|Jewelry by Lorena Angulo (photo credit: lorenaangulo.com)|
|Finished heart pendant|
Lorena started her career as an advertising professional. She fed her lifelong interest in Mexican folk art first, by collecting pieces for her personal collection, then with her retail store Pueblo Folk Art in San Antonio. After curating and selling the works of other artists, Lorena joined the Southwest School of Art, and has become a master of metal clay, and an amazing instructor.
|Materials on the bench - ready to go|
Lorena explained her process for working with the clay - including sketching designs, making patterns or templates for cutting the clay, and ways to give the finished pieces texture and depth.
Next she instructed us to begin sketching ideas for our pieces, telling us to think about the size of our pieces for two reasons: first - PMC shrinks (because the binder that holds the clay together burns away when the pieces are fired) and while you can do a lot with 25g, it is a limited amount of clay.
Finally - she encouraged us to be willing to make mistakes - because that is how you learn.
|Sketches and template outlines|
Next step - rolling out my clay, and cutting out my first two pieces. Lorena explained to us the importance of uniform thickness (achieved by using a stack of three playing cards taped together) so that the piece would not been too thin and crack. Although the medium does become solid metal after it is fired, it behaves like traditional clay until then - so it is important to be careful not to break it.
|Finished clay pieces drying before being fired|
After each layer of clay is cut or shaped, it needs to be able to dry completely before cutting, carving or adding the next layer. To add a layer, water is applied to the dry piece, and wet clay is placed on and positioned. This process is repeated until the piece is finished.
Texture can also be added by pressing tiny chips of dry clay onto a dry piece - creating a sparkly, almost druzy-like finish to a piece.
I built up my pieces using layers of clay for the earrings and flask pendant, and with texture on my heart pendant. Then, with help from Lorena, I added a bail, leaves and flowers to my heart pendant. I had a little bit of clay left, so I made one more pair of earring charms - combining layering and texturing techniques.
|Photo credit: Lorena Angulo|
She made us say "tequila!"
Once again - I've spent a wonderful weekend at Creative Side - and come away with new friends, new knowledge, new jewelry and a new story to share.
Until next time.