Convergent Series

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

March Meeting of Western PA Metal Clay group

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/03/26

I often intend to write at least a quick note about meetings of the Metal Clay group in Western PA, but then I forget to take any photos and, without those to jog my memory, I then forget all about the good intentions I had. But, on Sunday, I did remember to take camera and grab a handful of quick snapshots, so here are a few things we did at our last meeting. We called it a “Clay Play” day and, while some of us did exactly that, there was more than clay involved too!

We try to have a “special topic” at each meeting. For this, someone will offer to demonstrate a technique that at least a handful of members are interested in either discovering (if they’ve never tried it before) or learning more about (if they have some experience but want to talk about it with others who are interested in the same topic). This may involve metal clay, specifically, but often it addresses some other skill that may be useful. This month, our topic was drilling holes in glass and stones. The first photo (above, right) shows Debbie doing one of several demonstrations of this. She brought a bag full of stones and beach glass that she’d collected on the shores of Lake Superior last summer, ones that were a good “shape” for beginners attempting this task, and let those who were interested have a go with her equipment. She also assembled a one-page handout that covered both the steps involved and the tools used. Thanks, Deb! I’ll have to raid my collection (currently displayed in a glass vase at home) that I picked up the last time I lived in California and would go walking along the shores there. Some of the nicest ones I have came from Moonstone Beach (near Hearst Castle).

Michelle is our “local advocate” for using the Sihouette Cameo cutter in all sorts of ways. She generously brings her set-up to most “play day” sessions (shown, middle left). This time, she brought cardstock from which she cut boxes she uses for selling her Rose Gold and Green Gold clays, and let that run while we did other things. But she also does demos, answers questions from folks wondering if this might be a tool they would use, and even lets folks try out some ideas to see if they might want to take the plunge. Thanks to Michelle too!

We also have a round of Show & Tell at each session. Shown last (lower right) is Sharon, who had just gotten back from a 2-week vacation mere hours before our meeting began. Despite having gotten little sleep during that return trip, she came because she wanted to participate in the stone-drilling activity! She did have a few new fine silver creations to bring, but also displayed a nice collection of bracelets she had beaded at the beach. Will your husband let the rest of us all come with you next year, Sharon?

As for me, no photos yet of what I did, but they’ll show up eventually. In addition to participating in everything else, I had a very productive clay-play day. I made all the elements I’ll need for a dozen pairs of earring and a half dozen pendants. The latter all need to have a few simple embellishments added before they can be fired. I have double-duty plans for some of these pieces.

As part of the accreditation program for Hadar’s Clay teachers, I need to do a series of kiln-tests, using different clays, and record the result. Hoping that mine will come out OK (or, at least, that I understand the parameters well enough that most of them will), I’m going to risk a few of the simplest elements in those tests. If I do have a few failures, I didn’t invest much time or clay in these, so any “loss” will be minimal. More importantly, though, all of the pieces have designs that involve pollinators of various sorts, so all of the ones that do survive can go into the collection I’ll be taking out to the Western PA Garden Marketplace on April 20. How good is that?!

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