Tag Archives: silver clay

What to say about metal clay? A silversmith tries silver clay

Lil Adams is our Sunday studios manager and is a silversmith who loves wax carving. She decided to try one of our metal clay classes to see what she thought!

I’m usually one who likes to bash away at silver or cast a random object. But I I couldn’t resist the evening taster course in Metal Clay at London Jewellery School to see what all the fuss is about.

Metal clay is a little bit like magic. The material goes from being very much a malleable clay to a very much set solid silver. Which is still a surprise even though you know it will happen. It can be soldered onto, but also pieces can be attached with water before the heating process. This is a very versatile material to experiment with, it can be used to set stones, enamelled onto and have gold added to it. There are different types of metal clay, like paper clay that can be folded for delicate creations or origami shapes and metal clay that comes in a syringe used to make hollow beads or add detail. It’s a great way to make impressive results quickly. There is no waste, as any extra metal clay pieces can be ground down to use again. Metal clay can take a deep pattern that might be tricky to achieve from sheet metal and fine prints from fingerprints or even feathers. Larger pieces do need a kiln, there may be one accessible to you in your local area, and it’s worth trying community colleges if you are not quite ready to invest in your own.

Here are my creations from the silver clay taster class: (just a little snap on my phone, I have used patina!)

Metal Clay Earrings

Different textured asymmetrical earrings

& Metal Clay ring

Ring made from a leftover blob with stamped ampersand symbol.

So what’s the verdict for me and metal clay? I think it’s such a versatile material I would like to experiment with it more to try out different possibilities. It’s good to have my fingerprint in the metal clay pie in case a design idea I have would work best with metal clay. If my hammering arm tires or the noise starts to really annoy my neighbours I will definitely try immersing myself in the magical world of metal clay. As there are 9 other metal clay courses taught a London Jewellery School there is enough to get any metalhead fired up.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting. You can see her work on Instagram @smalltoad_jewellery

50% off online metal clay class with Jewellers Academy

We’re excited to share that our sister company Jewellers Academy has launched the pre-sale of a brand new online metal clay course 🎉

And right now, you can get 50% off in the pre-sale! 🤗
fancy-bezels-prongs-bails-metal-clay-julia-rai-jewellers-academy

Fancy Bezels, Prongs and Bails in Metal Clay is taught by world-renowned metal clay artist Julia Rai and is designed for those with some experience of working with metal clay. On the course you will learn:

Two interesting stone setting techniques:

  • A fancy bezel (to set natural stones that have to be set after firing)
  • A prong setting (to set fire-in place stones) creating each prong out of metal clay by hand

Plus ways to embellish your work with:

  • Small components to add detail
  • Different bail types to add interest

You will also learn:

  • How to use jewellers investment to make a mould of your stone to create the correct size of bezel
  • Design ideas on how to create interesting layered designs
  • Plus lots of tips and tricks that Julia shares along the way

(Note: this is an advanced online course and it is recommended that the pieces are kiln-fired).

Take a look at the trailer:

 

 

And best of all, you can get 50% off in the pre-sale! The cost of the course will be £79 but with discount code BAILS at checkout, you can purchase it for £39.50 (Pre-sale discount ends on 12th November 2018).

This is an online course which launches on 13th November so there’s not long to wait! On that date, you will get access to all 11 professionally filmed videos as well as downloadable notes. You get lifetime access to the course and can watch the videos as often as you want.

Click here to find out more and to purchase the course >

Ed Sheeran’s engagement ring 💍- starting a new trend for men?

ed_sheeran_silver_clay_ring_photo_by_eva_rinaldi

Ed Sheeran, photo by Eva Rinaldi

Congratulations to Ed Sheeran and his fiance Cherry Seaborn on their engagement.

As we are always pretty excited about a) rings and b) weddings we were really interested to read that Ed is wearing an engagement ring. Engagement rings for men are not traditional in the UK but perhaps it’s time to consider it as in other countries the customs around weddings are different. In Sweden it is traditional for both men and women to wear plain bands as an engagement ring and then only the woman receives an additional ring on the wedding day. In Chile both men and women wear engagement rings on their right hand and they move these to their left hand when they’re married (facts thanks to Jewellery Editor).

We were then doubly pleased to hear Sheeran say in an interview with the Sun “I never saw why men didn’t wear engagement rings, Cherry made it for me herself out of silver clay. I really like it.”

