Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
This week’s winner is AJ! Congratulations, AJ! You’re the winner of a Humblebeads faux bois bead! Please send your postal address to the ABS Suggestion Box and Heather at Humblebeads will send your faux bois bead!
Today’s Studio Tour is with Lynn Davis. Let’s see what’s going on in the LLYYNN studio….
Hi, welcome, it’s hot in the studio and not just because of the summer weather! I’ve been playing with various forms of heat this week, using the butane torch to heat things up to the melting point and the kiln has been firing a lot lately, as some fresh materials and old favorites are coming together in new ways.
I was fortunate recently to take a one-day workshop with Kate McKinnon using silver metal clay to create structural clasps and components. It got me back into using the silver metal clay after several years away from it, and made me want to combine it with the glass beads I’ve been working on recently.
The main inspiration and idea is to take the simple closure, the clasp that usually hides behind the neck, very necessary but unremarkable, and find ways to make it the central focal piece of the jewelry design. To use glass or silver to make a closure that is meant to be seen first, an integral part of the design. Functional but very visible and an important part of the finished jewelry piece.
Here is a sample of a new clasp design, the silver metal clay circle with fused fine silver links, and the double swan heads forming the hook for the clasp.
All of the components in the clasp are pure fine silver (.999) and yet work hardened to take the handling a jewelry closure has to stand up against and continue to hold tight!
Kate McKinnon provided a lot of information about how to strengthen the silver metal clay using firing techniques and silversmithing methods to make it structurally sound for the hardworking pieces like toggle bars, clasps and chain. Not just for decoration, because closures and clasps take a lot of wear and tear and need to be strong enough to hold up for a lifetime.
Here’s a fused glass word bead, combined with a fine silver toggle bar to be used as the closure to the design as well as a focal bead.
The fine silver (.999) pure toggle fits through the hole in the fused glass bead, making it both a decoration and the functional clasp in the necklace. Fittingly, the word fused into the glass bead is ‘I-N-S-P-I-R-E’ and I hope it inspires a beautiful jewelry design.
These round metal clay circles can be a clasp, part of a chain or just ornamental. They have potential to be used in one design for all three functions, if that works best! Having a lot of fun with the silver and the glass and using them together.
So I’m turning on the studio fans, trying to keep cool while I’m turning up the heat in the kiln, to make chains, headpins, clasps and toggles out of silver and glass in the mid-summer heat.
That leads me to today’s question, how would you make a clasp the centerpiece of your design instead of hidden in the back of the jewelry, behind the wearer’s neck and out of sight? Do you feature your closures as part of your design, making them yourself using beading techniques? One random comment will win a pair of silver metal clay circle links!