Cloisonné Enamel Workshop – James Carter

Written by Diane Rein

Cloisonné Buttons Finished

Cloisonné Buttons Finished

I had the great opportunity to attend the Cloisonné Enamel Workshop Master Class at the Bead & Button show under the instruction of James Carter.  This was my first experience with Cloisonné.  I have to admit, after looking at James Carter’s website, I thought I was in over my head!  His pieces are amazing and inspirational to say the least! On the first day, with tools and supplies in hand, I took my seat next two lovely and kind ladies that happened to be mother and daughter.  Both had experience with this medium, so I knew I at least had some assistance close by.  The three day class went by so quickly that I didn’t want it to end.

Here are some of the things that James passed on to our group:

  • Different types of gold and silver Cloisonné wire and what works best for which applications
  • Gold and silver foil types and what works best to enhance transparent enamels
  • How to clean enamels
  • How to blend enamels
  • Uses for different types of enamels and manufacturers
  • Wet packing
  • Firing

In the end, I ended up with two complete pieces that I was proud of!  I am hooked!  James made the experience relaxing and fun.   Here are photos of my projects.

The button with the blue flower has gold foil layered under the enamel.  All the enamels are transparent except for the red accents which are opaque.

I would definitely recommend this class to anyone….Here is link the James Carter’s website: http://www.jamescarterstudio.com/

Follow James on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamescarterstudio

Shop Enamels

Shop Cloisonné Wire

Cloisonné Enamel Button - Unfired
Cloisonné Enamel Button – Unfired
Cloisonné First Fire
Cloisonné First Fire

June 23, 2016

Posted In: Creativity

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Announcing a Fabulous New Metal Clay

Written by Diane Rein

Artist Lisel Crowley has written a great review of our new EZ960(tm) sterling silver clay. Check it out below and here: Lisel Crowley News

Lisel Crowley

Over the past few months, (March, 2016 to June 2016), I have had the distinct pleasure of testing a fabulous new Sterling Silver clay. Created by Bill Struve and distributed by Cool Tools, this clay is an open shelf sterling silver clay with wonderful working properties and incredible post firing strength. It is called EZ960 and is 96 percent silver and 4 percent copper. I am very excited to share with you what I discovered using this product.

Working Properties
This clay is smooth and creamy out of the package. It rolls and textures perfectly. I use a lot of delicate coils in my work and it is great for rolling long, strong and flexible coils. It also has a long working time before drying and cracking, is very easy to reconstitute with a bit of water and remains slightly flexible even after drying. I have attached fine silver bezel cups and they adhere strongly and are fully bonded after firing. I also find it easy to join pieces with just water and the post firing bond is strong and durable.

Lisel Crowley

Bezel set cubic zirconia, combined with delicate coils and textured leaves

Lisel Crowley

Firing and Finishing
Bill Struve recommends firing this clay on an open shelf, no carbon necessary, to 1675 Farenheit for 2 hours for full sintering. I found that in my kiln, which is a paragon SC2, it sintered fully at 1650 for 2 hours. I ramped at full speed, and held for two hours and then crash cooled. The fired color is slightly grayer than fine silver clay, which is to be expected. I tested for sintering by dabbing the fired piece with water, which was not absorbed. I find that the clay shrinks between 10 and 11 percent when fired at 1650 for 2 hours.

I brushed the pieces with a stainless steel brush and tumbled for an hour. They came out of the tumbler with a beautiful shine. I then applied liver of sulfur patina and finished with a blue radial disk to achieve a satin finish. I love the final finish this clay provides.

Lisel Crowley

Rings are a great item for this new clay due to its excellent post fired strength. Each of these rings has a fine silver bezel cup attached.

Strength!!!!
This is what I am most excited about. The post fired strength of this clay is fantastic! I have long wanted to make cuffs out of metal clay, but did not feel fine silver would have the strength required. With EZ960, not only do the cuffs have the required strength, but I can form and fire them flat and bend them around a mandrel after firing. This allows me a lot of creative freedom when designing the cuff. I also created a variety of rings which I formed and fired flat and bent around a mandrel post firing. They were so easy to shape and finish and I am thrilled with the design possibilities. I have been wearing and testing both the cuffs and rings and find that they can handle a lot of use and abuse with no distortion or problems.

Lisel Crowley

These cuffs were formed and fired flat and then formed over a bracelet mandrel post firing.

Lisel Crowley

I have worn them to test their strength and they hold up beautifully.

Lisel Crowley

Here’s a close up of one of the rings I formed and fired flat and then shaped around a mandrel post firing.

Lisel Crowley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is another ring, without patina

Conclusion
This is proving to be  my new favorite clay. I love its working properties, the finish I can achieve and the strength it provides. I have long admired the genius of Bill Struve and the dedication of Cool tools to providing metal clay artists with the best tools and supplies to fuel their creative passion.

I have not been paid to write this review, nor was I paid to do the testing. I do believe in this product and feel it will provide you with endless creative possibillties. Enjoy. Here is a link to Cool Tools if you would like to order some clay for yourself.

Tutorials
I recently visited Cool Tools, where I filmed several project tutorials using EZ960. They will be released over the next few months. If you are on the Cool Tolls email list, you will receive a notification when they are available to view. I will also post a link on my facebook page and on my resources page on here on my website. I hope they will help you to expand your creative approach to metal clay in new ways. I always welcome feedback and questions. You can reach me at lisel33@sbcglobal.net.

June 16, 2016

Posted In: Creativity, New Products!, Product Spotlight

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New from Cool Tools….

