Sunday, 22 June 2008

Experiments in Silver

Today I played with silver clay. I had a great time! Silver clay is pure silver, mixed with water and binders to make it pliable. Once fired the water and binders burn off leaving just the silver metal behind. Straight from the kiln the silver is matt white, which is the natural colour of silver. After sanding, burnishing and polishing it becomes the shiny silver we're all more familiar with.

Now these pieces were my first experiments this afternoon, and they need lots more polishing, but I was impatient to show them off! I knew I would be unlikely to make "the perfect ring" the first time I played with silver clay, so I've deliberately made this an easy-to-wear chunky ring, with randomly filed surfaces that reflect the light. It fits a treat, which is my biggest surprise! Silver clay shrinks, so getting the correct ring size is a bit of a challenge.

Then I made a little birdy charm to hang somewhere with some of my glass beads. He's around 18mm in diameter and needs lots more polishing. I need to give it the oxidising treatment too so that the little birdy stands out more.

I admit I was fairly daunted by the teeny weeny packet of silver clay that had cost me an arm and a leg. I was afraid to add water to it and consequently I worked it a little drier than I should have done. Next time I'll be braver. Ah yes.... there WILL be a next time!

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