Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Preparation for the ACWUK Conference 2009

I am beginning to sort out my tools and materials ready for the Art Clay World UK Guild Conference due to be held on Jersey. I will be running a workshop making unique paper texture sheets but also participating in all sorts of other wonderful workshops.

I will try and remember to take plenty of photographs and put information on here when I return.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Steps for creating bracelet sections for enamelling

In this series of posts I will attempt to show my steps towards creating sections of a bracelet ready for enamelling.

Here I am really just exploring ideas for a piece I am thinking about in relation to my residency at Whitby Museum. The images relate to the journeys and explorations of Captain Cook in the Pacific and to other items in the museum's ethnographic collection from that area of the world.

The images I have initially chosen to use to explore my ideas are compass parts, though these are actually part of the Scoresby collection in the museum.

I have also chosen this image of a turtle as there is a turtle shell in the collection with a rather nice story attached to it. I have developed this image from a photograph I took some time ago of a turtle carved in stone. I have converted the image into black and white and altered it slightly to make the lines more pronounced so that I could create a photopolymer plate from the image.

Photopolymer plates for art clay silver

For this section of my bracelet I have used a photograph of a turtle carved in stone to create a black and white graphic image which has then been used to make a photopolymer plate. The art clay silver is rolled out to an even thickness (between roller guides). The photopolymer plate is oiled lightly to stop it sticking to the clay and then rolled over the top of the clay slab, again between roller guides to ensure the piece remains an even thickness.

The technique for creating photopolmer plates was taught by Katie Baum of the Art Clay Society at the Art Clay World UK Guild conference in 2008.

Creating curved slabs for a bracelet

To create a slight curve in the art clay silver pieces I place the freshly cut slabs of art clay silver over a ceramic mug to dry. This creates a very gentle curve of the right amount for a section of a bracelet.

Here the left hand piece is left smooth and the right hand section has been textured around the edge using a metal ball tool.

Adding loops

Once the pieces are all thoroughly dry I take a section of the dry tube and dip it quickly into clean water. I rub it firmly on the edge of the dry piece where I want to attach it and then hold it for a few seconds to allow it to connect firmly. I then return it to the hotplate to dry thoroughly and repeat the process with the remaining pieces.

Using latex masks for water etching art clay silver

When your slab of art clay silver is thoroughly dry you can draw on your design using a fine pencil. The use artists latex masking fluid to draw over your pencils lines.

Once the latex on the front of the design is dry thoroughly coat the edges and the back of the piece. Ensure there are no air bubble in the latex as you apply it.

Allow that to dry thoroughly.

Water etching art clay silver

When the latex mask is thoroughly dry you can begin the water etching process. Dip the piece into a small bowl of cold water and allow the exposed surface to get wet. Gently brush the clay away into the water. Keep re-wetting the surface.

I usually stop and dry the piece to check the depth of the etch from time to time and then continue if necessary.

Ready for second firing

In the top and the left hand side pieces I have added fine silver wire and tiny round silver balls of fine silver to the surface of the fired art clay silver using silver overlay paste in order to create cells into which I can later add enamel.

The lower right hand piece has been water etched to create the cells.

After drying thoroughly these will be re-fired in the kiln at 800 degrees centigrade

Art clay silver ready for enamelling

Here are the four samples using the different techniques to create cells ready for enamelling into.  They have been finished using a wire brush in the usual way then 3M pads and have been burnished for a very short time in my magnetic polisher.