Convergent Series

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

Posts Tagged ‘clasp’

It’s always something, isn’t it?

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/11/12

Sorry I’ve appeared quiet here lately: It’s busy-season once again. Why do the peaks of show-prep and garden-season always coincide? Both spring and fall! Life is pretty full already, on an ongoing basis, but when the crunch-times hit, well….

Anyway, I’ve been busy, happily-busy but busy nonetheless, building up inventory in advance of the special holiday-sales season. And, as I mentioned in several previous posts, working in non-precious metals seems to ramp up the time-commitments even more, with extra time in clay prep, kiln-tending, post-fire finishing, and such.

Plus, there are always surprises. I was making a number of “focal beads” in a range of combinations of copper and various bronze formulations, and thinking about how I would hang them. So I decided to stock up on a few hand-made bronze toggle clasps while I was at it. Five are shown in the first photo with this post, above.

Basically, that’s what they looked like straight from the kiln. The more-metallic looking one (upper right) was given a quick polish (with one of the 3M radial bristle disks—if you want technical detail, ’twas the yellow one @ 80 grit) just to test whether it had sintered properly. I’ll get around to giving all of them a proper polishing as soon as I can.

But the thing about time and surprises and such is this: one of the five toggle bars I made to accompany those came out with a big crack. (See the lower-left piece in the second photo, which was enlarged a bit to show more detail.) And, of course, it did so in the last batch I’d planned to fire at the moment using the usual “bronze” schedule. (A copper load is ablaze as I write this, but bronze will melt at copper temperatures….)

The crack is mostly aesthetic. That is, there’s enough still holding that I’m not worried about its breaking. It’s just that I have to patch the crack — which will both make it look right and further strengthen it — and then refire the whole thing. Though that’ll mean hours-more of kiln-tending… Might as well sink time into making a few more piece, and fire them at the same time while I’m at it…. That, of course, is part of the “addiction” of working in this medium!

And then I’ll start assembling elements, deciding which clasps I want to go where, and polish and/or patina them as appropriate to where they’ll be going.

The re-fring is not a crisis. It’s just another one of the seemingly infinite “time sinks” this time of year. When I really want to be out in the lovely autumn light, playing in the gorgeous fallen leaves. Will I ever get far-enough ahead to manage something like that?

[Update: I just added the “oops” tag I’d oops-ily omitted from the original post.]

Posted in Misc. Musings | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Follow-up re Late April Bracelet Workshop

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/06/10

I said I’d try to get to it eventually, and it’s only taken about six weeks to get around to trying to organize some of my workshop snapshots. This shows a happy crew on the second evening of the custom bracelets session at Zelda’s Bead Kit Company at the end of April.

I tried to get some quick snapshots of the final results. If you were there and want copies of the ones I took of you, please let me know. I’m not sure if it was the wine, or the lighting, or what, but there were a lot of rather blurry shots from that batch. Which is a real shame, because the results were fabulous.

I was able to find a small section of one that did a decent job of showing Ellie’s creation: click on the small image at the left if you’d like to see a slightly larger version of that one.

To illustrate that all the fine silver components can be made to be fully reversible if you want, I’ll close with a shot of one of the pieces that I made during various demonstrations (taken later, once I was back in my studio with better lighting) with little inserts showing the reverse sides of those elements. (As always, click to enlarge the image.)

Posted in Teaching Metal Clay | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Back to working with silver for a while….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/04/20

My head is still swirling with ideas for working with copper, bronze, and steel metal clays, but I need to get back to silver again for at least a little while. I’ve got several classes coming up, scheduled months ago but now looming, and I need to prepare some sample pieces, plus some components at various intermediate steps in the process to use as illustrations.

I really do enjoy teaching this stuff for its own sake, but I find a big side-benefit of teaching to be the way that forces me to make up more samples than I might otherwise be driven to try. I keep a few pieces on hand, but this leads me to make extra variations each time. I think it’s good for class participants to see a range of examples, which is just the “kick” I need to move beyond my own comfort zone, try different designs, think of new approaches, and thus make different pieces that I can sell to fund the next round of explorations.

Or, sometimes, to just give away. The fairly simple focal piece and matching clasp in the photo that accompanies this post were made in my last workshop on clasp-making: I just picked up some paper-crafting scissors and used those to cut some of the edges while I was talking about how you can adapt tools from almost any medium for work with this one. I then gave them to my friend, Trish, to use in a bracelet. Next week, on April 26 and 27, we’ll be teaching that one at her shop, Zelda’s Bead Kit Company.

If you can’t make it to that session, check out the bar down the right-side of this blog for some of the other workshops that I have in the works. If you’d like a class on another topic, or at another time, do let me know: one of the great things about now having my own studio to work in is that I can also schedule “semi-private” sessions at the last minute, as long as I know that enough people are interested. Or, if you prefer, I can travel to your site. Even when I don’t remember to stop and blog about all this, I’m always happy to create opportunities for sharing the delights of how to play with clay.

Posted in Teaching Metal Clay | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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