I've just come back from a fabulous course at Higham Hall. It was strange being the student and not the tutor for the weekend, but it was so much fun and I was totally re-inspired.
The class was "Rings in Silver Clay" with Tracey Spurgin..... this is Tracey.
So, as the course title suggests, we were learning how to make rings from Silver Clay. I have dabbled with Silver Clay in the past, but really really needed to step up my skills.
I started with this glass cabochon ring, making the base first around a wooden mandrel, pressing it into a texture plate to get an interesting design. Each stage has to be dried out as firing damp clay would result in failure.
Next I wrapped the glass cabochon with a clay 'snake' curling it round to hug the glass.
After the ring base was fired, I then assembled the two parts. After leaving it to dry out completely I somehow managed to accidentally seperate them so had to re-do this whole stage. I was extra careful the second time.
I added some fired silver balls for decoration, and to fill in any unsightly gaps, and it was fired again at a slightly lower temperature to prevent damaging the glass.
After a good polish with a brass brush and some polishing papers, I dipped it into some Liver Of Sulphur. This was to eventually give the piece an older, more antiquey looking finish.
After a good buff with some silver polish and a soft cloth, the ring was finished. I was extremely chuffed with myself too :)
I made a second one to make sure I could remember all the stages !
I then went onto make one of Tracey's fabulous flower rings, making a D-Band ring - the first one broke into four pieces so I had to start again. The flower and the leaves were made seperately and then assembled before the whole piece was fired.
For the third ring, I made a huge chunky D-Band ring, then at the plaster dried stage I faceted the ring to give it this multi-edged design. It's so solid and shiny :)
The ring in the kiln, just fired.
I also made a little pendant with the scraps of clay.
At the end of the weekend we were invited to join the Arabian Dancers, who were also at Higham Hall, to dance. It was quite good fun, although a touch embarrassing as we didn't have a clue what we were supposed to do !
If you ever get the opportunity to take one of Traceys classes, then I wholeheartedly recommend it :)