Silver Metal Clay Sunflower Brooch

In this project, Tara McGee from Raleigh, N.C., makes a clay stamp and uses it to create her precious metal clay silver sunflower brooch.

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Materials and Tools:

white stoneware clay
Precious Metal Clay (PMC)
clay tools (needle, carving tool, embossing tool)
kiln
2 jump rings
brooch pin
needle nose pliers
roller or pipe piece
paint brush
fingernail file
small hollow straw
scrubbing sponge
adhesive

Steps:

1. To make the stamp, take 1/2 lb. stoneware clay from the bag. Shape it into a square and smooth out any marks on the front and back, and cut with carving tool to a 2" x 2" square. Place it in sun until it becomes leather hard.

2. Once the clay is leather hard, it's time to carve the design. Use a dime to trace a center for the sunflower. With a combination of a needle, carving and embossing tools, draw a sunflower on the clay's surface while wiping the scrap clay away with the paintbrush.

3. On the back of the same stamp, carve a second design for the section of the brooch/pendant--the stem and leaves of the sunflower.

4. Divide 25 grams of PMC and, using the copper pipe, flatten both halves to 1/16 inch thick.

5. Press one half over the sunflower stamp, peal away, and carefully trim extra clay away from the sunflower design.

6. Press the other half of PMC over the stem and leaves design. Peal away and trim any excess PMC from the design.

7. Use a small straw to make a hole in both pieces for the jump rings. Set both pieces aside to dry.

8. Using a nail file, gently file away rough edges. Put both pieces into the kiln and fire to 1200 F degrees for 20 minutes.

9. Once kiln is cool, remove both pieces and clean residue with scrubbing sponge and water.

10. Using the pliers, open the two jump rings and put one through the sunflower pendant and one through the stem and leaf pendant. Join and close the jump rings.

11. Using an adhesive, attach the brooch pin to the back of the sterling silver piece and it should be ready to wear in 24 hours.

Web site: www.TaraMcGeePottery.com

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