Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays to Sweetleaf Sisterz!

Sweetleaf Sisterz won our December blog giveaway and will receive the very pretty and sweet "Peggy Necklace" handcrafted by Lisa of Willowandme!

Please stay tuned for our upcoming January team challenge "My Favorite Place" and our next blog giveaway in February. Happy Holidays to everyone from the MCHs!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Turning Nature Into a Lifetime Treasure

Lisa of Willowandme - December Featured Artist and Blog Giveaway

Paralegal and jewelry artist could be two extremely different professions. One requires endless research and patience on the legal matters. The other demands infinite imagination. Both call for dedication and passion. How did Lisa transit from one to the other?

Why did you pick the name Willowandme?
When I first started making jewelry, it was beaded jewelry and only as a hobby. I had recently gotten a new kitten, Willow, and she spent all her time with me, no matter what I was doing, including when I was beading. So when I gave jewelry as gifts I would sign the card “from Willow and Lisa”. When I made the decision to begin selling my jewelry, the choice for a name seemed natural.

When did you first become interested in Metal Clay? How long have you been designing jewelry using Metal Clay?
I first heard of metal clay when I was beading and vociferously reading all kinds of magazines and books to learn new techniques. In 2006 I went to the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and took a beginner’s PMC class, among other classes, and I was hooked. Unfortunately, I must have missed the part about firing the clay without a kiln and went home a bit depressed because I couldn’t afford a kiln. I continued to read about it, however, and at some point I stumbled on an article about alternative firing techniques.

I asked for (and received) a Hot Pot for Christmas that year and quickly progressed to a Speedfire Cone and began making simple PMC pieces. As is usual with me, I purchased books and read online tutorials to learn techniques and began experimenting with things like resin and dimensional shapes. In 2009 I received my Rio Certification after taking a certification class with Tim McCreight.

What was your first piece of Metal Clay jewelry?
When I asked for the Hot Pot for Christmas, I also ordered a rubber stamp with my logo, a Siamese cat wearing a necklace. My first piece, other than those I made in my first class, was the first Willow necklace, which has proved to be a popular item. I now sell the pendants, giving a portion of the proceeds to the animal related charity of the buyer’s choice.

Would you tell us your creative process?
Much of my creative process begins in my head. I will get an idea for a piece or want to try a new technique and I will work it out a bit in my head for a while before trying it. Many times I am not sure what I will make until I start looking through my tools and textures. Other times the piece sort of “makes itself” as I am working with the clay and doesn’t come out at all as I originally envisioned.

I have only recently begun sketching my pieces out a bit as I begin making more complicated pieces, but I don’t always do this. I also try to record my ideas now because I have so many running around in my head, I sometimes forget them if I don’t sketch them out or make some notes.

What inspires you?
The easy answer is nature and natural things, but the truth is I get inspiration from many places. Lately, I am very interested in vessels, hidden objects and pieces with moving parts, so often when I see something mechanical, even totally unrelated to jewelry, I will examine it to see how I could translate that into a silver piece.

What are the major challenges when creating metal clay jewelry?
I believe my biggest challenge is the fact that I’m not a trained jeweler or metalsmith, nor have I had any artistic or design education. I came to jewelry making from a totally different background (I was a paralegal for many years). I think that may hold me back in a self-confidence way. In addition, it often means lots of research before starting a new technique. Even some very simple techniques like cutting metal or fabrication are (or were) foreign to me. I am an obsessive researcher, sometimes overly so, and tend to bombard myself with articles and books on techniques before trying something.

What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay?
Being able to transfer something impermanent like a flower or leaf into a piece of silver that will last many lifetimes. As far as the process itself, it still captivates and excites me, especially the moment when I take my pieces out of the kiln and what was originally a lump of grayish clay has magically become silver.

What is your greatest ambition as a Metal Clay artist?
I would like my business to be able to be financially independent. In addition, I would like to further my creativity process. Achievement of professional credentials has always been important to me and I have recently begun the journey through the Metal Clay Registry program. The process is daunting, especially considering those who have already attained levels in the program, but it is my hope to someday be able to say I have reached that goal.

