Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Making Bangles

I had the most fabulous time recently making bangles with my friend and fellow silver-clay enthusiast, Heidi. As well as being a very therapeutic experience, it was also a great learning curve. I've discovered that the best way to build a skill is to throw yourself in at the deep end, experiment and learn from your mistakes....they make you so much more confident.
My first forray into bangle making came when I made a ring and wanted a bangle to match. I looked around on the internet for guidance and simply couldn't find any. No one seemed to make bangles with Art Clay Silver (my chosen medium) and I'd also been warned that it wouldn't be flexible enough when fired to bend and manipulate, like a good bangle should.

Being rebellious by nature I took the bull by the horns, threw caution to the winds and decided to make my own bangle by my own methods. I rolled out each piece of the bangle separately and used syringe clay to paste the pieces together, otherwise you'd need an enormous amount of clay. I didn't have a bangle mandrel, so simply wrapped the clay around an existing cuff I had in my jewellery box. I'm very happy with the end result, it's got great flexibility so I can squeeze it to fit my wrist and then to gently open it up again when I need to take it off. I used 50 grams of clay altogether (not including syringe clay) but it truly worth its weight in silver as I love to wear it.

Here's Heidi's gorgeous bangle (on the left) expertly photographed by my partner David. It's set with mineral accents which are supposed to stay put when pressed into the wet clay...except they didn't, another joyous learning curve! If at first you don't succeed as they say...so we waited until the bangle had been fired and then used clear resin to set the mineral accents, which worked a treat. A really lovely design feature of the bangle is one of the corners has been rounded off. This was came about by sheer fluke as it slipped out of Heidi's hand whilst she was sanding it and the corner broke off into several unsalvageable pieces. So she decided to sand the corner off in this rounded fashion and voila, it's a thing of true beauty!

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