Monday, October 26, 2009

Ladie's Night Out - Week 4 - Working With Silver Clay


This week was definitely a get focused and down to business class. We were trying to finish up the Kumihimo necklaces from the week before and then move right into working with PMC (Precious Metal Clay) silver clay.

My husband had once again come to my rescue. He repurposed a metal stake of some kind that was lying neglected in our junk draw at home into a hook that he inserted into his work drill that we could use to twist wire for our wire hook and eye clasps to finish off our Kumihimo necklaces! It worked like a charm! The ladies were all curious as to what we would be creating with that large drill – weren’t they pleasantly surprised. It saved us quite a bit of time and really made nice tight wraps on our wire.

After everyone had finished gluing their clasps to their necklaces, and were starting to get a little buzz from the glue…. we moved right in to working with the clay. I had brought them some regular fimo clay to practice with to get their designs down before moving into the expensive silver clay. I had also brought rubber stamps, clay molds, plastic design sheets, various leaves, twigs, pine needles & those little things from our maple tree that we used to call helicopters when we were kids because when they fell from the tree, they would spin to the ground.

I basically could start a small craft shop right in my own home from all the craft projects I have done over the years and all the craft supplies that I have…..

You could see the creative juices flowing as the ladies tried one design after another, trying to get it “JUST RIGHT”. Finally a brave soul opened her clay packet and began rolling out her silver clay. I had ordered the slow dry clay but the pressure was on when we figured out that even the slow dry had only about 15 minutes worth of creating time before it started to dry.

This week they are going to fill in any cracks, sand them smooth, and get them ready to kiln fire this weekend. That is when the much thought out designs will turn from plain white clay to silver masterpieces (at least we hope)!!

We are also making wire wrapped pendants this week with seaglass and shells and also some cute, unique, skinny rocks that I got from a supply place all the way out in Idaho.

Stay tuned!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ladies Night Out - Week 3 - Learning Kumihimo

Both nights this past week were pretty uneventful. The ladies were in full concentration mode so there was little in the way of joking and very little conversation, especially Wednesday night. Some of the ladies that are repeat class takers already had experience with the Kumihimo disk and the technique, so they just needed a few minutes of review. The other ladies, seeing this for the first time, were a little intimidated and very focused.

We had previously had our first Kumihimo class a few semesters ago using the basic weaving technique with various colors of satin cord. The ladies had loved this class and once they got into the groove with the technique were braiding like mad women. We had also had a previous class using wire with the Kumihimo disk and adding beads. This class - not so much. They are still reliving their horror stories about the uneven braiding, poking wires, and bloody fingers.

This time, they were braiding with beautiful royal blue satin cord for most of the ladies and a few chose two shades of green. Once they had braided for several inches, they had to start adding either blue or green seed beads for a few inches and then continue with the same braid as at the beginning. There were a few "start overs" but basically everyone got the hang of it fairly quickly and were crusing along.

Most of them got to the point of finishing with the seed beads and then were assigned to finish the rest as homework. I did hear from one of the ladies, who shall remain nameless, from the Tuesday night class (you know who you are...) that she didn't remember seeing homework in the syllabus. There is one in every crowd!!!

This week we are finishing the cord off and making our own wired hook and eye clasps and attaching them using Rudy's favorite glue to the ends. Pictures aren't available yet, but I will post them at a later date.

We will then begin working on our next project - PMC silver clay. I can't wait for this project. I haven't even done it myself yet because I have never before had access to a kiln. I do this year through one of my students and I can't wait to try it! We will be working with the clay using various tools, and then forming pendants and either stamping, pressing shapes into them, or whatever inspires them! The pendants will then be allowed to dry and then be fired and finished. We will also be using Liver of Sulphur; and Rudy thinks the glue smells bad... I definitely expect some whining! I can't wait to see the end results.

Stay tuned for the update!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ladies Night Out - Week 2 - Crystal Weaving Night

The color choices were lovely, the necklaces gorgeous, and I think the ladies enjoyed themselves once they got the technique down. This past week, we made right angle weave pendants on a necklace out of beautiful Swarovski crystal bicones in the ladies choice of colors.

I had taken this class a couple of years ago myself and had created a lovely necklace as a result. I thought this would be a great project to use to teach how to crimp (a very important part of jewelry making) as well as the right angle weave technique. And you can't go wrong using Swarovski crystals in their beautiful colors. They just sparkle in any light and look amazing.

I had the step by step directions, complete with pictures, and thought that it would help putting this necklace together. It took a few attempts in some cases and some re-doing of the stringing so that the pendant could be completed correctly, but the end results were worth it. I could see the light bulbs going off as the ladies realized how the technique worked and from that point, they were off.

Here is a sampling of some of the creations and as you can see from these pictures, they all got a little creative in their color choices and they all came out great! Ellen was the only brave soul to have her picture taken actually wearing her necklace to appear on the blog.

This coming week - Kumihimo braided necklaces with added seed beads!!! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Well, it's that time again! My adult ed jewelry classes have begun for another semester. We started last Tuesday night. There was such an overwhelming response this time in the registrations that I decided to hold the class for two nights each week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays and both nights were full!! I am so excited and they were so much fun!

Of course, I had ten ladies returning between the two classes, who have taken many classes in the past. It has become like a social event for us - catching up on how the summer was, what jewelry or craft items we have made over the summer, etc. I don't think the new students knew what to think the first night with all of our joking and teasing but by the end of the evening, they were joining in the mix.

One lady, a mother with four teenagers at home, said that she took the class to have a night out with other women. She has made some jewelry on her own before, so her children asked why she was taking the class. She responded that she was self taught and wanted to learn some new techniques plus get out of the house! Of course, they didn't understand, but we did - lol! The jewelry making part is just a perk!!

Our first project is pictured above. They had their choice of gemstones to use, so there was a variety of colors at the end of the session. Some of them also made the matching earrings. Some of them moaned (some of the returnees and some new students) over learning how to make a regular loop with wire and a wrapped loop but were soon getting the hang of it and all of their bracelets came out lovely.

They all left the class trying to decide if they had something in their closets that matched their new bracelet so that they could wear it the next day or did they need to stop at J.C. Penny on the way home to get something new. It was quite a dilemma.