As far as bragging goes, I think my favorite pieces have been my most challenging:

My pussywillow pieces. These pieces were the first time I really stepped outside the box to try something a bit different. Most pussywillow jewelry I saw used pearls, but I wanted the look to be more natural and soft and decided to have a friend make me some needle felted wool bits for the pussywillows.

My photo album pendant. There are a lot of firsts in this piece. It was my first hinge and the first post-firing stone I set (it was originally a different stone, but I later changed it to the cz because I didn’t like the original one). It was the first piece that required several steps firing then constructing fired pieces together. I like instant gratification with pieces so this took a lot of patience to finish. Many months went into the planning of this piece as I had wanted to tackle a hinge for a while.

Why did you design the giveaway piece? What is special about your giveaway piece?
My giveaway piece is entitled the “Peggy Necklace” and is named for a good friend of mine who is on the Etsy Maine Team with me. She and many others on the Maine Team were very supportive of my wanting to teach and there were several Maine Teamers in my first class. The pendant was made using a rubber stamp I carved for the first PMC class I taught. I think it’s important to teach students how to make their own textures. It makes the piece even more special when you make everything, including the texture.

In order to win Lisa's beautiful pendant, here are the rules:

Every person is eligible to enter the blog giveaway with up to FOUR (4) entries. How can you get an entry? You can do any of the following and then let us know that by leaving a comment under this feature so we can keep track.

1. Follow our blog = 1 entry
2. Check out featured artist and post favorite piece on the blog = 1 entry
3. Heart featured artist’s shop = 1 entry
4. Follow featured artist on Facebook = 1 entry
5. Make a purchase = 2 entries
6. Refer a friend = 1 entry
7. Tweet about the giveaway using key word metalclayheads = 1 entry
8. Share the Metal Clay Heads blog giveaway link on FB (Go to and click Share) = 1 entry
9. If you voted and commented on our last challenge = 1 entry

The giveaway will run for two weeks. We will announce the winner on December 17th. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Celebrating the Holidays with Fabulous Deals!

Happy Holidays from the Metal Clay Heads! We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the upcoming Holidays and to express gratitude to our wonderful customers with fabulous deals this coming Black Friday to Cyber Monday (November 25th to 29th). Participating members are offering free shipping and/or various discount on their handmade arts. Check them out today and don’t miss out! Please refer to the list at the end of this post for codes and details.

Here is a showcase of the feature item from participated members, enjoy!

Use Code: Details
Free shipping
adornedbyrobin XMAS2010 20% off
Free shipping
DaVoria metalclay Free shipping + 20% off
DestinysCreations Gobblegobble Free shipping + 10% off for all orders
over $30
envydesignsjewelry BLACKFRI10 Free shipping + 10% off
erinelizabeth Thanks10 Free shipping + 10% off
Free shipping + up to 20% certain
Free shipping
GSCreations MCHBLK10 Free shipping within the U.S. + 10%
15% off
InMyOwnBackyard holidayfrenzy Free shipping within the U.S. + 10%
jewelflyt MCHBLK10 Free shipping + 10% off
LizardsJewelry blackcyber Free Priority insured mail + 10% off
Free shipping within the U.S.
mangosteenjewelry PLAIDFRI 10% off
mybrownwren wren10 Free shipping within the U.S. + 10%
Free shipping + 10% off anything in
the store.
OxOriginalArtJewelry THGVGWKND 15% off
Seavbeach Gobblegobble Free shipping + 10% off next purchase
SilverBlueberry BLFRIDAYMCH 20% off entire store
SilverWishes silver10 Free shipping + 10% off
somethingxtraspecial SXSCyberwkend 10% off
sophistiquejewelry TurkeyDay20 Free Shipping + 20% off entire store
SweetleafSisterz Sweetleaf10 Free shipping + 10% off
Free shipping + 10% off

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lynn Cobb: Saul Bell Award Finalist

We have many talented and award-winning members on our Metal Clay Heads Team and it's always so exciting to "talk" to those about whom I have read or whose work I have seen in books.  I love to say I know these people!  One of our newest members is Lynn Cobb, who recently announced that she is a finalist for the 2011 Saul Bell Design Award in the Metal Clay Division for this beautiful Fine Silver Flower.

