• My Guide: Learning from Metal Clay Disasters

My Guide: Learning from Metal Clay Disasters

Art is always a dose of luck and a large portion of experience.

Nothing more was true when I set myself a goal to create a metal clay clock, with a completely different technique and design. This was my key piece of work for my exclusive collection of work at The Royal College of Art at Flux Exhibition, London, UK.
The clock was to contain the following key components:

  • Copper metal clay
  • Sheet of Copper metal
  • Brass nuts and bolts x 4
  • Clock mechanism and clock hands
  • A simple, metal stand
  • 224 carat Labradorite round cabochon genuine gemstone

Above: The stunning 224 carat

Labradorite round cabochon genuine gemstone as the central feature of the clock. It took me many tries to get the clock to work!! This is especially the case, now that I reflect on this process.

THE FIRST DESIGN:

My first attempt to create this clock using 400 grams of Copper metal clay only with a sheet on 0.8 thick Copper sheet 15 x 15 cm. I rolled the clay into 2 tiles each using 200 grams each and I engraved the detail of trees, horizon and other details. I realize now that the clay needed to be thicker and use more clay. Once I fired this first attempt, I realized that the detail I had scored into the clay split during firing and both sheets where bowed.

Above: This was too thin and I carved the clay too deep, so it split and you can see daylight through because of the split clay

THE SECOND DESIGN:

In the second attempt I used 300 grams of clay for each tile. One this design I used a flowery texture sheet, used syringe clay to add the trees and details.

Above: It wasn’t fired correctly and it crumbled!

This piece was ruined for 2 key reasons:

  1. The texture pattern de-personalized the design and took away my personal touch.
  2. My kiln was one of the worse purchases for this medium. This meant that when firing the tiles could not be fired flat. The kiln also, unbeknown to me, was not firing hot enough. When this second design was removed it was brittle, not sintered or under fired and meant to split and fell into pieces.

THE THIRD AND FINAL DESIGN:

Here are a few pictures pre-assembly:

And… this is the final design below:

A Stitch In Time, Saves Nine’ by Laura H Elliott

'A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine' by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons)
‘A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine’ by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons)

Above: The final piece ‘A Stitch In Time, Saves Nine’ by © Laura H Elliott BA (Hons)


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip.

Buy my work online @ http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

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