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Epic Bronze, Cluster charm pendant necklace!

I have put off writing this tutorial for nearly two months.

I was too tired to edit the photos, couldn’t think of the right words….Utter bollocks.

I was emotionally drained and very sad by the whole event surrounding the pieces I created while making this tutorial. Remember the poorly behaved friend? Well this is her birthday present and she recieved it graciously.

Without further ado, here we go, straight into the how to bit….

This is bronze clay. It is a 200g packet from and cost about £35 quid I think..

It works along a similar principle to artclay silver and gold in that you form the object, dry it then fire it. The difference is that with this product you fire it in a kiln in an oxygen reduced environment.

Out of the packet it handles in a similar way to artclay, although it does need to be kept slightly moist I found personally.

I rolled out the clay using an acryllic rod on a glass sheet. I usually work on glass sheets because they can go straight inside my tabletop oven and they are easy to clean and transparent.

For this project I used Chinese seals to create four pendants. The were symbols for Health, prosperity, happiness and peace.

I applied even firm pressure to the stamp and carefully lifted it off. A few times I misted the stamps
with water so it did not stick.

Voila, cut out with cookie cutters.

I did not like the circular shape so I remade them as tear drops and pierced the holes using small Kemper cutters. The two items on the other side will be explained in a later blog….honest!

Also, I cleaned the charms up with a file and emery papers after they were dried in my tabletop oven. So when they were fired they would have lovely smooth edges.

Those little bad boys got fired in my cute little kiln inside a stainless steel firing pan filled with activated charcoal. I prefer the charcoal to coconut because of the patina it gives the finished objects.

I fired it up to 850 degrees centigrade ramped over approximately 8 hours and then held it for two. I am not superb at programming my kiln so its a bit hit and miss.

Here are the bronze charms. I left two as they appeared out of the kiln just to show you the difference that cleaning them up with a wire brush and some determination does!

The bronze clay has an organic binder that burns out during the firing and so the pieces shrink by 20% making them much more delicate.

The next stage involved my lovely pliars, happy sigh.

I carefully chose beads representing some of my friends interests like nature, the frog and ladybugs. She is also really into eastern culture hence the chinese seals, plus my interest in her well being.

Anyways, I strung up gold plated headpins with tigerseye and other accents beads.

To wrap them up, hold in your chain nose pliars like so.

Bend the head pin over the top.

Create a loop with your roundnose pliars and then finish by wrapping the tail around underneath the look to make it all lovely and secure.

And so we have bronze charms, gold plated chain and lovely wrapped charm beads on headpins.

I assembled this all with a toggle clasp to make a cluster charm pendant necklace.

I think it makes a pretty stunning piece of statement jewellery with genuine altruistic intent behind its construction.

Anyways my friend seemed pretty non plussed about it which is a shame really. I enjoyed making the piece and hope she enjoys wearing it.

In all honesty recent events have shown me there is not much point in worrying over the smaller things. Perhaps things between her and I will smooth out, perhaps despite the longevity of our friendship it was time to part.

Who knows, I will just keep being creative and offering acts of personal kindness. Living creatively, honestly and expressively, is my mantra and need to keep reaffirming myself with it. I am enjoying sharing tutorials though.

I have lots more ideas for things I would like to make using Bronze clay. I have also seen steel clay and copper clay which sounds intrigueing to me.

I really adore the idea of combining bronze and silver beads in pieces with polymer clay and glass beads that I have constructed, possibly ceramic beads and charms as well.

For now lovely blog followers, take care and catch you soon xx

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Good bye, Cathy

I feel I should blog about this now, rather than allow the memories chance to fade or tarnish.

I drove to London last night and stayed at my friend Tamara’s mother’s house. Then about 12ish today we headed off to Petersfield to the sustainability centre where the funeral was being held.

It was such a beautiful place with a huge pond full of newts and tadpoles with lots of rushes and aquatic flowers. There were brilliant blue dragonflies zooming around and the atmosphere just oozed hope and vitality.

We both worried about what we were wearing because the dress code was ‘not black’ and paranoid about being scruffy I went with white 3 quarter lengths and a chocolatey brown cotton collarless shirt top thing.

Tamara looked lovely and baby Brian, well he was not too worried about what he was wearing.