Photo by George Post
Lynn has been working with PMC for about six years.  Her background is in painting (mostly abstracts with acrylics) and polymer clay jewelry and she says the transition to PMC was a natural one for her.  She has always loved abstract, sensual, flowing forms and continued using them in her PMC work. 

The inspiration for her beautiful flowers is best left in Lynn's own words:

Of course as with most of us, I have made plenty of silver leaves by building up layers of paste on the back of actual leaves. They sometimes seem a bit trite perhaps, and yet I have been able to keep a steady flow of these flowing out of the booth at craft fairs. One day, I had a group of ginkgo leaves that I had not yet fired. When completely dry, the actual leaves pop right off the clay, so I began to play with arranging the leaves into a flower and realized that I could form them by using a small lump to hold them together, I began with two leaves and added as I went along, after each addition had completely dried. I added tiny balls of silver clay or slithery forms to draw the eye into the center of the flowers. (I add gold by painting gold paste on to the unfired silver, 2 layers before firing and another 2 layers, torch fired after the whole piece has been kiln fired.)
After I finished the first few flowers, I realized that I had created these sensual flowers that brought forth the beauty of Georgia O'Keeffe's spectacular flower paintings in three dimensional pieces of jewelry. I have been very strongly influenced by her flowers that just pulsate on the canvas.  I also love the work of Judy Chicago, particularly The Dinner Party which, you may know, was an installation of dinner plates and place "mats" representing 99 women from his(her)story. These plates in some cases were painted flowers and others were far more representational, in three dimensions, of a woman's own flower, her vulva. Not in the least bit vulgar, Chicago's work was meant to show the power of women's art and craft and indeed, women's bodies. This work was done at a time when women artists were beginning to demand that the male dominated art community exhibit art done by women. And, to demand that women's art be accepted equally with art done by men and that women's art is as legitimate as men's, regardless of the subject matter, materials used and style.
All of this has been brewing within me, as an artist for the last 30 years. I feel that with metal clay, I have finally found the medium that allows me to express myself, in a way that feels very authentic and this flower series, I would like to think, is my own contribution to women's art. Our art, often relegated to the back of the gallery in the past, has begun to truly flower within the art community.
It is no surprise to me that a majority of metal clay artists are women. We have always been drawn to craft, art with function: needlecraft, pottery, jewelry. We have added beauty to everyday items throughout the millennia and we, as women, should be proud of our heritage and continue to create real art as we see fit, whether to adorn ourselves, our homes or gallery walls!
 Lynn has made other beautiful flowers in this series as well: 

Photo by George Post

Lynn is a Certified PMC Artisan, Level 2, and is currently working toward the Metal Clay Masters Registry professional development program.   Her work has appeared in Metal Clay Beads by Barbara Becker Simon, Jewelry, the 'zine by Catherine Witherell, the 4th PMC Guild Annual and in Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop, by Mary Hettmansperger.

Lynn lives in the San Francisco Bay area and teaches classes in PMC.  Her work can be seen in her Etsy shop as well as at fine craft shows in the Bay area and at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Beginnings Challenge Winner

Our winner is Jennifer of Envydesignsjewelry! Her Phoenix from the Ashes Pendant is totally amazing and well-deserved to win!

Twig and Buds Earrings by FacciaFelice came in second and the Growth Pendant by Sophistiquejewelry came in third.

We've a total of 108 votes, thank you for your participation. And the one who post a comment will be entered into our December blog giveaway featuring Willow and Me. Please stay tuned!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November Challenge - New Beginnings

Every other month, we challenge our members to think outside of the box and create a unique metal clay piece. This month challenge is "New Beginnings" chosen by last challenge winner Ghislaine of GSCreations. The followings are artistic expression and interpretation of the theme by our members.

Please cast your vote on the right column; and if you post a comment, you will be automatically entered into our December blog giveaway.

