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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ceramic Jewellery Class - Sew Make Create

Another weekend means another class! This time I'm learning how to make ceramic jewellery at Sew Make Create in Chippendale. I won a $50 voucher with them via an Instagram competition so that helped fund this class.


I did have an idea of what I wanted to make in the class but I'm not quite sure I got there in the end. I think I tried to make too many pieces in the class to try and safeguard against pieces potentially breaking in the kiln and this didn't give me enough time to really finish any of the pieces nicely. I also think a bit more time spent pre-planning exactly what I wanted to do would've served me well.


I thought I might make my ceramic balls for studs but they didn't fare well when I got to the pre-glazing stage so were written off. The beads I made broke in the kiln but I'm OK with that. All of the pendants I made survived and some of them are good - some are too big and heavy for me to wear (I have a bad neck so can only wear light pendants). The smaller round pieces were intended for earrings but I think they are a bit too thick and heavy so I need to think about what I would do with them. I also put the holes too far down in all of my pieces so using jump rings isn't working. There's a reason they say hindsight is 20:20...

I picked up my fired pieces from Sew Make Create yesterday...and here they are!


I have to confess - this piece of ceramic was an example by the teacher. I snaffled it, sanded it and then pre-glazed it. I quite like it - but I'm trying to think of how I can incorporate one of the smaller, similarly decorated pieces in to it.


I had really wanted to make a semi-circular pendant and have ended up with three. It's funny that the blue one is, aesthetically speaking (to me), the best looking piece as I actually ran out time to pre-glaze it hence the sightly washed out look.


I have a lot more pieces to play around with at home - I suspect I'll string up a few more and then cut my losses with the others.
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Thursday, 27 July 2017

#ebonyTee - just two more (for now)

Yes, I know! MORE Ebony Tee's...haven't I got anything better to do? Well yes (actually no - so if you have any pattern suggestions please let me know)...but these are different as I've added one inch to the length so I can wear them with my tighter pants...more butt coverage! It's funny how just one inch has made all of the difference to how I perceive my outfits.

The first top is in a polyester elastaine from My Hung in Parramatta and I just LOVE the print! It was quite slinky to sew with but nothing too bad. My overlocker behaved perfectly until it got to the neckdband and then it skipped stitches like a $%$#@$!!! My sewing machine was also skipping stitches all over the place. Honestly.

I've sewn the sleeve as drafted for the "wristlet" length.

NOTE how I'm wearing my new me-made silver clay earrings and necklace!
View of the back - butt area sufficiently covered. I LOVE THIS TOP!


Top number two is sewn in a super slippery polyester elastaine bought from Spotlight ages ago. If you've been with this blog for awhile you'll remember this dress made in the same fabric.

This very "twee" heart fabric is somewhat thinner than the first fabric here and my God - it was slipping and sliding all over the place - very frustrating, especially when putting on the neckband *deep breathes*. My overlocker was still playing up (the fabric isn't really being cut by the knife and just curls up inside the stitches and makes a massive, lumpy mess). I threaded the whole thing, dusted it out, changed the needles and re-threaded it and it seems to be...okay!


Again...acceptable levels of butt coverage.

I'm not sure how long this top will last - the fabric is very delicate and I've already snagged it a few times on a rough fingernail. Sigh.

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Pattern: Closet Case Files "Ebony Tee"
Size: 16, wristlet sleeves, jewel neckline
Modifications:  added 7.5" to the length. Rolled hem.
Fabric: as above
Changes for next time: none for View B

Monday, 24 July 2017

A class in Precious Metal Clay

I attended a really great workshop on the weekend at the Sydney Jewellery School (which recently moved from Rosebery to Parramatta - how lucky for me)! The class was all about making silver jewellery with Precious Metal Clay (PMC). I first became aware of PMC through Marialla Walker's Instagram (here and here). There is seriously no craft this lady has not tried - inspirational!


Wikipedia tells us that "Metal clay is a crafting medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver...mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewelrybeads and small sculptures. Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal in it. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal."

I was attracted to this class as it is actually something you can do at home if you want -- no need for a kiln, just a creme brulee torch and you're off! I'm already dabbling in polymer clay at home so this seemed like a good "next step".

These are so of the examples our teacher brought to class - all made by her (I'm coveting the ring in the very bottom right)
Our teacher Donna was great - very very patient! And I think she brought with her every gadget and tool in her workshop which we were free to use. The first hour of the class was spent being shown various techniques in working with the clay (PMC3) and then we were encouraged to plan out what we wanted to do before opening up the clay and letting it go hard (this stuff is not cheap at ~$50 for 16g so it was very good advice).

Sixteen grams of clay is not a lot and in way I'm glad as I kept my wishlist small and simple and went for two pendants and two sets of earrings. I also had enough for a little heart (made from a mould) that I have given to Dave...he has no idea what to do with, but I can't wear it so I don't want it! I do wish I had made the shapes of the earrings different from each other as they look a bit "same same" but you live and learn!
This is the clay, once it has been rolled out and had a textured surface applied by pushing it into a rubber or metal mat. Shapes are cut out using a pin from a shaped stencil - easy!

The school has a kiln so most of our pieces went into the kiln for firing (took 30 minutes to do this). As you can also fire PMC3 using a kitchen blow touch Donna showed us how to do this too. I wasn't going to embark on this as a hobby at home but I'm kind of running out of space to put all my crafting stuff...but I feel like the seed has been sewn and it might just happen. I didn't have a go at using the blow torch but I kind of wish I had now. 


Once the clay comes out of the kiln it has become 99.9% pure silver though it still looks like white clay. Once you've gone at it with a wire brush the silver surface is revealed. In order to get a good shine on your piece you need to go at it with a bevel (?)...which I kind of did, but to be honest it all looked shiny enough to me. 


Here I am wearing one pair of my new earrings at work - LOVE them!

The Sydney Jewellery School has loads of great classes - I can see myself enrolling in more classes here.