Monday, December 29, 2008

another attempt

I worked all day today trying to make a mezzuzah out of bronze clay. I have come up with this, which, in it's present state looks pretty good, but I have to say I am not confident. It's not that the bronze clay is difficult (OK it is, the shrinking and the cracks), but I think that the face that a mezzuzah is long and narrow to fit a scroll, makes it difficult to build in this medium.

I will let it dry and fire it tomorrow. I show you what happens, but even with the advice from many books and Kate McKinnon, I just don't know. I do love the bronze, the color and the weight. But I also wish I could make a couple of mezzuzot in silver, which I know works well. It's just that without knowing for sure I can sell them, I can't justify spending all that money. Do you know anyone who will buy a mezzuzah from an unknown artist for $200?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

etsy shop

I've decided to open an etsy shop. Maybe I can sell some of these cool jewish stars I'm making. Perhaps I will soon be successful with the bronze mezzuzahs and I can sell them. Meanwhile I fired 4 more stars today and 2 hearts. I'll post them soon. My shop is called rachel's things. I had to think of a name fast and I admit it's not very creative, but it's better than just my name. Plus I didn't want it to have jewelry in the title because it's not JUST jewelry. Plus, I didn't really want it to have Miller in the title. I think I just like my first name.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bronze clay experiment

I love working with Silver PMC , but it's very expensive,so I decided to try my hand at the new bronze clay. I read a lot of articles and blogs about working with the clay so I could prepare myself for it's unique properties.

The clay is very messy and sticky in it's raw state, but the information I got from the Cooltools website was helpful. If you keep your hands and work area well lubricated with oil or balm (I used claymate) the clay does not stick badly to your hands. I also kneaded the clay as suggested. The first reel challenge with bronze clay is that it shrinks as it dries and then it cracks. I want to try to make my "house" mezuzzahs out of the clay. They are built with slabs. I have made them very successfully in silver PMC, but because they take so much material that are costly.I found that in bronze it is very hard to built these shapes.

First of all, it is much harder to attach slabs together with bronze clay. You have to make a lot of slip, and even then you have to reinforce the slabs with the snake of fresh clay. Also there is a lot of trouble when firing the piece in the kiln. The "house" I made bowed and slumped after firing.

I am not real happy with the results. My kiln is a mess, the piece slumped and cracked, and the clay was a bit messy to work with. I think I would rather invest more in silver clay right now. I think that the bronze clay can be interesting and looks great in small pieces and paired with silver components. But, I don't think the bronze clay will work for my purposes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Today I oxidized the stars and some other pieces in the liver of sulfur. Here is what they look like before the final polish.

Monday, December 8, 2008

moo cards

mine arrives last week. What are they? They are super cute half size calling cards in which you can have printed with multiply images. Lots of artists have them. They make great hang tags too. You can order some too at

Friday, December 5, 2008

shining stars

Here are the stars out of the kiln. They have a white powdery appearence to them. It is quite different for the oxidized finished necklace.

Here they are after brushing them a bit with a brass wire brush. They are beginning to look more like the silver they are. I think I may leave some bright silver and only oxidize some. I have an aweful cold today so this is all I will acomplish.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

making stars

Today I decided to make silver jewish stars. First I roll out and texture the PMC silver clay. After I texture them I cut them into triangle shape. Then I build them into 3 dimentional forms so that I can add chain later and make them into necklaces. I've made 5 examples tonight. I'll fire them in the kiln tomorrow and let you see how they came out.