or other shapes. Fancy details like jump rings and granules will be added, and again we’ll hand make ear wires.
In both classes, I strive to work with my students to personalize the experience. While you may want to exactly copy my class samples (that’s fine!), I encourage each student to follow their own muse and change things up. Change the shapes. Change the details. Experiment! I want my workshops to be inviting opportunities to try out new ideas with expert guidance. Making mistakes is encouraged, as my philosophy is that mistakes are design opportunities.
Here’s hoping to see you in Tucson! If you can’t take a workshop, but you’re there shopping, stop by to say hello and browse the jewelry I’ll bring with me!