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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.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Metal Clay : Hollow bead

I also made a hollow bead during the course.

Well, okay.... mine didn't quite end up as a bead but more of a hollow ball pendant. :P

We were supposed to make a bead but I somehow got carried away squirting from the syringe that turning it into a pendant was the only way for me to salvage it. :P I even ran out of the syringe..... erm, not exactly the syringe but the silver paste in the syringe.

Don't think you can just make your own paste and shove it into the syringe to use because I was told that the consistency are different. Syringe type paste has got more silver particles and less binder which makes it of a thicker consistency than the paste in the jar.

Anyway, I was running out of the syringe already to complete the bail and my instructor was kind enough to 'sponsor' me some. Heheh....very kind of her indeed! =)

Please don't think that one is being stingy for not sparing some because these stuffs are so expensive that it just doesn't seem like a common practise to spare each other some. My option at that time was either to get a whole new syringe or have an unfinished piece. Getting a new syringe just doesn't seem like what I would want to do. For one, it's expensive and secondly. I only need a little bit more for completion. And so, my instructor came to the rescue! :P

On to the how-tos. To make this hollow ball pendant, the most important material is this!

What's this? This is cork clay.

Erm...a cork clay is a type of clay which look like cork or a cork-looking type of clay. Hhhmm...... o_O

Well, anyway, the interesting thing about cork clay is that it burns off during the firing process. Yes, burns off as in g.o.n.e. I think the proper term is what they call a combustible material?

However, I was told that you can only use a kiln to fire anything made with cork clay. A torch cannot do.

So, basically you make a ball from the clay. Let it dry thoroughly (very important!) and then bake it to harden it.

Sorry, not my hand. We didn't go through this process. Instead, we were merely chose from a selection of pre-prepared cork clay form to work with.

Once it's done, use the syringe to squirt the paste out convering the ball, like this.

Sorry, not my hands either. I was working with both my hands and did not bring my tripod along and I was too 'paiseh' (i.e. embarass) to bother disturb the other students in the class who were similarly engrossed in their work for taking the photos for me. :P But I found this exact picture of how I actually was working on the piece!

Cork clay is exclusively from Art Clay and PMC also has a similar version but it's wood clay. A wood clay is a type of clay which look like wood or a wood-looking type of clay? *shrugs*

It functions the same but it feels different between the two. Erm, one cork and the other wood? :P

Now, one thing to be very careful is to make sure that the 'wormy' strands are continuous and very important that they should overlap one another.


You've probably hear this many times by now and some of you could probably even guessed it. The same 'ol story lar..... it won't survive the kiln lor.

One of the student's piece did not survive the kiln. What I meant by not surviving the kiln is whereby the final piece cracked. I couldn't show you a picture of it because I was 'paiseh' to ask her permission to photograph that piece since she was a little upset about it.

Well, I've got one other piece which did not survived the kiln as well i.e. it cracked. But I'll show it to you next time.

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