Sunday, May 19, 2013

Carving in Metal Clay

This week's challenge was to translate a carved design into the top of a ring.  I was inspired by this bright pink 8mm CZ and couldn't resist the temptation to nestle it safely into a lily pad.  The perfect pink floral accent to the top of this piece.  I balled up my clay and squished it into a flat pancake the same height as the CZ.  I poked a hole with a straw and sank the CZ in until the top of the clay surrounded it.  I then cut out my initial shape of the lily pad and let it dry.  Once bone dry, the clay is very easy to carve, especially at this thickness.  I find that small diamond files are the best carving tools in this dry material.  It has a similar feel to plaster carving.  I began with my general design and deeper lines and then carved the more detailed texture, each time lightly scratching or "drawing" in my design before begining to file.  The secret is no pressure.  The tools are sharp and just need to be trusted to do their job.  I added a coil to keep the eye moving around the piece and finished the ring with a liver of sulfur patina to bring out the richness of the texture.

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