EMC Team Stone Settings Challenge

The Etsy MetalClay Team has done Team Challenges in the past. The purpose of the Team Challenge is to help team member push their boundaries and learn a new a skill that they might not of tried. Stone Setting in metal clay is the current team challenge for the EMC Team. All jewelry pieces would have to incorporate setting stones in metal clay into their design. Below are some of the designs the various artists of the EMC team came up with!

Jamie's Bracelet by Wanaree Tanner

Wanaree Tanner made the beautiful bracelet shown above. The russian amazonite is held in place with a silver bezel. The silver bezel was constructed from Art Clay Paper. The intricate bezel design was cut with the help of a silhouette machine. Wanaree has named this piece Jamie's Bracelet. Wanaree talks more about this bracelet in her blog.

Rainfall by Evelyn Pelati

Evelyn Pelati constructed this lovely necklace. Evelyn calls this Art Deco inspired piece "Rainfall". The blue lace agate is set in sterling silver and the two silver drop framing the lovely blue lace agate represent rain drops.

Mountain Sunset by Bev Gallerani

Bev Gallerani of Mango Tango Designs created this stunning pendant shown above with Goldie Bronze. She has named this piece "Mountain Sunset". The bronze pendant has two very distinct stones. The round rainbow calsilia is set in a bronze bezel setting and the bismuth crystal is held in place with a prong setting. The necklace in composed of cherry creek jasper rondelles. The round rainbow calsilia represents the moon and the jagged bismuth crystal represents a mountain range. 

Crazy Lace Agate Pendant by Meenu Devrani

 Meenu Devrani of Vaasvara Jewelry has created three pieces for the challenge! Each piece incorporated a different stone setting technique. The pendant above is a large crazy lace agate stone that has been set using art silver paper clay. The body of the pendant is composed of art clay slow drying silver.

Moss Agate Pendant by Meenu Devrani

This moss agate is held in place with a fine silver bezel wire. The main body of the pendant is silver metal clay but a fine silver bezel wire was soldered to the metal clay body to hold the moss agate in place. Meenu found this piece to be the most challenging but it came out beautifully.

Obsidian and Opal Broach by Meenu Devrani

The rainbow obsidian and opal stones in this lovely broach were set with different types of metal clay. Meenu set the opal stone into the broach with paper clay and fired the opal setting with the main body of the broach. The rainbow obsidian bezel was created with metal clay fired separately and then reattached to the main body of the broach with overlay paste. The handmade pin mechanism was soldered onto the back of the broach.  

Flutterbies Pendant by Joy Funnell

Joy Funnell of Joyful Jewellry created this whimsical pendant. The pendant is composed of art silver clay. The enameled pink butterflies circle around the cubic zirconia stones that have been fired in place. The silver pendant has also been patina to bring out the texture pattern on the background of the pendant.

Silver and Goldie Bronze Heart Rings by Liad Wischnia Nemeth

Liad Wischnia Nemeth the designer behind  By Liad handcrafted Jewelry created two beautiful rings. One ring is composed of silver and the other ring is composed of Goldie Bronze. Both rings create a silver/bronze bezel setting to hold the red ruby stones.

Bronze Labradorite Ring by Liad Wischnia Nemeth

Liad also created this gorgeous ring which is composed of goldie bronze. The nine labradorite stones on this ring are held in place by bronze bezels. Liad used the bezel builders mold by metalclays.com to create this ring.

Silver Leaf Ring by Karen West

Karen West the designer behind Egg Tooth Originals created this lovely ring. The silver ring combines metal fabrication with metal clay. The ring shank and ring bezel are sterling silver metal fabrication. The leaves are composed of silver metal clay. The metal clay leaves were soldered onto the silver ring shank base.

Thank you to all the team members who participated in this Team Challenge!


Textures 101- How to find, use and implement them.

Texture is a very important consideration when making things with any clay-like material, whether it's ceramic clay, polymer clay or our favorite . . . METAL CLAY!

