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The Work Room is the Creative Journal of Wendy Sue where she shares her creative journey in all things handmade. The Work Room also offers an alternative to your typical jewelry making workshops. Scroll down to the end of the page to see how you can learn to make your unique piece of artisan jewelry online.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Metal Clay : Firing Pt. III

When you fire flat pieces, not only do they shrink in size but they also tend to warp a little as seen in the pendant I've made below.

It's a flat rectangular piece which I've textured it a little, stuck a flower motif from the previous mould onto the bottom corner and then embed a rhinestone at the centre.

Frontal view doesn't show anything amiss. But well, there is.........

Let me show you the side view.

Notice how the piece is slightly concave?

This, if I'm not mistaken, seems to be a common so-called 'problem' when you fire flat pieces of metal clay. It's a so-called problem only because it's not exactly a problem since it can be easily rectified and hence has somehow become an acceptable feature of metal clay? *shrugs*

Here is where I'm going to introduce you to this little fella.

Everybody, meet mallet. =D

I was introduced to mallet in the Beginners' Silversmithing course. The important feature I've learned about mallet is that unlike the chasing hammer whose head is made of stainless steel (I think!) ....

A mallet's head is made from cowhide.

Why does it matter from what the head of the hammer is made from?

I'll tell you why and for this I shall use a piece of wire for explanation purposes.

As you can see, I've had the two ends of this piece of wire bended. We are going to use each hammer on each end to hammer them straight.

Okay, let's give mallet a go first.

And the result?

Next, it's the chasing hammer turn.

The result?

So, can you see the difference between the two?

What the chasing hammer does to the wire is while shaping the metal, it spreads the metal at the same time, giving it a textured look; a method some artist used as part of the design for their pieces. A mallet to the contrary, while shaping the metal, does not affect the texture of the metal.

Basically, a mallet is normally used in conventional silversmithing to remove dent or shape metal. Well, at least that was what I've come to understand lar.

Anyway, time to put it to practical use. Reshape the earlier piece of pendant!


At the same time......

Front and back of the pendant remains unharmed, despite all the hammering.

Well, that's all for today, folks! ;)

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