Artist Project Series: Little Red School House Ring by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Written by Rhonda Rein

Our tenth artist for the Artist Project Series with Creative Fire using EZ960® Sterling Silver Metal Clay is Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, the promotor, write and editor for Creative Fire. Jeannette is also a teacher who holds a Master’s degree in education as well as several Bachelor’s degree’s in history and arts.

Jeannette was inspired to create this ring by a red schoolhouse in rural Ontario.  The school house was built in 1876 and captured her heart as a child.

Follow along and learn Jeannette’s process step by step for making this beautiful piece as well as more about Jeannette Froese LeBlanc and the history around this cherished school house here.

 

December 7, 2017

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Wings ‘n Things Class with Carol Douglas

Written by Deb DeWolff

A big, hearty thank you to our visiting artist, Carol Douglas, for traveling across the pond (from the UK) to be with us this past weekend, November 11 and 12, 2017. Wings and Things was the focus of the class. Carol is a warm, generous and fun person with an extensive knowledge of metal clay as it pertains to jewelry and sculpture.

Carol Douglas working her magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Struve, the creator of FS999
Lacey-Ann Struve

 

 

 

Additionally, we were thrilled to have Bill and Lacey-Ann Struve attend the class. The class used FS999™ Fine Silver Clay as the medium which is the latest wonderful product from Metal Adventures Inc.

To get our creative juices flowing, Carol led us all on a meditation, taking us on a journey intended to bring images into our minds of what we might want to create, whether it was a butterfly or moth or creature from our own imaginations. The class was not “project oriented,” but rather each of us were encouraged to create our own story and wing project with the inspirations that had come to us during the meditation.

She talked extensively about her creative process, how she makes wings for her creatures, and showed us lots of tips and tricks for working with metal clay. She helped us think in a 3D perspective regarding the visual aspect of creatures with wings.

From then on, we each worked independently with plenty of encouragement and help from Carol. Each student’s work showed their individuality and the spark that had come to them during the meditation. There were beginners as well as seasoned metal clay artists in the class and Carol was graciously attentive to each student based on their experience. Questions were welcomed, problems were solved, much fun and laughter ensued, and all of us worked diligently.

 

 

I’m having fun making!
DD, Cool Tools’ purchaser – she has recently developed a passion for metal clay!

November 16, 2017

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Artist Project Series: Penannular Brooch by Julia Rai

Written by Rhonda Rein

 

Our ninth artist for the Artist Project Series with Creative Fire using EZ960® Sterling Silver Metal Clay is Julia Rai, an award winning artist, teacher and writer. She is well known in the international metal clay community.

Julia explains, “Penannular style brooches have been used to fasten clothing since the late Iron Age. This style of brooch has a loop of metal with terminals or flattened ends and a moveable pin. The pin is pushed through the fabric and the end of the ring goes under the sharp end of the pin. The ring is then turned locking the pin in place. There are a wide variety of designs for the terminals of historical penannular brooches and this is where the fun comes in on this modern take on an ancient design. I have used a natural theme for the hoop, texturing it to resemble bark. The terminals use pod, fungi and lichen forms and this is echoed on the curve of the pin.”

 

Follow along and learn Julia’s process step by step for making this beautiful piece as well as more about Julia Rai here.

November 9, 2017

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Skulls Earrings by Annie Kilborn

Written by Annie Kilborn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Friday the 13th! The perfect day to learn from Annie Kilborn on how to create these unique Skulls Earrings! These earrings are Annie’s FIRST metal clay project she has done.

 

Materials:

FS999™ Fine Silver Clay 

Cubic Zirconia – Jet Black – Cabochon Round – Checkerboard – 6mm (2 Packs)

Fine Silver Bezel Cup – Plain Round 6mm 

Cool Tools Patina Gel – Live of Sulfur in Gel Form 

 

Tools:

Antique Mold – Toxic

Makin’s Professional Ultimate Clay Extruder 

Bezel Roller 

Curved Burnisher – Slim

Tuff Cards Teflon Project Cards

Cool Tools Clayboard Non-stick Work Surface 9″ x 9″

Cool Slip Anti-Stick Solution

Cool Tools Clay Thickness Rolling Frames

Ultimate Non-Stick Roller – 11″ Length

 

Making the Skulls:

Roll out a slab of FS999™ Fine Silver clay 4 cards thick. Lightly cover the Antique Mold “Toxic,” a skull and crossbones image with the Cool Slip. Gently press the slab into the Antique Mold. You will just use the skull area of the mold, so the excess clay can be cut away and used for the next skull pressing. Before removing the skull from the mold, let the clay set dry slightly so it will keep its shape and not distort when removing from the mold.  Once removed from the mold, take the extra clay off from around the skull area.  Allow it to dry. You will need to make six skulls. Once they are dry refine by sanding the edges and sanding flat spots on the back.

