I love taking natural textures and seeing what I can do with them. Silver clay is such a versatile medium. It lends itself to being moulded, stretched and wrapped, as I have done here. The band of this delicate shell ring was made by wrapping a piece of silver metal clay around a spiral shell, which I found on the beach.
By pressing the metal clay around the sides, it has picked up the texture of the grooves and ridges around this shell. With these tiny rings, I left the bands to dry for a short while in order to set the texture, before shaping around a mandril and joining the ends with metal clay slip. A bit like joining any kind of clay. I’ve trimmed it to size, allowing for 10% shrinkage during firing and secured the ends gently using a slip made of a tiny piece of metal clay, water and a small moulding tool or paint brush.
When the band was dry, I was able to position the tiny flowers using a pair of fine tweezers and attach them with metal clay slip. Adding decorations is the fun bit. I’d previously made and dried a few tiny silver metal clay flowers and leaves using a tiny shell and tools to shape them. And yes, it was very fiddly. Magnifying specs 🤓 are a must!
I’m still experimenting with making rings, and combining my silversmithing skills with those of a metal clay artist. I’ve purposely kept the organic, uneven band because I feel that by sanding the inside and the edges of the ring, I’ll loose the essence and authenticity of the natural piece.