Okay, a bit late since it's almost over here in the Blue Box, but Merry Christmas anyway! Hope you all had a wonderful day spent with friends and family.
There are big plans afoot for the coming year in the Blue Box, but they're all a bit hush-hush right now so you'll have to come back later to find out what's going on!
In any case, I hope you all have a fantastic final week of 2011. Let's make 2012 ROCK (pun totally intended, says the lapidarist).
This past weekend, the Blue Box Blogger took a field trip and enjoyed a class on the use of fine metal art clay. If you've not heard of this technique, you're in good company. The technique came from Japan fairly recently - within the past 20 years, I believe. Basically it's extremely finely ground fine metals - in this case silver, although they also have bronze and perhaps other metals - mixed with an organic, non-toxic binding agent. The mix has the consistency of clay, allowing you to mold and model the silver easily without needing to rely on smithing equipment.
Once your piece has been shaped and dried, you fire it (either with a torch [FIRE!!!!!!] or in a kiln) to burn out the binding agent. After that process is complete, you're left with 100% fine silver, still in the shape of whatever you created. Then it's a matter of burnishing, polishing, patina-ing, tumbling, etc and you've got yourself a nice, shiny piece o' silver.
Not only can you create pieces just with the silver, you can also combine it with other art forms, such as lapidary and wirewrapping. It's always fun to learn new things, but when you get to incorporate what you already love doing with the new technique, it's even better!
The Blue Box Blogger sometimes has a strange sense of humour that comes out here rather than the workshop.