I was honoured to push Cathy’s Bier (handcart) and transfer her from Bamfa (not sure of spelling) otherwise known as the ‘beathy bus’ to her final resting place. I can only remember the name of Ness and Mike who were also bearing the cart but it was a curious feeling. A mixture of pride to be assisting and sorrow at her loss mingled with happiness that she was free from pain and being buried in such a gorgeous place. My real feelings of sadness are for Mike, her husband. I hope that I/we as a group of people can support him when he wants and needs it.

Cathy was ensconced in a woven wicker casket and the whole burial was ecologically sustainable.

The journey from the bus to the plot concluded, some words were said at her grave side. Mike read a lovely poem and Ness gave a heartfelt speech. A few other folks spoke up to express their feelings and the atmosphere in that wood was one of love and sadness.

I helped the other bearers lower Cathy into the ground before we stepped back to allow everyone chance to say goodbye. It was especially sad to see the older generation weep for their lost daughter, burying anyone you love is not easy, particuarly your child. I can only hope it is a sadness that I do not have to bear one day.

Tamara introduced baby Brian to his aunty Cathy before we headed back up to the cafe. There followed a few more words and a really tasty vegetarian buffet. The staff at the centre were so kind natured and helpful.

As sad as it is to say goodbye to someone, especially someone you thought you had a bit more time to get to know, being in such a positive environment made the whole event much easier to bear. I fully appreciate that Mike may not feel that way because I do not think I have ever known a couple so utterly dedicated and in love with one another.

We staged a Beathy reunion photograph, hopefully I will recieve a digital copy so I can paste it up here.

I got home from London after dropping Tamara and baby Brian off at about 11:15pm so having written this, I think it is time to go to bed.

Much love and Purkiness to all.

Sleep well in the woods, Cathy. xxx

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Cute critters for a wedding cake

Two very special guy friends of mine decided to declare their love for one another and asked me if I would recreate their family of critters as cake toppers.

I of course said ‘Yeah!’ and after much faffing with me completely failing to realise there were photographs of said critters on facebook I got them done….at 6am on the morning of their ceremony.

Whoop for Purky and his time management skills!

Anyways, to the critters!

Due to the somewhat rushed and hassled but strangely zen creation process on these guys, I have very few usable photographs sadly. I was intending to do a proper sculpting tutorial but alas it is not to be.  This is Jake who is a collie before he got painted.

There is a Collie (Jake) , a Jack Russel (Jack), two snakes, a frog and a hedgehog in this picture. Everyone has just had an undercoat of watered down white acrylic. I was terrified that the details of the sculpt would clog up. Normally I make things in fimo soft of the appropriate colour but this time I felt it was best to use super sculpey and paint them.

Base coats 🙂

‘I feeeel sssssssso anaemic! hissss!’

‘Ahhh much better!!!’ …. there is a mixture of different yellows and oranges as a base coat, then a wash with vermilion/burnt sienna and then a top coat/dry brush of metallic gold and copper here 🙂

Undercoated Jack Russel! and a drunk Hedgehog…lol The Jack Russel is particuarly special to me because he was my dog before I left home for university. My Mother was/is very ill and could not look after him without my help and so my friends adopted him. It was a very stressful time and I am constantly grateful for the love and care they have shown my little friend.

Some detailing….

Having a natter while waiting to be finished 🙂

This is Rogue, the cat who was sculpted and painted at 6am on the morning of the ceremony because I had struggled so hard to make her!

Say cheese everyone!

And from the side lol. Pretty much everyone got a dry brush or stippled coat with the metallic and opalescent paints just to give everything some gloss and life.

Just to give you an idea of the level of organisation I deploy in my paint department.

It was a very enjoyable project and at no point did I feel particularly stressed. I had a lot of fun with the sculpting and my skills progressed a lot. The guys seemed very happy with my renditions of their menagerie.

I have reconciled partially with the friend who upset me and I feel much better than I did last night. It appears the issues may sweep under the table and we will carry on as normal which is a relieving dissatisfaction to me. I would like things to change (positively) so this never happens again but I do not want to instigate the conflict which may be necessary for the change but leave us as a broken relationship.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this more positive post, I have been itching to type it up 🙂 Got plenty more to follow xx