This week has been about playing with my little kiln and making components for earrings. I had a few packs of Art Clay Silver and thought it was time I used them while I had a couple of days off from the day job.
I wrote about the medium a long time ago, when I first went to a class, and it was just as much fun playing with the clay this week as it was when I was first enthused by it. Here are some of the earrings I made with the finished silver components.
I made a few pieces, dried them out on a heated tray and then decided I didn't like them and reconstituted the clay to make another design. I figured it was better to scrap the design at the clay stage when it could be reused, rather than to carry on foolishly, hoping for the best and having to scrap it eventually when it came out of the kiln.
The air was blue around my head. However, by the time I finished I was working like a well oiled machine and I ended up with these five pairs of earring components that I was happy with and could fire in the kiln. I think the earrings are pretty, don't you?
Until it was widely realised that mercury was poisonous, it was used in the Near East and in China since as early as the Song dynasty, where it was used in colouring lacquerware and in cosmetics. Imagine the furore when the ladies found that they were literally 'dying to look beautiful'. It was bad enough when they couldn't walk because their feet were bound and deformed, but it must have been even worse when the ladies couldn't even lie indolently on their chaise - longues, looking beautiful in their red lippie and rouge for fear of doing themselves a mischief. Where was Max Factor in those days?? He would've made a killing (sorry, couldn't resist it)!
In the modern jewelry industry, the toxic pigment is replaced by a resin-based polymer that approximates the appearance of pigmented lacquer.