Making Earring Wires:

This pair of earrings was created for a stretched ear. Use the Makin’s Professional Ultimate Clay Extruder with a round template to get a long coil for the earring wires.  Make a template on a piece of paper of the shape that you want the earring wire to take. Include the area in which the skulls and stones will be placed. The backside of these pieces will attach to the wire. Next, take the coil and form it to the shape created on the paper. Then repeat, so you have the same shape wire for both earrings. Let them dry. Once they are dry, taper one of the ends of both wires. This will be the end that feeds through the ear.  Sand down a flat spot on the wire where the skulls and stones will attach.

Making the Settings for the Stones:

Get four 6mm Fine Silver Bezels Cups and four 6mm Jet Black Cubic Zirconia Round Cabochons with the Checkerboard pattern. Sand down the tops of the bezel cups to fit the stones. Once you have a good fit, set the stones in the cups using a bezel roller to rock over the walls of the cup to hold the stone. Then use a curved burnisher to smooth out the sides of the bezel once the stone is set. Rough up the back of the bezel cups so that you will get a good bond to the clay when firing.

Assembling the Elements:

Create a clay slip by adding water to a small amount of the FS999 fine silver clay.  Lightly, brush on some water to the dried skulls and wire where you want them to join.  Add slip to both parts where they will connect. Then connect with gentle pressure. Add the stones by adding slip to the back of the bezels and join to the slipped area of the wire. Repeat until all the skulls and gems are attached to the wire.  Allow to dry. Once it is dry, do all final sanding and refining. Once refined fire following the firing directions for FS999 fine silver clay.

Surface Finishing Techniques:

Once the earrings are fired and have cooled, clean with a brass brush, soap and water. Once they are clean, tumble them.  After tumbling, patina with Cool Tools Patina Gel to a dark black patina.  Then buff back the patina to reveal the wonderful detail in the earrings.

 

 

 

October 13, 2017

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Artist Project Series: Kim Nogueira

Written by Diane Rein

Our seventh artist for the Artist Project Series with Creative Fire using EZ960® Sterling Silver Metal Clay is Kim Nogueira, an automaton maker and art jeweller from the Virgin Islands. Her jewelry is full of old fashioned cranks and levers, adding individuality to every piece. Follow along and learn her process step by step for making this beautiful, advanced piece, as well as more about Kim Nogueira here.

Check out Kim’s website here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2017

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Deb DeWolff: EZ960® Leaf Earrings

Written by Rhonda Rein

Check out these earrings created by Deb DeWolff! Made with EZ960 Sterling Silver Clay and polymer clay, these are bezel inlaid with polymer leaf cane. Using a jig she made from polymer clay, she created these beautiful bezels with EZ960. The backs are textured with the Cool Tools Rollable Texture Tile – Flower Party. Learn how to create polymer leaf canes by watching the video here. 

May 22, 2017

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Artist Project Series: Iwona Tamborska

Written by Rhonda Rein

Iwona_Tamborska
Our fifth artist for the Artist Project Series with Creative Fire using EZ960® Sterling Silver Metal Clay is Iwona Tamborska, a Polish artist and member of the Goldsmithing Artists Association. Her project is quite advanced, but all artists will still learn something new. Iwona’s process includes drawing out a detailed plan, applying Gilders Paste, setting CZs and creating hollow forms. Follow along and learn this process step by step, as well as more about Iwona Tamborska here.

April 4, 2017

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EZ960® Sterling Silver Clay Update

Written by Alan Rein

Hello everyone,

We recently updated our EZ960 firing instructions and our Gemstone Firing Guide to accommodate those artists that are firing the metal clay for extended hold times. The original firing schedule for EZ960 has not changed:

1675F for 2 hours
1700F for 1 Hour
1725F for 15 minutes

However, we have added to this schedule:
1675F for 3 or 4 hours – recommended for bending post-firing.

