experiments in life, decorative felt, nuno, knit felt and mosaic
It is always fun to experiment with new crafts.
I treated myself to an experimental pack of art clay silver clay recently. However when I opened the box I found I actually had the tiniest packet of clay and some rather scary looking small size tools.
Art clay silver clay is pure silver mixed to a clay with water and non toxic binders. In the UK you can buy it from George Weil (see my links page). And because it is the real thing the price is terrifying. But, if you feel like experimenting with something which feels extremely close to alchemy it is fun to have a go.
The process sounds complex but in fact it is quite simple.
First you have to mould the clay by making it pliable in a cling film wrap. Then you can mould it into rings, pendants, silver buttons or whatever you fancy! It proved to be quite hard to work because it dries quickly and although it rolls quite well thinner elements are prone to cracking off. As I kept adding water my very small piece became even smaller and I tried many times to put a hole in a small peardrop pendant without splitting the edge. Next time, if feeling extremely rich, I would definitely work a larger lump of clay.
After moulding the piece is dried and this you can do with an ordinary hair dryer.
Once fully dry small pieces are then fired on a gas hob ring using a simple metal net and cover and appropriate caution. The clay ends up red hot!
After cooling it needs brushing with a wire brush, sand papers and polishing cloths to miraculously turn it into a small piece of 99 per cent silver jewellery The miracle is that the weight changes and whilst before you had a piece of clay in your hands, suddenly you are holding a pleasingly weighty bit of silver.
Your item can be finished in different ways including sulphurising to produce a contrast between black relief and polished silver surface.
As I used a kit I was provided with everything I needed and there was no more than a piece of newspaper required to prevent mess.
I’m not going into the jewellery business and I think fimo clay would be cheaper for my current level of ability but nevertheless here is my first silver pendant. I just used a pitted decoration and next time I will definitely try harder.
For many of us I think this might be just an occasional way of producing very personal silver buttons to use on textile pieces. Making jewellery of any size would be prohibitive on cost.