Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

A Holiday Butterfly

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/12/04

One of the things I love about metal clay is that (once you become comfortable with it) you can quickly create something simple but special, as well as far more elaborate designs.

The Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County had their annual Holiday Gala last night (Friday). Part of that is a “gift grab bag and exchange” (with an extended set of rules I need not explain here … but it’s fun).

The gift is to cost no more than $10. Every year, some gift-givers clearly adhere to that limit; others either exceed it or show some savvy bargain-shopping. I’ve taken to making a small silver piece that would retail for more than $10 but has no more than that amount of silver in it. (So the pieces are getting smaller as the price of silver rises, but let me not digress…) I’m donating my time to it, but everything I do for the PSMGs involves donating time, so…

… there I was, Thursday night, thinking, “Yikes! I meant to make something for the PSMG Gala this year. Luckily, I still have just enough time to do so!” What to make: for that audience, something that included both blooming and pollination would be perfect.

I had an opened packet of PMC3 with just a little more than the appropriate amount of silver left in it. I rolled it out between two versions of a “cherry blossom” texture, cut out a butterfly shape (saving the excess for yet another project), and draped it over a large plastic “jelly bean” shape to dry (thinking that would give it, if you allow a bit of artistic license, sort of an “in flight” shape).

Of course, there were more steps: smoothing the edges, making the hole for hanging it, etc. Plus the firing and polishing. I do admit I didn’t take the time, or silver, to add a little butterfly “body” nor to add antennae or other embellishments — I often do that for pieces I plan to sell but, with that “$10” limit, I was sticking to the basics.

This little butterfly did seem to be a hit. The rules for this gift exchange include a mechanism that permits participants to “steal” opened gifts from each other (with some limits). And this piece was one of the ones grabbed the maximum number of times. It ended up with Lyn, and I know she’ll give it a good home.

Now, all I need is to find a few spare moments to start on some more basic curved shapes, to have as samples for my next round of workshops involving “domed” pieces. I’m never sure how much to schedule for the depths of winter: will the weather be cooperative on some random date six or eight weeks ahead? But I’m happy to set up extra ones on short notice: just get a few friends together and let’s make some pretty and shiny adornments, domed or otherwise!

(Sorry to readers on RSS feed: I seem to have hit publish when I meant to be still saving drafts.)

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