Sunday, March 10, 2013

Barrel Bails

I recently spent some time playing with designs for barrel shaped bails that would sit behind and on top of small geometric pendants I had been creating.  They were all part of a small series that I wanted to keep unified, so I needed a versatile design that would fit the varying shapes, while staying visually cohesive.  For these pieces, I began by rolling out a sheet of metal clay 3 cards thick.  I cut it into a long rectangle, wrapped it around a straw I had rubbed with olive oil and sealed it's seam.  I let it stiffen up for just a few minutes before beginning to slice it on the straw.  I held my knife in place and rolled the straw to get an even cut.  I then spaced out each of the pieces and set them to dry in place on the straw.  Once they were bone dry, I gently slid them off and sanded them before attaching them to my dried pendants with slip.  Starting with the longer piece and cutting it apart allowed me to make several pieces at once and vary their sizes to fit the individual pendants they would be attached to.  It was important to cut them on the straw in order for the clay to stay supported and not collapse under the pressure of the knife due to its hollow center.

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