Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Falling in love with Copper & Bronze

Hello everyone!
Well, this morning I thought I'd post some thoughts about copper and bronze clay seeing as I've been working with them so much lately. 

I'll admit that it took me a while to become interested in these metal clays, simply because I really love silver and I didn't like the idea of firing clay for hours on end or having to mess around with a carbon box. Copper and bronze clays react with the oxygen in the air so as soon as they become hot and then cool down the metal develops what can only be described as a 'crusty' oxidised layer. This looks like a black coating on the fired metal and it needs to be removed by placing the fired piece in a pickle solution. I've never had much success with this in the past so I threw in the towel and stuck to working with silver clay.

That is until a new product came on the market called Prometheus copper and bronze clay. These clays are also marketed under the name of Creative copper and bronze clay. Prometheus clays are very straigthforward to work with, they can be fired in a kiln for 30 minutes or with a gas torch for between 8 and 10 minutes. You may think 10 minutes is a long time to hold a gas torch but it's well worth the effort and time spent to make your own fabulous metal clay jewellery. It's also a lot harder to melt these clays with a torch, the trick is keeping them hot enough so that they are fully fired. I've found that firing with a gas torch reduces the amount of oxidisation that appears on the piece as long as you plunge it straight into cold water as soon as it has been fired.

Prometheus/Creative Clay has also introduced its own pickle solution called 'Picklean'. This is a safety pickle that is made from food acids so is 100% safe to use, does not burn your skin and can be disposed of by flushing it down the toilet. Pickle achieves the best results when it is warm. Simply add 1 tablespoon of picklean granules to 200ml of hot water and place the piece into the solution. I find that certain items need longer to pickle than others. I also find that keeping the solution warm and keeping a lid over it speeds up the process of removing the oxidisation. The pickle will always remove the oxidised layer, it can sometimes take an hour or more to do this.
Above is an example of a pair of earrings I made using copper clay. The metal has a beautiful, warm pink colour. I really like to polish the copper as it seems to look so much nicer when it's shiny. The beauty of copper and bronze clay is that it is so much cheaper than silver. In the early days, I found myself making huge pieces of jewelley, just because I could! Now, however, I have tempered this and do prefer to make  small charms and more delicate pieces as they just look so effective.

I'm launching copper and bronze clay on Jewellery Maker TV on Thursday 17th May at 9am. I hope you join me and discover the wonderful world of copper and bronze clay!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Fantastic Shrink Plastic Book

It's been a very exciting day for me as I see another book launched into the world! My new jewellery making book 'Fantastic Shrink Plastic Jewellery & Crafts' has gone on sale today at Beads Direct
I designed a special series of kits to accompany the book and these are all exclusively available from Beads Direct. The first 50 shrink plastic starter kits will also include a free, signed copy of  my book so don't delay and order your kit straight away!

I can't wait to see what everyone makes with their shrink plastic, so please send me photos. There will be some free videos to inspire you. Keep checking the Beads Direct website for further updates by clicking here.

Silver Clay Workshop in Hertfordshire

Hello everyone,
I've had lots of enquries about my workshops from those of you who live in the South of England. I ran a silver clay workshop in Dorset towards the end of last year and wanted to make sure that I catered for the other half of the south too. I've teamed up with Artshed Arts to run a silver clay workshop on Saturday 14th July. Artshed Arts is a fabulous creative skills centre in Ware, Hertfordshire. It is one of the finest places I have seen for all things crafty. So if you are interested in learning how to make fabulous jewellery with silver clay, or indeed if you would like to learn other crafts, then Artshed is the perfect venue.

The workshop is £105 and includes lunch, 20gms of Art Clay Silver, use of all tools and materials and a copy of my DVD 'Silver Clay Made Simple'.   To book a place on my workshop please e-mail me at info@silverclaycreations.co.uk or call me on 07775 932782.

To find out more about Artshed Arts and to learn about their other wonderful facilities and workshops click here.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

New Copper & Bronze Clay DVD

I have been a little quiet of late because I've been working away in the background on my brand new DVD 'Captivating Copper & Beautiful Bronze Clay'. I created six new designs for this DVD and working so much with these two clays has given me new found respect for them. I've learned an enormous amount in the process of creating this DVD, so it's been a perfect opportunity. I've expanded my own range of skills and knowledge in working with these clays, which I take great pleasure in passing on to you.

Here is a still image from the DVD where I'm firing a copper clay earring with a gas torch. I love brandishing the torch and seeing the clay turn to metal, it's alchemy at its finest and no need to be scared of melting the metal, copper and bronze need a lot of heat so the challenge is keeping it hot enough!

In the DVD I'll be showing you how to make small projects that can be torch fired and larger pieces that go into a kiln. I'll also be sharing how to add accents of silver clay to your copper and bronze clay pieces. We ended up with 108 minutes running time, "it's as long as a feature film" my camerman Tim keeps telling me. I'm thrilled about that because I wanted to pass on as much information as possible so that you all feel very confident to start using these clays and achieve some fantastic results.

I'll let you know as soon as the DVD is due for release. I'm hoping it will be out on sale in time for my birthday on 5th June...fingers crossed!

Lots of love,


by Natalia

I'm very excited to tell you about a new aspect of my business that will be called by Natalia. I've been designing and making jewellery myself for many years, running jewellery making workshops for 5 years and I've worked with two home shopping channels and other on-line craft and jewellery retailers. During this time I've noticed there are certain products that I would like but that just don't exist. I've seen where there are quite a few gaps in the market so I decided to create my own range of products to meet this need. 

I 've called the range by Natalia, simply because all of my products will be personally designed and sourced by me especially for you!

The first products in my new range are a series of shrink plastic jewellery making kits that I have designed exclusively for Beads Direct. These kits are the perfect complement to my new book 'Fantastic Shrink Plastic'. Everything you need to make the projects in my book is in these kits and I've had great fun putting them together.

I'm in the process of editing my next DVD 'Captivating Copper & Beautiful Bronze Clay'. This is the first DVD that will be part of the by Natalia range. There are some other really fantastic products that I'll be bringing you as part of the by Natalia range. These include a range of accessories for working with metal clays and polymer clay.   All of these new and exciting products will be launched very soon; it's my birthday on 5th June so I'm hoping I can get them out on sale as my birthday gift to you!

I can't wait to show you what I've created and hope you love everything as much as I do.

Lots of love,