Here's a list of ways that I've found textures to use in my work:

Natural objects found on walks - rocks, wood, rusted metal, leaves, flowers:

I really like this crumbled leaf!
surfaces like wood, linoleum, textured paint swatches from the hardware store, walls!

wallpaper books with textured vinyl pages:

Japanese textured papers:

rubber stamps - using partial patterns for collaged designs.

Here are a few things I made with rubber stamp patterns

tearaway texture - toner photocopies or printouts from a laser printer made popular in the polymer clay community and extensively by Celie Fago.  She had more to say about it recently because for a while the polymer clays didn't work for this technique but she has done some more experimenting and you can read about it here.

mold material - silicone 2 part mold material, this one is my favorite kind . . . and I have tried quite a few.

A few pieces of the material in it's molded state:

photopolymer plates - processed with UV light - Wanaree Tanner uses them with her own artwork.

Wanaree's Celtic Griffon

Here's a link to a photopolymer platemaking tutorial from Maggie Bergman's website.

Wine labels might have patterns for tearaway or photopolymer applications:

I found this pattern on a computer mouse at Target:

laser cut paper - Rolling Mill Resource is a great shop on Etsy that provides these.  They can also make your custom artwork into a laser cut design.

I want to take a moment to address the issue of copyright and using patterns from rubber stamps and patterns found online:

If you're only using a small portion of these patterns in any design, there is no danger of infringing on a copyright of the manufacturer.  If you use a small portion of some artist's cut out artwork, as in making your own texture from their art, the same rule applies, especially if there's only a small portion used in your design.  The problem that arises with the issue of copyright is when any person uses the entirety of the previous artwork in their own work and sells it as their own.  Selling in large quantities, using another artist's work is the heart of this persistent argument.

However, the sore point for many artists, is the copying of technique and style without the artist's permission, so that the artwork looks the same and could be mistaken for their work. 

My favorite way to make jewelry pieces is to collage together little bits of patterns that complement each other.  Here I used two molds, one from a little picture frame I found while on vacation and the other was from a metal tool I found on ebay.  I also used a rubber stamp for part of the background.  The earrings are the finished product.

Currently I'm having an obsession with "LACE". So I found some of the real stuff:

I got a few books with patterns in them:

and I found this great sheet of rubber stamps full of lace!

I've found graffiti all over the place where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I take snapshots:

Then I convert them to black and white images in my photo editing program:

I use Photoshop Elements.  I can even invert the pattern:

depending on what I want my design to look like, an "innie" or an "outie".

I've also made flat sided polymer shapes, baked them for half the time stated on their packages, drawn my pattern to the surface and carved it out with a sharp tool like a tungsten scribe.  Perfect for rolling metal clay onto.  I made a brooch, a couple of pendants, and a small bowl with this design.

There are so many sources of texture to be found out there, you just have to look and I know you'll find something.

A little collaged bowl I made:

Here are a few links to members of our team who use many of these textures in their work.  Please take a look and see if you can tell what they used.

Teresa Boland uses leaves and natural forms.   
Christine Childress uses vintage buttons.
Lori Magno uses gingko leaves and molds
Evelyn Pelati makes amazing and delicate patterned pieces.   
Sue Urquhart makes jewelry with pictures of animals and birds.
Kristi Bowman makes many of her own beautiful textures
Christine Street has very fun ideas!
Zoe Nelson collages like I do and her work is beautiful.  
Bev Gallerani uses textures from the sea
and last is me, Catherine Witherell, the collager! 


A Quick Look Back at 2012 Challenges with Team Members

2012 has come and gone, 2013 is here! As artist it's always helpful to take a moment to look back and peer forward at the new year, or just reflect on what we'd like to accomplish. I asked some of our Etsy Metal Clay team members to share a little more about this.