Yay for silver clay! And for making your own rings!

If you’d like to learn how to make your own ring, for any reason, we have some options for you!

We have recently been having an increase in people coming for a private tuition to make their engagement ring and have heard some great engagement stories

We also run wedding ring making tuition just for the two of you

And if this story has made you intrigued about silver clay have a look at our classes

What can you learn in an evening?

Here at the London Jewellery School, we have classes of different lengths but which do you choose if you’d just like to try out a new technique? Tutor Anna Campbell gives you the lowdown on our taster classes

 

What are taster classes?
Our taster classes are short evening classes designed to get you started with a new technique. What’s great is that by the end of the class you will have made at least one piece of jewellery and will have a good idea about whether you would like to take a longer or more advanced class in that technique.

 

When are taster classes run?
Our taster classes are run on weekday evenings from 6.30-9pm so are perfect for those who work in London to attend. You can see the complete list of all our taster classes here along with the scheduled dates for the year.

 

What can I learn?

Our expert tutors teach taster classes in a wide variety of subjects including

Beading

Cocktail rings

Silver clay

Soutache

Perspex jewellery

Make a fascinator

Hand stamped silver

Silver stacked rings

Wax carving

Polymer clay

Introduction to gemstones

 

And more!

 

Here are a few of the classes that are coming up

 

Wax carving

london-jewellery-school-blog-wax-carving-taster-class-evening

Next available date: Tuesday 23rd May 6.30-9pm

Learn to make a simple but beautiful wax carved ring in just one evening! And your ring will be totally unique!

This class is a great introduction to wax carving and is often taken before doing our Beginners Wax Carving course and is a great one to do with friends as a fun evening out.  

Throughout the evening our experienced tutor will guide you through the process of sizing, shaping and carving the wax using hand tools and heat, adding a texture to your ring if you like.

By the end of the class you will have created your unique wax carved ring which we will then arrange to be cast into your choice of metal (silver, copper or bronze), and it will be completely polished and finished for you ready to wear. Your ring will be posted out to you within 3 weeks of the class or you are welcome to collect it from the School. Best of all this is included in the cost of the course!

 

Perspex taster class

perspex-jewellery-taster-class-london-jewellery-school-blog

Next available date: Wednesday 24th May 6.30-9pm

Perspex is a hugely versatile material that can be used for small subtle piece of jewellery as well as large fashion pieces.

Perspex is a brand of acrylic plastic that is often used as a substitute for glass. It comes in a rigid sheet and can be sawn or laser cut and bent using heat. It is available in a wide variety of colours and finishes and there’s almost no limit to what you can make. Also, with a little thought and preparation perspex jewellery can be made from home as it needs minimal equipment.

Techniques covered in this class include:

  • Sawing and cutting perspex from a template
  • Filing, sanding and polishing
  • Drilling
  • Attaching stones  

 

Cocktail rings taster class

party jewellery

You can find a range of ring projects in this tutorial – and make one to match every outfit.

Next available date: Thursday 25th May 6.30-9pm

Come along for a few hours make a beautiful cocktail ring (or two).This is a fun-filled, creative class (non-creatives are very welcome!)

Throughout the evening our expert tutor will guide you through the full process of making your own ring from scratch. We use a mixture of colourful beads combined with silver or gold-plated wire to make your bling statement ring.

Once you know how to make them you will have lots of orders pouring in from friends and family for their very own rings – you have been warned! 

 

Silver clay taster class

silver-clay-taster-class-london-jewellery-school-blog

Next available date: Wednesday 7th June 6.30-9pm

Learn to make your own personalised silver pendant in just one evening…

You will be using a great material called metal clay. Metal clay is a clay-based substance containing millions of tiny silver particles when you fire the clay under a torch or in a kiln all of the clay burns away and you are left with a solid silver piece – it’s like magic!

This is an excellent class to take if you have limited space at home and would like to make silver jewellery.

An expert tutor will guide you through the whole process from making the piece, through to firing and polishing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary as this is a beginners level class and complete beginners are welcome.

