Sunday, October 2, 2011

Masking Tape "Band-aid" Tutorial

I've been experimenting with using masking tape to "splint" small or delicate metal clay pieces that have had accidents for repair. Pictures are with dry, pre-fired clay, but I have also used this method to join pieces that broke after firing.

I apologize for some of the slightly blurred photos, but I would appreciate any and all feedback on this!

Step 1: Assess Damage

This break is kind of cool looking to me, but not what I was going for. Is this fixable or is it better to start over? Are there clean breaks? yes. Got all the pieces? yes. Are there other delicate areas to be aware of during repair? yes, the other spokes. Ready to play doctor? Yes? see step 2.

Step 2: Tape offending piece (tape is sticky side up like fly paper)
For a piece with multiple breaks, join the smallest pieces with water and paste to form a larger unit that is easier to handle when dry.

Step 3: Position pieces
Use the tape to pick up and align the pieces. Like a bandage on a cut, orient the tape so it overlaps more than just the area of the join.

Step 4: "Tacking" the join with paste

The tape will let you open up the join to apply paste, and holds them in correct alignment while the paste is wet. I have put taped pieces on a griddle set to 200F degrees to dry with no ill effects. The adhesive on the tape seems to soften a little, but it leaves no residue if allowed to cool before removing the tape.

Update:  On fired pieces I use oil paste for low profile join. For joins that gape a bit, Overlay paste (dries hard & quickly, can be torch fired) and lump clay.

Step 5: Reinforce join with syringe or lump clay
 With the tape supporting the repaired side, piece can be handled safely from the other side.

Step 6: Remove tape
 Excess paste that does not stick to the tape can be removed with brush or file.

Depending on the repair (ex. filigree) have left the tape on to be fired off. Sometimes the join needs to be fired for stability before being reinforced with additional clay.

Step 7: Face lift!
 Check the front of the piece to see if repaired areas need refinement from the front.

Finished cogwheel spinners!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2012 Art and Design of Metal Clay Jewelry calendar

My Furl Ring has been included in Holly Gage's  2012 Art and Design of Metal Clay Jewelry calendar! I always look forward to seeing what she and her team of jurors select. This year's panel included Emma Baird, Tracy Spurgin, and Lesley Messam. Thank you all for your time and effort to put the calendar together and sharing your experience with us!

Photo by: Lorri Gabbani

Furl Ring
Michelle Loon, 2011

Deer antlers in fine silver.

The concept for this ring started as a play on the words "furrule" and "furl". Naturally shed, these antler tips were left over from making a ferrule for a cue stick. Hearing the about how the furrules were made on a lathe made made me think of unfurling ferns.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tale of a Guardian's Tail

Guardian's Tale - freshwater pearl, waves, a small starfish, and of course a whale's tail. 2011.

Last year I made a ring with a whale tail for a friend while her family was going through some tough times. To her the tail is a symbol of strength and faith as it reminds her of the Bible story of Jonah in the whale's belly. My friend is an "everyone's Mom" kind of gal - brings people together with potlucks at work, stops to help at car accident scenes on her day off, and would give the shirt off her back to someone in need. Or in this case a ring.

Original carved whale tail ring with blue CZ, 2010

The decorative seat for the pearl came about as we both liked the idea of the tail wrapping around the pearl and she happened to see a mabe pearl ring with an ornate floral bezel style setting in an Avon catalog. (Unfortunately neither of us can find the original picture!)

A flat ring band made the base, a small circle for the the pearl wire to attach to was added, then the design sketched onto the band. I cut out small whale tail shapes in card stock until I had one that wrapped around the pearl seat nicely. An escapement file was used to carve waves in the back ground, while coils of clay were added to make swirls and waves.

Everything including a nice blue patina came together well! I love the dimension and depth from the combination of carving and addition of clay brings. Definitely my kind of thing and something to keep playing with.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gallery girls!

Being hyped up on coffee at the end of a weekend hanging with crafty friends and teaching means time to update tardy posts!

The Fabulous Fabrications show was a great experience last weekend. Candace and I had a 6 foot table we were splitting, and even though we'd talked about it, there was a lot to learn as we went. From thinking about the pieces that define our style, narrowing down the pieces for a coherent display, and finding out what things to pack - had a stapler, but never got around to packing table risers! Other than that, glue dots for crafting were unexpectedly our best friend for holding chains of heavier pendants onto our display busts and securing light weight displays.

It was nice meeting and being in a room with other artists who hadn't shown at the show before too. At the end of the show, both Candace and I were asked to submit pieces for their gallery. So we're gallery girls now, yay!

Me and Ms. Candace

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fabulous Fabrications show

We both juried in to the show and when the postcards arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to see my stitched heart pendant and Candace's corrugated bracelet on the front!

Friday June 17, 2011 7-9pm and Saturday June 18 10am-5pm
Creative Arts Group
108 N. Baldwin Ave.
Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Well, blog break is over - still have lots to do before next Saturday, gotta get back to construction!