We have found through experience, trial and error, and then testing with a pyrometer, that most kilns are firing properly and at the stated temperatures. There are some kilns, however, that can or do fire somewhat lower than what the digital display states. This can be due to several reasons (age and use of the kiln being one of them). Regardless, and because of lower firing temperatures, some artists have experienced, when bending post-firing, cracking and even breakage of their Sterling Silver pieces after firing at the recommended firing times and temperatures. By testing with a pyrometer, we have found that these problems are due to an under-firing kiln. That being the case, for those artists who wish to bend the metal post-firing, we recommend firing for 3 or 4 hours at the 1675F temperature. This longer firing time, as simple as it is, has proven to be an excellent insurance policy to ensure the clay is completely sintered, and then, can withstand the additional rigors of bending post-firing- this is especially true for underperforming kilns or for those that may have experienced cracking or breakage when bending.
Having said that, the next question was, logically, “what about co-firing cubic zirconia and lab created gemstones at this temperature (1675F) for the longer hold time of 4 hours?” Can they take the heat for an additional 2 hours? Well, we tested every color and type of cz and lab created gemstone in our inventory, and the answer is…. if the gemstone can tolerate 2 hours at 1675F (open shelf, no carbon), it can tolerate 4 hours at 1675F (open shelf, no carbon). One exception being the golden topaz – it turned slightly darker, but it did not burn, nor did it change in the quality of the hue.

We have updated our Gemstone Firing Guide to reflect this new data. Also see below photos of the gemstones, before and after their 1675F firing on an open shelf for 4 hours.

All of this is good news for those who wish to co-fire gemstones with EZ960 using the technique that Lis-el Crowley pioneered and uses to her advantage – forming and firing the clay flat, and then bending the metal around a mandrel post-firing to create adjustable rings and cuff bracelets.

 

Alan Rein, Owner

Cool Tools

1675 GEM FIRING CZ Firing Gemstones and LABs 1675 open shelf 4hr

March 24, 2017

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Artist Project Series: Cindy Miller

Written by Rhonda Rein

cindy-miller-owl-pendant-cover-shot-2a-975x1300

We are happy to share the second featured artist for “The Artist Project Series” by Creative Fire. This series features 12 artist who are letting us observe into their studio while they create a piece of art using EZ960™ Sterling Silver Clay.

The second artist is Cindy Miller, a full-time studio artist from Alabama. She has created a vivid, beautiful owl pendant, while showing her process step by step.

To view this process and an interview with Cindy Miller by UK artist Julia Rai, click here.

December 14, 2016

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acidAgateannie kilbornantique moldartistbead & Buttom showbead showbezelbraceletbrassBRONZclaybronzebronze claybroochcabachonscarol douglascarvingchamplevecharm braceletchristmas earringsclayclay moldclay templatesclay thickness rolling framescloisonnecontestcontest winnercontest winntercool toolscool tools productscoppercopper claycopper wireCOPPRclaycoralcreating jewelrycreativecreative fireCreativitycrowleyCubic Zirconiadeb dewolffDichroic Gemsdiydiy jewelryearringsenamelenamelingenamelsetchetchingez 960ez96 sterling silver clayEZ960ez960 clayez960 sterling silver clayferro sunshinefine silverfine silver clayfiring guidefiring metal clayfiring stonesfive star metal clayfoamfossilFREE shippingfs 999fs999garnetgauge earringsgemstonegemstonesgordon uyeharagraphitehadar's clayhalloween jewelryholidayhow to videojan harrelljeannette foese leblancjewelryjewelry Artistjewelry diyjewelry makingjewelry showjewelry technique videosjewelry techniquesjulia raikilnkim nogueirakitleaf caneliselmake your own ringmetalmetal claymetal clay artistmetal clay jewelrymetal clay kitsmetal clay projectmetal clay success storymetal clay toolsmetal magic silver clayMetal Stampingmetalsmithmetalsmithingnatural gemstonesnecklaceone firePalmwoodpam eastpmcpmc sterlingpolymer clayPolymer Clay Productspreciousprecious metal clayPromotionpush moldringrivetingschool housescratchsheetsilversilver claysilver clay moldsingle fireskull earringssolderingss claysterling silversterling silver claysterling silver metal claysunshine enamelthe artist project seriestim mccreightToolswater firing methodwhat's in the Woods?wingswings and thingswirexmas

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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