One of our newest member Anna Siivonen quit her day job in 2012 to pursue art full-time. This transition is a scary prospect at best, and making that shift to relying on your work completely can be a bit overwhelming. Anna's biggest struggle hasn't been selling her work, but producing enough of it on her own to meet orders. Juggling that with making new work is even more difficult, but she's working on improving her designs and techniques to make the most out of her studio time. Stop by and check out more Anna's whimsical sculptural work see what new wonders she has in store for us all in over the next year: www.etsy.com/shop/annasiivonen

After taking a year off, Glenda J Camara-Skarie is coming back to the bench to engage in an entirely new medium: base metal clay. She dove head first into working with copper metal clay, and while she encountered a few difficulties she also discovered a new love. Here's her first ever copper piece and definitely not the last, as there's already a bracelet and earrings planned for the future. You can follow her work on Flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adorilargento/

Lynn Cobb is well known for her delicate and beautiful silver blossoms, last year she even shared her technique for creating these amazing pieces in the Art Jewelry special Metal Clay edition. Her new project is finding a simplified way to create these flowers in silver clay by molding them instead of previous technique of slip painting. Here are both techniques side by side. You can find more of Lynn's work on here Etsy page:www.etsy.com/shop/lynncobb

When I think of Bird a Month, I think of Joy Funnell, here's one of her favorite pieces she made during last year's challenge. To me, creating a Bird a Month is a pretty hefty commitment, but she says she discovered that it's not as stimulating as doing a weekly challenge! So this year she's participating in a "Weekly Critter" challenge, she'll be marching out a new critter every week, watch on (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joyfunnell) and her blog (http://joyfunnell.blogspot.com)

Like many artists, Louise Hunter juggles both a full-time day job and jewelry design. I admire artists that can strike this balance, it's a difficult thing to manage, and this year she's even participating in a brooch a week challenge. She hopes this will get her into the studio and ask her to think outside of the box. See how this new project unfolds on Louise's blog: http://peculiarforest.blogspot.com

Last year Meenu Devrani took on the challenge of creating a large etched plaque (you can read more about this amazing project HERE .) As jewelry artists I think we all get very comfortable working on a small scale, crossing over to a project of this size would be intimidating, at best, for many of us. This didn't stop Meenu! By tackling this project Meenu said  it "….further affirmed the very reason I choose to engage in creative processes, to follow what is in my heart and embrace the failure and success alike." This is the kind of confidence only risk can buy, and she see's this willingness to be daring opening up her creative horizons in the years to come.

Another fabulous new addition to the team is Sophia Georgiopoulou, who's artistry with granulation is truly remarkable. She's been bridging the gap between metal clay and traditional granulation, and continues to push the boundaries of what's achievable. This piece, "Bombay Bunch Necklace", was created out of PMC gold which allowed her to make larger hollow forms to which the granulation could be attached and then fired together. This process also lead to the creation of her 2013 Niche Award Finalist piece "Chiaroscuro Necklace". We are delighted to welcome her to the team, and look forward to seeing more of how this process unfolds over the next year!

In January of 2012 I committed to share four processes a month. At the time I wouldn't have imagined how busy my year would become, or what kinds of time limitations I'd soon encounter. When I first started slipping behind on my posts, I battled with feelings of guilt for not keeping up. When Evelyn Dombokowski told me she learned she didn't like designing jewelry under pressure, and let her challenge go in October, I felt a great sense of relief. Afterall, she says, "there is no four a month police"! So true!! Evelyn took on the FAM (four a month) challenge where you create four pieces that fit into a series each month. She's worked at deadline driven jobs outside of jewelry, and found this wasn't something she wanted to carry over into her jewelry studio. She'll continue to take on challenges, it gets her to try out new designs and materials, but she'll no longer worry about keeping to a fixed schedule or meeting hard deadlines. The value of challenging herself is apparent in her FAM Flickr set, click to see more.

All in all, it seems 2012 was a great year for tackling all kinds of challenges, and 2013 will be as well. Looking back and peering forward with a few of the team members has taught me a lot about our individual creative processes. Whether trough personal or creative challenges we always come out the other side a little wiser and better equipped for all that lies ahead. Here's to another exciting year with the Etsy Metal Clay team!

-Wanaree Tanner

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