Christmas In July

For the first time, I think I understand “Christmas in July.”  I am teaching a class in late October and we’re making a Christmas ornament with metal clay.  So during the last days of July and throughout August, I’ve been working on the prototype.  There are some challenges!  The class kit contains only 20 grams of copper clay and my objective is to figure out how to make an ornament with that amount that you can actually see on the tree.

I’ve figured we need to keep the ornament at about four cards thick. Getting funky with different shapes can be a bit frustrating for the new clay-mates so I’m thinking a 4mm thick,  two inch round circle.  I haven’t really seen any “Christmas” designs on texture sheets so I’m using a mold of a cedar branch that I made with Easy Mold Silicone Putty. I may decide to include making the mold as part of the class.

So my metal clay ornament is drying and looks pretty nice with the cedar imprint, but I will have a bit of clay left.  We could do an ornamental bail for it,  a red bird, or a holly leaf with berries would be a great accent to it.  I don’t think there will be enough clay left  to squeeze out three holly leaves.  I think we’ll go with the bird. Oh wow, another new technique to learn, “how to form a bird from clay.”  The challenge is that the bird will be no larger than a dime, maybe not that big.  We can do this!  (For the under challenged, I could have some premade cardinal beads.)

So, with nimble fingers, I begin to shape away with my dot of Prometheus Metal  Clay to shape my bird.  My first bird looks more like a duck … back to the bench.  There is enough clay left for a bird and a small  bead.  The bird needs some color but we will not add enameling to this beginner class!  I think a red and black model car paint might do the trick.

Once the pieces are dried, they all need to be smoothed perfectly and gently brushed.  These will be fired in the kiln wrapped in a paper towel and a fiber blanket.   I’ll follow with the finished piece in the next post.



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