Monday, 2 February 2015

Design Challenges

fine silver pendant - moon and earth

One thing I've been dying to participate in for a long time is jewellery design challenges. Lots of groups have them and jewellery material suppliers frequently do them too as promotions.
They push you out of your comfort zones and make you design things you wouldn't normally have done. 
I haven't joined in before for various reasons - lack of confidence, scared of harsh judgement and too much to do already, but the group Metal Clay Europe on Facebook had one in January that I am really glad I went for.

The challenge was to make a piece mainly in metal clay with the theme The sun, Moon and Stars.
Brilliant theme.
The support is amazing and there was lots of fantastic entries. I love to see how a single theme can produce such different end results. And I will definitely be going for more challenges in the future.

This is what I did for it:
It's made from Art Clay silver, A dichroic cabochon, 3 yellow czs and two lab spinels - the five gems are tiny. Got a bit carried away with the silver balls - I've been recycling my scrap silver :oD
The back is engraved with a Cameo machine and says "By light of moon and ray of star". The diameter is 34 mm.

It was scary to fire an open piece like this. I supported the 'moon' with fibre blanket so that it wouldn't collapse. It held up beautifully, but the back suffered some distortion because it couldn't shrink evenly around all the silver balls stars (metal clay shrinks in the kiln as it sinters). It took some careful straightening and the back is still a wee bit wobbly, but I am quite pleased with it all in all. It's my first time using glass in a piece and I love how it sparkles in there.