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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 www.metalclay.co.uk 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