In this tutorial you will learn how to use simple wire coiling and a manufactured frame, and how to cut and shape clay to fit nicely and stay securely in place. If you don't have clay cutters in the same size and shape as your frame, I'll show you how to make and use a template. You do not have to be a highly experienced clayer to do this project.
You do NOT have to be an experienced wire wrangler!! I will teach you how to do that part, including trouble-shooting when the wire is not cooperative.
For teaching, I'm using a sheet of mica shift clay for the project. You can use any sheeted clay you like. You can use a cane slice, marbled clay, mokume gane, textured clay or anything you have on hand that you don't want to send to the scrap pile. If you want to use mica shift clay, but don't know how, I have a free lesson for that posted on this site.
Once your clay and wire piece is complete, you can supplement with dangles of your choice. This project does not teach how to make the dangles. There are free instructions for that posted at the sister site, Jewelrylessons.com.
I've rated this as an intermediate level project on the assumption that most clay people have not done very much wire work, so that will be new and challenging. The clay work is beginner level since you get to choose what you use.
If you want to do some embellishment such as the little sculpted elements shown on my silver sample, do it before you bake the piece. Embellishment is NOT taught.
I got the manufactured frames from Fire Mountain Gems. They are plated and not very expensive. They are also a good size in that they work well as small pendants, but they are not too big to be earrings. The frames come in different shapes. Each shape requires a different amount of wire. The measurements I give are for that specific teardrop. If you use different shapes or sizes, you may need more or less wire. If you use a different gauge wire, you will need more or less wire. That's my only caveate!
This tutorial has 55 pictures to help you create a great project and solve any problems you might encounter along the way.
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