If you make jewellery, or use polymer clay, you may find a lot of folks suggest that you try making jewellery with silver clay. Having had a few chats about it, I wanted to try, but was nervous about trying a new skill that could be expensive to mess up!
I signed up for a one day workshop, knowing that I'd get the materials, tools, kiln access, tuition and advice from a real live expert.
Here's what happened!
The £99 workshop was at Nottingham's excellent The Bead Shop, to make a pendant, leaf and ring using silver clay, silver clay paste, and silver clay in syringes.
Top tip! It was reassuring when booking to see that the workshop was limited to 6 people - Always check if a workshop doesn't specify the group size, as you don't want to end up just following instructions by rote and getting little one to one time for questions.
Compared to polymer clay, silver clay is odd to work with as it dries out quickly, so can begin to crack and loose malleability as you work with it. If you have never worked with polymer clay, imagine Plasticine or clay, already workable, which when mixed with water becomes like wet clay. If dry, it can be easily re-hydrated by popping it in a bag with a wet bit of kitchen towel, but it's a fine line between that and making it so damp it sticks to your fingers.
We used the block material to sculpt pendants (we all made more than one, either making smaller pendants, or using leftovers from our ring!)
Top tip! First time using silver clay? You can make, mash, make, mash... keep creating then squashing back into a ball while you get used to how it handles and the results you can get.
Silver clay paste
Using silver clay paste we built up layers on a real leaf, to create our own silver version. This is a popular use for silver clay, and very striking.
Top tip! Keep your first few layers of paste watery thin, really water your clay down, and it'll pick up more details from the leaf.
Silver clay syringes
Available pre-packaged, with a range of nozzle sizes, syringes enable you to make instant thin 'sausages', create filigree work, or add fine detail.
Top tip! May sound obvious, but: Practice on a flat surface (I used my pendants) before you try anything shaped, or where you have to hold the item and use the syringe one handed.
Trying to work on a curved ring, which I was holding with one hand, was not that easy...