Project Level: Intermediate
A105 – Art Clay Paper Type
A273 – Art Clay Silver Clay 10g
A285 – Art Clay Silver Paste Type
A280 – Art Clay Silver Syringe
R043 – Art Clay Klum Boo Gold Foil
0933SET – Swann Morton Scalpel Set
SKU21201 – Badger Balm
3522TL-H – Clear Acrylic Roller
SPACSET – Spacer set
COMBTOOL – Clay Shaper and Brush Combination Tool
337308 – 3M Polishing Papers
ACSSPAT – Spatular Tool
F134 – Drill Bit Set
PIN-224.00 – Swivel Pin Vice
D011 – Fibre Blanket
TS696669 – Cross- Action Tweezer
DG025 – Brass Brush
CRV-101 – Tissue Blade
R036 – Agate Burnisher
F038 – Liver of Sulphur
F037 – Baking Soda
337020 – Pro Polishing Pads
Micro Carving Tool
Step 1: Start by sketching out a pattern for the bow on plain white paper or print a free template available online. The loop section should be approximately 3” in length as shown.
Step 2: Cut out the sections of the pattern and place them in an economical arrangement on a sheet of Art Clay Silver Paper Type. Use a needle tool to scribe around the templates and then cut out the shapes with a sharp scalpel or a pair of scissors.
Step 3: Enlarge the tail section of the paper pattern by 25%, this larger tail template will be used to create a sturdy backplate for the paper clay bow to sit on.
Step 4: Lubricate a non stick work surface with some badger balm or cool slip. Roll out a 10g lump of Art Clay Silver to a depth of 1mm, using spacer bars or stacks of 4 playing cards on both sides as a guide to ensure an even sheet of clay.
Step 5: Rub badger balm over the surface of the larger tail template to help it stick and place it onto the rolled out sheet of clay. Cut around the template, roll up the clay off cuts and reserve them for later use. Gently lift the paper template off the clay and set this section aside to completely dry. This can be done quickly in a dehydrator, on a hotplate, in a domestic oven on a very low heat or left to air dry for a few hours.
Step 6: Whilst the backplate is drying, create the bow from the cut out sections of Art Clay Silver Paper. Add a small amount of Art Clay Silver paste to the centre of the loop section of the bow. Do not add any water to the paper clay as it will dissolve.
Step 7: Curl, don’t fold, both ends of this section in towards the centre and press the ends down with a clay shaper tool. The bow should be rounded and 3 dimensional. Hold the ends in place for a couple of minutes until they are adhered and then set it aside to dry. Do not attempt to dry the paper clay type with heat as this can cause it to flake or crack.
Step 8: Check that the backplate is plaster dry and refine it with sanding pads, 3M polishing papers or a baby wipe until you are satisfied that it is perfectly smooth and will fire to a good finish.
Step 9: Attach the paper clay tail to the backplate with a little paste or some Art Clay Silver syringe type clay. Pipe a thin line of syringe clay along the centre of the pendant and attach one end of the small rectangular piece of paper clay to it, leaving the other end free. Press it in place with a clay shaper tool.
Step 10: You will need to work quickly to ensure that the syringe clay does not dry out and does not dissolve the paper clay. Pick up the bow section and place it centrally onto the backplate. Use a clay shaper tool to press down the centre to secure.
Step 11: Curl the rectangular section over the middle of the bow and use a spatular tool to tuck in the free end. Set the project to one side and allow it to fully dry.
Step 12: When the pendant is dry, use a carving tool to etch lines into the ends of the backplate of the design, mirroring the bow tail shape. Carve approximately 2mm away from the edge to allow space to keum boo the design after firing.
Step 13: Place the pendant onto a cork mat and use a 1.5mm drill bit, in a pin vice, to drill a hole on each side to accommodate a jump ring. Do not drill too close to the edge of the design as that could cause the pendant to crack.
Step 14: Prepare the pendant for firing by packing the loops of the bow with small rolls of fibre blanket. This will support the dimensional aspect of the clay during the firing process and prevent the loops of the bow from slumping. Fire the piece in a kiln at 800 degrees c for 30 minutes. Remove from the kiln with an insulated tweezer, quench and gently brass brush the pendant in water.
Step 15: Place a sheet of Art Clay Klum Boo Gold Foil in-between tracing paper. Measure out some thin strips of foil that will fit perfectly into the edges created at the ends of each tail of the pendant.
Step 16: Trim the gold foil with a very sharp tissue blade, cutting it through the tracing paper for greater control and to keep the foil free of finger grease.
Step 17: Place the thin strips of gold foil onto the pendant and place it into a kiln, preheated to 800 degrees c for 3 minutes.
Step 18: Carefully lift the pendant out of the hot kiln and place it on a heat proof surface. Tap the gold foil into place with an agate burnisher to tack it to the surface of the silver and then quickly burnish the gold until it bonds with the silver. Allow the pendant to cool naturally and check that the Keum boo is completely bonded and that there are no bubbles, thinned or missing areas. If there are bubbles, pop them with a pin and smooth out the air. For thinned sections, add small pieces of foil and repeat the process to fill the gaps.
Step 19: Brass brush the entire pendant and polish it to a high shine with 3m polishing papers, working through the grits from blue to mint.
Step 20: Make up a solution of liver of sulphur and dip the bow until it turns black. Add the silver to a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water and leave it for ten minutes to completely neutralise the oxidising effect. Take the pendant out of the bicarbonate of soda bath and polish it with a pro polishing pad to remove the oxidisation from the high points of the silver.
Step 21: Wash the pendant with soap and water and assess the patina. If necessary, perform a final polish with a clean pro polishing pad.
Step 22: Add a jump ring to either side and then attach a suitable chain to complete the necklace.
See more of Nicola Beer’s work at https://www.facebook.com/RubycurlsJewelleryDesigns/