Monday, September 17, 2012

The possibilities with Metal Clay are endless - Harriet

Our blog feature artist for September is Harriet from HGWjewelrydesigns. Harriet enjoys working with a variety of materials, including gemstones, pearls, wire, copper and brass. She uses fine and sterling silver to create her unique jewelry. Harriet is interested in making bold pieces with sophisticated and natural shapes. Her preferred medium is metal clay, with its endless possibilities!

Black and Yellow Geometric Design Enamel Pendant by Harriet

When did you first become interested in Metal Clay? How long have you been designing jewelry using Metal Clay?

When I was laid off from my position as curator of American art at our local museum, I wanted to find something I could do that would still be art related. I began taking classes in metalsmithing and Metal Clay. I do both, but prefer Metal Clay, because the possibilities with this medium are endless. I have been designing Metal Clay jewelry for three years.

What was your first piece of Metal Clay jewelry?

The first piece I created in Metal Clay was a simple pendant with a hole in the top for a jump ring. There were no stones or other intricate work, just easy so we could see how the medium worked.

Double Teardrop Silver Enamel Pendant with Large Dichoric Glass Stone by Harriet
What inspires you?

I am inspired by my background as an art historian. I love all periods of art. I take inspiration from classical and abstract art. I know this sounds like opposite ends of the spectrum, but you would be surprised how much abstraction is in classical art.

What are the major challenges when creating Metal Clay jewelry?

Making rings is my most challenging Metal Clay activity. Because of the shrinkage I am never certain the size I want will be the size I obtain even though I use inserts and follow instructions. Sometimes I create the ring flat and fire it in the kiln or with a torch and then mold it to the size I want. This process works very well with band rings.

PMC Silver Dichroic Glass Cabochon Pendant by Harriet

 What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay?

I enjoy the manipulation of the clay. The freedom it gives me to make changes, additions and corrections. I can actually explore the design while creating it, along with changing and reinventing as I go along.

What is the biggest mistake you ever made? What did you learn from it?

I have made this mistake several times before realizing what I was doing wrong. I was setting dichroic glass into my Metal Clay pendants, firing them at the correct lower temperature and ending up with a very nice pendant. But when I used a flexshaft on the silver to polish it I cracked the glass. The first time I thought the glass cracked in the kiln, but the second time I was very careful to check the glass and only noticed the crack after using the shaft. I learned not to use a flexshaft anywhere near dichroic glass jewelry. The vibrations can cause the glass to crack.

Harriet is giving away a Scalloped PMC Pendant with an intricate pattern adorned with a 3mm CZ in the middle. The pendant is generous in size of 1 1/4 inches in diameter! Talk about bold!

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 October 2nd. Good luck!


  1. Harriet great blog post! I love your dicro settings. I too remember my very first metal clay piece. Its great to read about your metal clay life :)

  2. Harriet that scalloped pendant is gorgeous.

  3. beautiful work, love the texture on the scalloped piece.