Written by Diane Rein

New from Cool Tools
New Pliers! Choose from 3-Step, Bending/Forming, Half Round, Concave Round, Crimping and more.
Shop New Pliers
New Metal Blanks! Fun new shapes in Brass, Copper and Nickel Silver.
Shop Metal Blanks
Thompson Enamel Sampler Set – Start with this complete color sampler containing all 169 colors of Thompson medium temperature/medium expansion enamels.
Shop Sampler Set

June 8, 2016

Posted In: New Products!

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What’s in the Woods?

Written by Diane Rein

Sandhill Cranes
Here at Cool Tools there’s a wide variety of wildlife surrounding us. Here’s our local pair of Sandhill Cranes out for a stroll with their new colts. Baby Sandhill cranes are called colts because of their long, strong, well-developed legs. Video / Shop. Last Day..Spend $25.00 and get FREE Scratch Foam.

June 6, 2016

Posted In: Promotions

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Spend $25.00 and get FREE Scratch Foam

Written by Diane Rein

Spend $25.00 and get FREE Scratch Foam
Spend $25.00 or more and get free scratch foam! Perfect for making your own unique texture. Enter Code: “SCRATCH” in the coupon code box during checkout. Watch our video on how to use this versatile product. Offer ends June 6, 2016 at Midnight CDT.
Watch Video and Shop Here

June 3, 2016

Posted In: Free Video Projects, Promotions

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Product Feature Video: CoolSlip Anti-Stick Solution

Written by Diane Rein

Product Feature Video: CoolSlip Anti-Stick Solution
Check out the NEW CoolSlip product video HERE. Cool Tools CoolSlip is the first anti-stick product made just for metal clay and metal clay tools. Spray on textures and tools before use for crisp, stick-free impressions. Use as a spray or brush on.

May 31, 2016

Posted In: Product Spotlight

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Alcohol Ink on Polymer Clay

Written by Diane Rein

Alcohol Ink on Polymer Clay
We really enjoyed reading this blog post from the “PINK and GREEN MAMA” blog. It’s alway great to see young folks working with clay. See the original post HERE. Shop our alcohol Inks HERE.

ALCOHOL INK ON POLYMER CLAY EMBOSSED PENDANT TILES

This is one of those ideas that popped into my head randomly.

It was one of my “I wonder if this would actually work?” ideas…
turns out it did and does.
First we rolled out some white polymer clay
(Sculpey or Fimo from the craft store) and
rolled paper doilies into the clay to create lacy impressions.
We cut out shapes by hand with clay knife,
you could use cookie cutters too but ours seem to have disappeared!
We made small holes in the clay shapes so they could be
strung later as necklaces or hung on ribbon as ornaments.
We baked them in the oven according to the package directions
and allowed them to cool.
The next day, “E” (age 8.5) and I used my Adirondak brand alcohol inks
to dye the ornaments. This wasn’t a project for her little sister “C” (age 4.)
They’re messy and they stain everything,
“E” had the genius idea for us to wear surgical gloves.
I’ve been wanting to play with these inks ever since I first saw them
on the Artsyville blog with this great alcohol tile project.
They’re so fun and we plan to use them on future projects!
My first medallion in progress…
“E” working on one of her many (beautiful) tiles.
She’s a natural and came up with the prettiest color combinations.
“E” manipulating the ink on a clay tile with a small paintbrush.
Also her technique/idea. We didn’t read any tutorials or instructions,
we just kind of jumped in head first! : )
We worked on trays with paper towels so we wouldn’t stain the table.
These inks permanently stain non-porous surfaces so you have to use them with caution.
Our finished pendants, ready to string as necklaces or ornaments.
So many possibilities, I think you could have fun with
other stamps or letters to make embossed tags.
Happy Creating!
Fondly,
pink and green mama

May 24, 2016

Posted In: Creativity

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Free Shipping this Weekend!

Written by Diane Rein

Free Shipping this WeekendNow ’til Monday…Take advantage of FREE shipping. Stock up on the tools and supplies you need to keep creating! No minimum purchase amount required. All 50 U.S. states are eligible for free shipping. Enter the code: “MAY2016” in the coupon code box during checkout.

**Don’t forget to choose Free Shipping for the Shipping Method after entering the code.

Order today – free shipping ends Monday, May 23rd at midnight. Not valid on International orders.
SHOP HERE

May 20, 2016

Posted In: Promotions

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Throwback Thursday! Check out the “PMC 960” DIY video.

Written by Diane Rein

Check out the "PMC 960" DIY video.
Nothing beats the strength and shine of sterling silver, but sometimes, the firing schedules for PMC Sterling can be somewhat difficult. Combining PMC3 and PMC Sterling results in a new clay type that offers the best of both worlds. In this tool demo, learn how making PMC 960 is the perfect solution for strength and simple firing.
Shop for PMC Sterling here
Shop for PMC3 here
‪#‎CoolTools‬ ‪#‎JewelryDIY‬

May 19, 2016

Posted In: Free Video Projects

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New Video!

Written by Diane Rein

Setting Small Gemstones in Silver Metal Clay
Setting Small Gemstones in Silver Metal Clay by Valerie Bealle

Valerie Bealle, Metal Clay Artist and Instructor demonstrates three different methods to set small cubic zirconia in silver metal clay. In this video she uses PMC Flex along with 2mm cubic zirconias. Flex clay stays soft and pliable longer than other silver metal clay and allows the artist to make multiple bezel settings without the clay cracking and drying out.

Watch Video Here

May 18, 2016

Posted In: Free Video Projects

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