New Beginnings Pendant by Mybrownwren

This cross represents new beginnings in my work and in my life. The embellishments are made with pmc paper - a process that I just recently attempted at my PMC certification class. [more]

Closeness Pendant by

A new beginning - innocence to maturity and the close bond that bind them.

New Beginnings Bracelet by SilverBlueberry

New beginnings was interpreted as supernovae, old stars that explode to generate new ones. The supernovae shown are painted after real examples. [more...]

Growth Pendant by Sophistiquejewelry

Meg says, "I feel the image of a tiny fern just beginning to unravel fits the theme of "New Beginnings" perfectly. It's also a nice reminder that Spring will come again, something to hold us through the winter ahead. :)"

Phoenix from the Ashes Pendant by Envydesignsjewelry

The phoenix rises from the ashes to be reborn again and again. A constant cycle of renewal. [more...]

New Beginnings Pendant by SilverSirenDesignS

It is a miniature copy of a statue I got for my husband the first year we met. We went to a lot of art fairs and rock & gems shows and these African couple statues were every where. That year was the beginning of a new life for me and when I wear it, I can remember to make each day a day for renewed love.

Twig and Buds Earrings by FaccaFelice

Buds are the symbol of new start, a new beginning. These twig and buds earrings represent hope. [more...]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Karen is our winner!

Thanks everyone for entering our October blog giveaway!

Karen of Purplecat is our winner! She won the beautiful earrings from Jennifer of Envy Designs!

Our next blog giveaway will start early December, in the mean time check out Jennifer gorgeous jewelry here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Envy Designs - Our October Featured Artist and Blog Giveaway

From left to right: Scales of Justice - fine silver libra necklace; Clara - fine silver lotus, pearl necklace; and Amethyst necklace. All beautifully handmade by Jennifer.

Our featured artist of October is Jennifer of Envy Designs. Her one of a kind jewelry is designed and handcrafted using only the best gemstones, sterling or find silver, gold-filled or vermeil green metals. Her style is both elegant and glamorous. Following is a short interview with Jennifer.

When did you first become interested in Metal Clay? How long have you been designing jewelry using Metal Clay?
I had seen the beautiful things people were making in magazines, and then noticed that my local bead store was offering classes. I signed up and have never looked back! I have been incorporating metal clay in my gemstone and pearl jewelry for about 3 years now.

What was your first piece of Metal Clay jewelry?
It was a diamond shaped pendant set with orange CZ's and rubies, and I strung it on a strand of peach freshwater keishi pearls. I still wear it!

What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay?
It has so many possibilities! If you can think it up, you can do it!

Would you tell us your creative process?
I usually come up with ideas while I am falling asleep! If I can remember them when I wake up, I sketch the ideas out and refine them, and then go for it, all while rocking out to some heavy tunes!

What inspires you?

I am inspired by a great many things: Paintings, mythology, music, and movies. I tend to be moved by Victorian and Art Nouveau art and jewelry. I am also greatly inspired by my fabulously talented Metal Clay Heads!

Jennifer is giving away this pair of unique, organic and pretty Fine Silver Leaf earrings to a lucky winner this month! Made from ArtClay silver metal clay, these OOAK little leaf earrings are set with clear cubic zirconium and lab created rubies. These earrings are your must have for this Fall/Winter season!

So here are the rules:

Every person is eligible to enter the blog giveaway with up to FOUR (4) entries. How can you get an entry? You can do any of the following and then let us know that by leaving a comment under this feature so we can keep track.

1. Follow our blog = 1 entry
2. Check out featured artist and post favorite piece on the blog = 1 entry
3. Heart featured artist’s shop = 1 entry
4. Follow featured artist on Facebook = 1 entry
5. Make a purchase = 2 entries
6. Refer a friend = 1 entry
7. Tweet about the giveaway using key word metalclayheads = 1 entry
8. Share the Metal Clay Heads blog giveaway link on FB (Go to and click Share) = 1 entry
9. If you voted and commented on our last challenge = 1 entry

The giveaway will run for two weeks. We will announce the winner on October 25th. Good luck!