Thursday, 25 March 2010

Beads and Beyond Feature

This month Beads and Beyond magazine have covered my work in a two page "Meet and Greet" feature. It's such an honour to be featured in a major magazine article and I'm so pleased with how the photos and work turned out.
My shop has benefited as has my website and it's a wonderful thing to be able to show the family. My mum and hubby have always supported my work, but there were a few folks who thought I was mad to give up a well paid software job & pursue my creative dream.....
Artisan friends of mine assure me I'm not alone in seeing how much more there is to learn (or guilty of forgetting how far I've already travelled).

For those of you on the same journey as myself....a few quotes I've found inspiring.
"Use what talent you possess ~ the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
Henry Van Dyke
"The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls"
Pablo Picasso

Enjoy your journey...
Nic xx

Monday, 8 March 2010

First Experience of Delft Casting....

Wouldn't this be a great way of replicating PMC masterpieces??
First of all, get the set with the DVD and then watch it! If you haven't got the DVD then there's a very good set of YouTube vids by Andrew Berry...

Here's what I did to make the first of two ball ends for a bangle
1) Clear your work surface, get the clay out and chop it up (I used a metal edge ruler and it was easy)
2) Make sure the clay is soft and mouldable
3) Using the smaller of the two rings turn it upside down (so the joining part is on the bottom)
4) Force the clay into the mould packing it tightly then hammer down the excess on the top.
5) Scrape off the excess to give yourself a flat surface (metal edge ruler again)
6) Turn over and push your master 1/2 way in (in this case my round plastic bead).
7) Use the edge of the ruler to make sure the clay meets the edge of the master.
8) Talcum Powder the master then brush off excess with a soft brush 9) Join up the rings making sure the alignment score marries up
10) Fill the top half with clay & Repeat the tamping down process
11) Gently wiggle the two halves apart
12) Carefully remove the master. 13) Poke a hole from the cavity (where the master was) through to the back I used a small drill bit
14) Following the instructions on the vids carve a funnel that ends in the hole you poked in the cavity (this is what you pour the metal down so it needs to have plenty of room).
15) Clear Debris & tamp down any loose clay
16) Because my bead was round I then did angled holes from the edge to let the air escape.You can see this best on the delft video.
17) Join up the two rings aligning the marks again
18) Using your pre-prepared crucible, heat up the metal until it's a moving liquid.
19) Keeping the flame on the metal pour the metal into the moulds spout. (There will be Flames!)20) You can quench the casting in water (rings and all) as the Delft clay doesn't absorb water. NEAT!
21) Once cool gently ease the two halves apart to inspect your handywork.(please ignore the outside holes ~ in the end I did 4 diagonal ones) This part was quite exciting!!

22) Carefully remove the casting and discard any blackened clay (the rest can be reused).
I love my little Sputnik - Here's a closer look
23) Start the finishing process.....You may want to leave the sprue on if it's a fiddly job (you can saw it off last)Here's the casting looking a bit more like the Ball end of the bangle it will be soldered onto! Hope you enjoyed sharing my first wasn't half as scary as I thought it would be....
Why not have a go yourself? Though I hasten to add at your own risk, yadda yadda don't set yourself on fire (did I mention there are youtube vids?)

Nic xx

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