I did manage to spend a little time out in the studio last week and again some this week. I spent a couple of days just cleaning and reorganizing my art studio. Then, I sat down and created a few pendants that hopefully will work well with the beaded components that I created while in RI.
I have a small handheld extruder that I bought at Hobby Lobby. It was designed for Fimo and other oven-fired clays, but it works well with soft ^6 clays too. It came with a variety of tiny plates to adjust the size and shape of the coils. So far, I have really only worked with 2 of them in creating jewelry, although I have used some of the others while making other items in the past.Oh, and I have discovered TOOTHPICKS! They are a perfect tool for creating jewelry. At first I thought I would simply use them to drill the holes because they are thinner and less harsh than my Kemper S&P drill tool, but I discovered they make excellent shaping tools too. While the coil is very soft and flexible, I wrap it around the toothpick. It creates cool loops like this:
I don't think I'll add glaze to this round of jewelry pieces. I want to see if I like them without the glaze. I will still fire them to ^6, just without the glaze. I will add color in the form of Mason stains and Amaco underglazes (also called engobes). I have made other items from other clays where I applied the color and fired without glaze to ^6 and I really liked the effect. I'm hoping I will like these finished that way too.
I designed this pendant to go with the triangle-components-necklace that I blogged about before. I"ll apply a rose tone to the coil and a green tone to the leaves. I used the toothpicks to create the nice corner loops. I"ll make more of these and choose the most appropriate one to combine with my beaded components. The others that come out nice will be offered for sale individually in my etsy shop. I want to make a few different sizes too.
Speaking of different sizes, I'm not as happy with this one. I think it's too large for a pendant, but I'll finish it up anyway and see if it's ok after firing to ^6. It will shrink some in firing, but as dry greenware it measures 2.5". Even with a 10% shrinkage, it will still be 2.25". I'm a small person and couldn't wear a pendant that large. I like its shape and design, though. Maybe I can do some similar ones just a little smaller.