Sunday, July 20, 2014

Metal Clay Lecture

Did you miss the opening event for 
Inspired Objects:  Metalworking through the Ages?  
Join us this Wednesday at the Windsor Historical Society for another great event as part of this exhibit!

Metal Clay: A Radical New Way of Working with Precious Metals
July 23, 2014       7 PM to 8:30 PM

What would silversmith Paul Revere think of this?  Make simple pure silver jewelry on your kitchen table with a unique new product.  Metal clay combines microfine particles of pure silver that are mixed with a binder and water to form a clay-like material.  After forming the pieces they are dried and fired in a simple kiln or with a handheld torch to burn away the binder leaving hardened metal.  Bevlynn Gallant, metal clay jeweler and teacher, will show you how this material is used and how it differs from the traditional methods of working with silver to make jewelry. This talk is presented in conjunction with “Inspired Objects: Metalworking through the Ages,” a show and sale of metal clay artwork crafted by members of the Metal Clay Artisans Guild in Connecticut, on view until August 8th.  COST: $6 adults, $5 seniors and students, $4 Society and MAGiC members.  For more information, contact the Society at 860-688-3813 or

image of work by speaker Bevlynn Gallant

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bronze Rings with Prong Settings

Stone setting is always an exciting technique to explore with my students since it provides them with yet another way to expand their design process.  We will typically cover pressure setting stones, bezel setting stones and (as shown above) prong setting stones.  Students were given the challenge to design a simple coil ring in Bronze Metal Clay that integrated the ends of the coil into the design, included a surface carving and incorporated prong set round CZs.  Of course, the biggest part of the challenge was that the ring had to fit a specific size (of their choice) when done.  Prong settings can be purchased anywhere you would purchase general jewelry findings.  Since we were working in metal clay, they had to specifically be bronze to fire in place in the carbon, otherwise most any other metal could be soldered in place.  The prong settings look like little crowns with a notch along the interior points.  once the piece is complete, the stone is dropped in so that it is level and aligns with the interior notch, prong pushers (or even jeweler's pliers) are used to push or squeeze the prongs tight around the stone.  As long as the notch aligns with the edge of the stone, once closed in it should be locked in place.  One of the tricky parts of prong setting with metal clay is that the setting must be deep enough to sinter with the piece, but also supported in a way that it does not sink too far in and stays level.  Prong findings come in most any standard shape and size you might purchase pre-cut stones in.  They are a great way to incorporate stones that cannot withstand the heat of a torch or a kiln.