Monday, June 16, 2014

It Feels Like Magic Every Time! June Featured Artist Carrie Michael

Our featured artist of June is Carrie Michael from Kalamazoo, MI. Carrie has extensive creative experience with polymer clay and has perfecting her skills on metal clay since 2012. Her work is whimsical and dreamy! Carrie is giving away a copper metal clay english style ocarina pendant to a lucky reader. Read on to learn how to enter the giveaway and win a piece of her amazing art!

Why did you pick your shop name Carrie Michael?
I picked my own name so that it was easy to find me!

When did you first become interested in Metal Clay? How long have you been designing jewelry using Metal Clay?
Metal Clay called to me the first time I heard of it, but I didn’t have the available funds to work with it at the time. I sold polymer clay jewelry until I built up enough profit to buy my own kiln and fine silver supplies. Metal Clay has been a part of my life since June of 2012, and I am amazed every time a piece of “clay” goes into the kiln and comes out solid metal, it feels like magic every time, I adore it!

Fairy fine silver ear cuff holding amethyst cubic zirconia DTPD by Carrie Michael

Would you tell us your creative process?
For my detailed pieces I normally start by making a digital drawing. Once I am happy with it, I scale the drawing down to size, print it, and trace the drawing onto dry metal clay. After carving, detailing and engraving, I finish the piece in the kiln. Burnish, tumble, polish, and then make a mold so that more of the same design can be completed faster to keep prices affordable! The entire process for the giveaway piece is too long to answer here, but there is a tutorial on my blog:

What inspires you?
The beauty and magic of our natural world.
Copper english style ocarina pendant with an included purple sapphire by Carrie Michael

Why did you design the giveaway piece? What is special about your giveaway piece?
Logging in to etsy to read the Metal Clay Heads Team blog, I noticed other recommended groups to join. One of them was for handmade ocarinas. I didn’t join the group, but it got me thinking, I bet I could do that out of metal! My husband is an ocarina player, and a nice sturdy ocarina that he couldn’t drop and break would be a welcome gift. It took quite a bit of trial and error as well as research online to figure out how to make one from metal clay, but I think I have a process that works well. My husband helps me tune them to make sure that they function properly as a musical instrument in addition to being a piece of jewelry. My notes on construction are on my blog so that other metal clay artists can make their own if they wish.

I decided to give away a copper ocarina pendant because it is a unique item that can’t be found anywhere else. This one is the 5th that I made, and since I was still perfecting my design there will never be another exactly like it! It has both copper and white copper (*contains nickel) on the front, and an included purple sapphire for fun.

What are the major challenges when creating metal clay jewelry?
In relation to this piece specifically, metal clay can’t be worked in the same way as ceramic clay, which is traditionally used for making ocarinas. That makes it extra difficult to get the voicing carved and lined up properly, as well as to get the tuning right. Concert tuning would be a nightmare, so this piece is simply “in tune with itself.”

Fairy Dragon fine silver pendant or charm with purple sapphire DTPD by Carrie Michael

What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay?
Permanence and sparkle! Every medium has it’s benefits, but a finished metal clay piece should last for generations. It brings me great joy to know that my silver pieces will continue to glitter long after I am gone.

What is your greatest ambition as a Metal Clay artist?
To quit my day job and spend every day making art for people to enjoy!

What is the biggest mistake you've ever made? What did you learn from it?
Making complex detailed pieces and then moving to the next step without doing a test sample first, sometimes leading to irreparable harm to days worth of work. I do this in every media I ever use. Learning the hard way to do test samples is something that has taken years to sink in.

So here are the rules to enter the MCHs blog giveaway:

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 here 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 July 1st. Good luck!


  1. Carrie I love your shop! Its very unique and magical! Your process and tutorials are educational and give inspiration. Keep up the good work! I favorited your Etsy shop, I'm sharing this on my facebook page :) Awesome job!

  2. I love your whimsical designs, especially the dogs and cats, so cute! I favored your shop and shared this page on my facebook! You're so very talented!

  3. I posted the above I forgot to mention my facebook is fishbonesilver.
    Thanks, Barb

  4. Thank you everyone! Also, my friend Susan was trying to comment and she said it wouldn't work for her? I'm not sure if there is anything to be done about that since blogger is free to use... But if I can I'd like to submit her, I know she followed me on Facebook and shared the link on Facebook :)

  5. Wonderful interview Carrie! You know I love your work! I shared on both my personal page, and our team page. I am already a fan of your Etsy page, and facebook also!

  6. Carrie I love your pieces and am fascinated by your process! Are you on Instagram? If not- get over there girl, they would love you!!

  7. Love your work. I followed the blog as well. :)


  8. Thanks Pennee Parker for referring me to this sight. I favorited the artist and this is my favorite piece
    I love all the little dragons! Following the blog and looking at joining the team.

  9. Thank you everyone for the kind words and entering, the winner will be announced soon! :)