What would you like to make in a taster class? Let us know in the comments below

New book from tutor Julia Rai ‘Making metal clay jewellery’

We interviewed LJS metal clay tutor Julia Rai about her exciting first book ‘Making metal clay jewellery’

 

julia-rai-london-jewellery-school-blogJulia Rai is an artist, writer and teacher working predominately in metal clay. She has a teaching studio based just outside St Austell in Cornwall, UK and is a visiting tutor at the London Jewellery School.

Well known in the international metal clay community, she has been working with metal clay since 2004 and teaching it since 2007. She holds a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, the Higher Metal Clay Diploma, PMC Certification from Rio Grande and is an Art Clay Senior Instructor. She also holds the City and Guilds 7407 Further Education Teaching Qualification.

She is the Director of the Metal Clay Academy, an online resource for everyone interested in metal clay. Her spare time is currently taken up with working on projects for the metal clay Masters Registry and she has achieved Registry IV, the first person in the world to achieve this level.

She writes regularly for a number of magazines including Making Jewellery and Dolls House in the UK and the international Metal Clay Artist Magazine which is now online at Creative Fire.

She has just completed her first book ‘Making metal clay jewellery’ which is now available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

julia-rai-making-metal-clay-jewellery-london-jewellery-school-blogWho is the book for?

It’s aimed at those new to metal clay and/or those who are dabbling at home and need a reference book. I’ve covered all the types of fine silver clay – lump, sheet/paper type, paste and syringe in separate chapters so people can refer directly to the type of clay they are interested in. And of course, there are ways to combine these types covered in the book.

 

What types of project feature in the book?

It’s all jewellery. I’ve focused on making pieces of jewellery using the different types of silver clay and also included using glass, stones etc with the clay. There’s a chapter on making rings and one on hollow form beads too.

 

Do I need a kiln to make the projects in the book or can I use my torch?

Some require a kiln – like the glass and metal clay project – but many can be torch fired. I make it clear in the book which firing method would be best for the project and were the requirement is for kiln firing. For instance, it’s not pleasant – or safe – to fire something with a cork or wood clay core using a torch.

 

What is your favourite project in the book?

That’s a very hard question to answer as I enjoyed making everything. I think if I had to choose, it would be the glass and metal clay piece as this is colourful. As the book focuses on silver clay, the pieces are all silvery so having a bit of colour makes a nice change.

 

Why do you like working with metal clay?

Ever since I first discovered it, I’ve loved the accessibility and ease of working with it. The fact that you can teach a total novice to make a pendant and a pair of earrings in a three hour session is one of the reasons I love running taster classes. Often people say they didn’t believe they could make something so lovely and they are surprised by their own abilities. I love that.

 

Where can I buy the book and when is it published?

It is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now. I will also be selling copies from the CSACJ website with the option for people to get a signed copy. And I’ll be taking some to the You Can Make It event being run by Metal Clay Ltd in March.

 

When will you be teaching at LJS this year?

I’ll be teaching the Art Clay Diploma Level 1 on 14th – 16th April and Level 2 on 26th – 29th May.

 

 

You Can Make It metal clay residential conference

2017 brings us the first You Can Make It metal clay residential conference! LJS tutor Anna Campbell is among the expert teachers travelling from all over the world to teach. Here she gives you more information about the conference and how to book

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I’m really excited to be a part of the You Can Make It residential metal clay conference. If, like me, you have tried metal clay and love it, why not join us? You will learn so much from all the teachers and all your fellow metal clayers. People at all levels of experience with metal clay are welcome.

 

When? 24-26th March 2017

Where? Springfield Country Hotel Leisure Club and Spa, Grange Road, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5AL, England

 

What?

YCMI is a residential metal clay conference held in a spa hotel in Dorset. There is a selection of full day masterclasses, hands on sessions, demos and talks to choose from taking place over the weekend. There are so many techniques and projects you can learn over the course of the weekend – check out the website for all the information.

There is also the chance to get to know other metal clayers, take part in a charm swap (where you make a number of metal clay charms and swap with others to build up your own unique bracelet) and the ‘Your favourite make’ competition, visit the Make it Market and more.

The event is sponsored and subsidised to make it as affordable as possible. Check out the YCMI website for all the details and to book your place. You need to choose your masterclass and hands on sessions at the time of booking so don’t wait – you don’t want your favourite class to be fully booked before you get on! You can check class availability here.

