My final delve into learning a new skill last year ended with precious metal clay and a class taken with Emma Mitchell (Silver Pebble) in the glorious surroundings of rural Reach in Cambridge.
Driving to Cambridge, bathed in brilliant sunshine both there and back, I could not have had a better day of crafting; this time using Art Silver Clay and silicon moulds of natural objects (you can probably tell I still wasn't quite satisfied with nature-inspired jewellery making after my electroforming class earlier last year!).
As I did with the electroforming class, I took along a box of 'beasties' I had collected (thinking something would make the perfect piece of jewellery!) and again, I was overwhelmed by what the instructor, Emma, had prepared for us. She had laid out a mountain of moulds she had already taken of natural objects, herbs and plants for us to have a look at. There was also a plate of silver pendants and charms which had been made using these moulds. Bedazzled by the possibilities, I set about making a mould using a sycamore key. It set very quickly and was ready to be used in a matter of ten minutes or so.
I then chose a couple of moulds I wanted to use to make a few pendants; one of a fennel sprig, an elongated poppy seed pod and a little pine cone (I think). Emma's knowledge of the natural elements she had used was impressive to say the least. One of the other students used Victorian/vintage button moulds and the other had brought a yarrow spray from which she made her own mould. We then proceeded to roll out/press our clay onto/into the moulds. These were dried (burning off the water element of Art Silver Clay) and then fired (burning off the binding material used in the clay) and -boom- see the photo for the results! Lovely, unique 99% fine silver adornments.
After my little poppy seed pod didn't quite turn out right at the electroforming class, I was overjoyed by the silver clay version which I gifted to my sister in law who gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in November (she had nicknamed her baby Poppy before he was born).
Check out Emma's classes (and other brilliant) nature-inspired things on her website. I would sincerely recommend a class with her; her enthusiasm on how crafting can help you relax and keep your mind at ease, amongst other things, was truly inspiring. Get crafting people!