MATERIALS

Materials I work with have changed and continue to grow.  Here are some of the materials I currently use in my art.

  1. Precious Metal Clay - (.999 fine silver or .925 sterling silver) - Metal Clay was developed in the early 1990’s in Japan by Masaki Morikawa for Mitsubishi.  This material consists of microscopic particles of pure silver powder and water-soluble, non-toxic organic binder than burns off during firing.  The dry material is then fired in a kiln at 1650F for about 2.5 hours.

  2. Sterling silver, copper, brass and bronze metal.

  3. Dichroic Glass - This unique glass displays two or more different colors depending on the lighting.  This magic occurs by stacking layers of metals or oxides on black or clear fusible glass which give the glass shifting colors depending on the angle it’s viewed.  Color changing glass dates back to at least the 4th century AD.  Modern dichroic glass is available as a result of research carried out by NASA, who developed it for use in dichroic filters. 

  4. Resin - a self-doming, self-leveling, self-healing, crystal clear material made specifically for the jewelry and metalsmith artist.

TECHNIQUES

Here are some of the techniques I use in my art.

  1. Metal Clay Forming -  metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds and textures.  After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln or with a handheld gas torch,  depending on the type of clay and the metal in it. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal. Shrinkage of between 8% and 30% occurs (depending on the product used). Alloys such as fine silver, sterling silver, bronze, copper and steel are also available. 

  2. Glass Fusing – the technique of joining two or more pieces of glass by heat in a kiln.  There are different glass fusing techniques depending on the kiln temperature and length of time kept at a temperature.  The art began around 2000 BC, but it wasn’t until the 1900’s when warm glass began to reemerge for use in art and home use.

  3. Metalsmithing – the practice or art of forming and fabricating metal into jewelry.  The basic tasks include annealing (softening hard metal using a torch to make it more malleable; cutting, drilling and sawing; filing and sanding; forming flat metal sheet into 3D shapes; joining connections with solder and a torch; and finishing to create smooth, comfortable attractive pieces.

  4. Lost Wax Casting – designs created through wax carving are poured into a plaster-like medium known as investment.  The investment is heated to extreme temperatures to incinerate the material, creating an impression of the desired form.  The intricate cavity is then filled by molten precious metal.  I’ve also used tree vines and other organic forms in place of wax.  

  5. Broom and Water Casting – hot molten metal is poured into a wet whisk broom.  The result gives you a great stalagmite and stalactite effect.  Water casting is pouring hot liquid metal into a pan of water which gives a smooth unique effect every time.  

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