Friday, November 16, 2012

I just love playing with ‘pretty’ things! -- Sue

And metal clay art is serious fun for Sue of Somethingxtraspecial! She creates the very pretty and iconic peapod charms jewelry (or jewellery in British English). Sue fell in love with handmade jewelry when she received a handmade gift from her father at six - a deep ruby red glass ring! Sue was trained in traditional silversmithing but once discovered metal clay, there is no returning. Please enjoy the following feature on our very lovely British metalclayhead Sue from Southsea, England.

Peapod Ring by Somethingxtraspecial
Why did you pick the name Somethingxtraspecial ?
That's a silly one.. I was in a cafe with my boyfriend and was saying 'I want to call it something 'special' and he said well why not then call it somethingspecial, of course I went home and checked online and there were loads of entries like that, so tried with extra in still a few entries, so took out the 'e'. And that was where that name came from. If I had my time over I would certainly not have anything quite so long, people remember it but then spell it wrong or whatever, so I'd like something like blii or plo or one of those silly 4 letter names that mean nothing. When you look at the biggies like ebay, etsy, google, yahoo, moo none of them mean anything but they are all really easy to remember.

What inspires you?
Generally staring into space or being too busy, that is when all my best ideas seem to come. I'll be looking at something, while in the middle of something else and think 'I wonder if that would work in...'

Half Moon Cuff Links in Silver with Gold Accent by Somethingxtraspecial

What are the major challenges when creating metal clay jewellery?
Well I know I should say time or being quick or something like that, but to be completely honest I'd say the cost. When I first started using clay, it was a bit of a luxury but it was a totally acceptable cost, then the huge price hike of 240% of last year hit, that took some getting used to. Being from the UK our costs are already high so trying to compete in an international market place is really not so easy when you compare costs and what our cousins can sell for compared to what we over here can charge. Therefore you are always conscious of this when making something new, and for me I feel quite stymied by this. I see all the amazing huge things that the 'stars' make and wonder who can afford a -- to buy it and b -- to make stuff like this, and then I just go green with envy!

What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay?
I trained as a silversmith, I left it on the back burner for many years, then when I discovered clay I found that I could do some of the things that would take forever and probably need some very expensive tools or chemicals to do in sheet metal, in clay quite easily. I love that.

Padlock Hoop Earrings in Silver by Somethingxtraspecial

What is the biggest mistake you've ever made? What did you learn from it?
When I started I believed what the makers said about firing and finishing without realising that it was probably just a marketing tool. I then discovered that precious metal clay (silver) needs firing for a minimum of 2 hours in a kiln and then work hardened to make it as strong as it could be. Since I discovered this (from the adorable Kate McKinnon) I have found I can now make things that just would not have worked before (and refired all of the stuff I still had from before).

Sue is going to giveaway a peapod charm for a lucky winner. If you leave a comment on why you love the peapod charm, you're in for the giveaway.

Other ways to enter are:
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

But you must post a comment to let us know or you will miss out! Winner will be announced December 7th. Enter now!

Peas in a Pod Silver Charm by Somethingxtraspecial