The silver clay workshop went well! Here are the things I made:
The left-hand pendant was made by using my wedding-ring to impress the wet clay (you can see the phoenix and dragon if you click on the photo). The middle piece used a commercial rubber stamp to impress the lines, then was dipped into a liver-of-sulfur solution to darken the lines. After that I painted it with Pebeo Porcelaine, creating a puddle of color using the markers we were given, then mixing and applying the colors using a small brush. Ideally it would have cured for 24 hours at room temperature before baking 1/2 hour at 350 degrees, but we didn’t have that much time, so we stuck it in a 150 degree oven to dry it out before baking 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. It seems to be holding up fine.
The right-hand pendant is just silver clay imprinted with a pebbled texture, then painted with the Pebeo Porcelaine colors. Not as exciting, technically speaking, but the colors are pretty.
Anyway, I enjoyed the experience enough that I bought some silver clay books, tools, and materials, and plan to read up and/or play around some with it (in my copious free time, of course). I doubt it will be more than a sideline, but I’d love to create some metal clay buttons for my handwoven garments, once I get to that point. A three-strand Celtic braid button, for example, would be pretty cool.
What is not so much fun is this:
I’ve had lots of broken threads – about one every half-inch or so – which puzzled me a lot, since from everything I’ve read a sett of 60 epi is appropriate for 60/2 silk woven in a 4-end twill variant, and the 3/1 twill I wove at the beginning appeared to be a balanced sett, since the twill line was about 45 degrees.
However, looking at the samples I’ve woven so far – and especially at the top one, which is woven in a 5-end satin variant – I’m concluding that 60 epi is too dense a sett; you’ll notice that the motifs are elongated vertically. So I need to drop it back some, maybe to 54 epi, maybe more. I’ve been resisting this conclusion for the past day, because I so wanted to be up and weaving, but it’s hard to avoid. I’m going to have to cut off, drop off about 2″ worth of threads, and then re-sley, re-tie-on, weave a header, reposition the temples, and all that other bother. And, because I have to start weaving my samples next weekend for my next article (which means designing them, winding the warp, etc.), I’m unlikely to get much more weaving done this week.
Botheration! I had hoped to be weaving yardage by now. But c’est la vie…patience is needed to be an artist of any sort, and especially a weaver!