Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I like to let the material tell me what it wants to become -- Kathy

Kathy of Mostly Stoneware never hesitates to share her expertise on clay-related technicalities, be it the firing schedule, or the special components of certain clay or clay tool reviews. Today, she opens up and talks about her clay, her life as an artist and her inspirations.

Why did you pick the name Mostly Stoneware/Mostly Silver?
I picked the name Mostly Stoneware for my shop because my “full time” job is creating functional pottery from stoneware and porcelain.

I briefly ventured into opening a second Etsy shop for my jewelry and thought I would stay consistent with my 2 shop titles. At the present time I do not have much listed there as I am busy making fall wholesale orders but I do plan to develop an inventory for that store (Mostly Silver) sometime later this year.

When did you first become interested in Metal Clay? How long have you been designing jewelry using Metal Clay?
I first became interested in trying metal clay when I saw an ad in a pottery periodical called Ceramics monthly about 15 years ago.  It was intriguing to think clay could fire into pure silver.  I ordered it directly from the manufacturer in Japan and all of the instructions were in Japanese.  Thank  goodness the material was much less expensive then, as there was a lot of trial and error.

Fine Silver Leaf Necklace by Mostly Stoneware

What was your first piece of Metal Clay jewelry?

My first piece of metal clay jewelry was a goddess pendant featuring all kinds of coils and curls, and a sculpted face. I think it was almost 50 g of clay, unthinkable for me now.

Would you tell us your creative process?
My creative process usually starts with porcelain clay, and I make the prototype for the metal clay piece I want to make.  I love to experiment with texture and the porcelain gives me a really good idea of the scale and proportion of the texture or carving on the finished metal clay piece.

Years ago the forms were quite complex and involved techniques that I had learned from sculpture or hand building. As the material became more and more expensive I must admit my designs became simpler and more “saleable”. I live in a small Canadian prairie city where most people prefer to buy their jewelry from larger chain stores so I have to be careful with the amount of material I use in each piece unless it’s for a very special person or a custom order.

I think it is that magical connection of human hand, earth, and fire that has been entrancing people for centuries that draws me to the process and keeps me wanting to learn more and more. -- Kathy

What inspires you?
I love the rustic and natural. I like to let the material tell me what it wants to become.

I am inspired by the fabulous work I see others create.  I love natural forms and I love textures.  Often you will find me on a walk with a piece of wet clay in a baggie so that I can take an imprint of that texture to use in my designs.

I’m in awe of those people who take the time to learn and experiment with complex forms, I can do them in my pottery work, but translating them into the tiny forms that are metal clay is quite a complex process.

Pottery Utensil Holder by Mostly Stoneware

What are the major challenges when creating metal clay jewelry?
My major challenge at the present time is deciding where to focus my efforts.  I need to work on skill development to make more complex forms. Cost of my preferred material, silver, makes it necessary for me to explore combinations of working with sheet silver and metalsmithing techniques.

What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay?
I love the immediacy.  With the pottery I have to wait until I have about 100 pieces of pottery to fire before I can get any feedback about my process. With the metal clays I can see the fruits of my labour in hours.

What is the biggest mistake you've ever made? What did you learn from it?
I’ve made lots of mistakes over the years, the first was not knowing a firing temperature for the material.  I have a kiln shelf that still sits in my studio with little blobs of molten silver stuck to it to remind me I’m very human and very fallible.

Why did you design the giveaway piece? What is special about your giveaway piece?
I designed the giveaway piece as an experiment to see how copper metal clay would stand up to the enamel process, it was inspired by the recent exploration of Mars and my vision of how Mars might look if I were able to see the surface.

Mars Exploration Jewelry Set by Mostly Stoneware

A lucky person will win the beautiful Mars Exploration jewelry set. To enter our blog giveaway, please follow these 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 September 1st. Good luck!


  1. wonderful to read about your process Kathy :)

  2. Great blog post! I posted on my facebook page and Metal clay heads page!

  3. Great interview Kathy! I love that set, such warm colors! I share on our page and mine.

  4. I see the magic connection too. Lovely pieces.

  5. What a great interview! Kathy is a wealth of information about clays, kilns and firing. I love your utensil holder!