 

Worldwide expert tutors

Tutors are travelling from all over the UK and the world and they include Wanaree Tanner, Anna Mazon, Joy Funnell, Tracey Spurgin, Julia Rai, Carol Douglas, Anna Campbell, Grainne Reynolds, Leigh Armstrong, Petra Cameron, Kim Paige, Shayna Bowles and a Japanese guest artist from Aida (manufacturers of Art Clay) tbc.

 

Check out the YCMI website for all the details and to book your place. I hope to see you there!

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Learn to solder your metal clay creations

Tutor Anna Campbell writes about our new metal clay class – soldering on metal clay.

soldering silver metal clay

Example pieces from the soldering on metal clay class

The silver clay classes are one of my favourite to teach. It’s so exciting when someone torch fires their clay for the first time and it turns into silver.

And silver clay is one of the most popular mediums that we teach at London Jewellery School. We run ten different day long classes (from beginners to advanced), one taster class, one evening class as well as the Art Clay certification. Now we are  adding a new metal clay class to the 2015 class schedule – soldering on metal clay.

One of the things I have noticed while teaching and talking to our students is that many of our metal clayers have no silversmithing experience. It isn’t necessary for making basic metal clay pieces. However, once the metal clay is fired it can be treated in the same way as any silver including hammering, shaping and soldering, so understanding what you can do with the silver can really broaden your horizons.

Soldering is a traditional silversmithing skill that take a bit of practice and know-how but once you’ve got it you can make much more complex pieces.

In this new one day class, you will learn how to:

  • solder earring posts onto stud earrings
  • solder on cufflink backs
  • solder and shape a brooch pin

You will make the studs, cufflinks and brooch out of silver clay and then spend the rest of the class practicing your soldering skills to ensure you have the confidence to do it at home.

You will go home with a new silver brooch, pair of silver cufflinks and pair of silver stud earrings but more importantly you will have the skills to design and make far more complex pieces yourself.

This class is designed for learners with some previous metal clay experience. You should have attended our beginners silver clay class or taster class or have made and fired some silver clay pieces at home already.

We have added some dates for this class on the website and more will be added if the class is popular so please get in touch if you would like to attend but can’t make the dates (email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk).

And also let us know if you have any ideas for classes you would like to take that we don’t currently offer.

 

In the jewellery workshop: Cutting your clay

Polymer and metal clay fan Emily Jones takes a look at the options for getting cleaner cuts and more unusual shapes with your clay.

If you like me love to create jewellery from polymer clay or metal clay, you probably have a collection of cookie cutters in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you are also like me and aren’t such a massive fan of sanding multiple little hearts, stars, circles etc when you are making things like buttons or charms, then you might also find the tiny jagged section caused by the join in some cutters annoying to have to remove each time. So I’ve been looking at the best ways to get clean cuts without this problem

Metal cutters

 

metal clay cutting

These cutters from Metal Clay Ltd are soldered so that the inside edges are smooth on the cutting edge

The obvious choice of course is to buy really great quality metal cutters which have been joined in a way that leaves the ‘cutting’ edge completely smooth. But there are other options to think about (and some may not involve much outlay).

Plastic cutters

Another option is to use plastic cutters: these are great for large shapes, perhaps decorations made from polymer clay. But given the cost of silver metal clay you are unlikely to be making pieces that large (Copper or bronze clay is considerably cheaper than silver clay, but both types require a kiln).

Plastic cutters don’t always give you such a clean cut as you do with a metal cutter, but they are more readily available, cheaper and come in a wide variety of shapes. Baking or cookery shops are a great source of both plastic and metal cutters.

Plastic cutters come in a range of shapes both traditional and more unusual.

 

DIY cutters

Another option that could appeal to your creative side is to make your own cutters to get the exact shapes you want. A browse on Pinterest came up with the following three ideas to get you started.

 

clay cutters

2) Use drink cans: You could modify/refine the joining edge here to make it as minimal as possible.

 

clay cutters

3) Use food tins: This tutorial is in Spanish, but the illustration is very clear for anyone to understand – plus I really like the shape!

 

Alternatively, if you can use found things, for example:

  • Bottle tops/lids
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Cardboard (works best if it is quite robust, but not too thick)

Or go freestyle, using a craft knife to cut out the exact shape you want.

If you have any other DIY cookie cutter making methods, we would love to hear from you and see pictures of both the cutters and items they’ve created. Please send anything you would like to share with us to: info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk