Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Six Skeleton Keys...

I just finished making these six skeleton keys which have been posted in my Shop! I love them and think they're just great... however... they take a whole heck of a lot of work. I start out by pressing the CopprClay into a mold. Once the clay has turned leather-hard, I hand-tool and whittle them down for maximum key-shape. (They're quite fragile in this state and I broke a few with my over-zealous knife moves!) After I initial their backs, they're fired in a carbon environment. Once they've cooled down after the firing, I work-harden them on a bench block with a hammer. Since they are relatively thin, this step is essential. It quickly ferrets out any structural defects and provides extra strength to the survivors. I feel that if it can hold up to a hammer and a steel block, it'll hold up to most jewelry applications! They are then thrown into the tumbler until they're bright and shiny. I then flame polish them for the iridescent finish and to bring out the details in the skull.

So... there are only six. I probably won't make anymore unless the mood strikes me, which makes them limited editions. Although they're all pretty much the same, each one is one-of-a-kind. There are slight differences in the details. I love the fact that each one is subtly different. I think the human touches really make the piece.

To get your very own, CLICK HERE. I've only got the six, so act fast!

10 comments:

AJ said...

Awesome! What a cool design.

Nicki said...

They are really cool - and I really understand how much work goes into such a tiny piece of art. I hope they will find good homes.

hint said...

Too cool! I love the copper and how they feel hand tooled.

Cynthia Thornton said...

These are great! Maybe try finding pure copper wire to use as the stick part, then adhering the clay to that? Hammer the wire afterward while its still soft for a nice texture.

Andrew Thornton said...

I think I might just make a really nice one and have it cast. All this pressing, carving, and work-hardening is too much work!

Gaea said...

SO COOL!!!!

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

those are pretty cool!

Janet said...

Your creations are really Some kinda Wonderful!! Treasures Andrew!

babapaul said...

I need to break open my copperclay. Is it a pain? Love the keys. Definitely cast!

Andrew Thornton said...

I quite like it! The more I work with it, the better things turn out. The trick is that you want to do things you do in PMC, but they don't always turn out. So there's a learning curve for folks who have already worked with the silver.

I'm working on a test of blending the Fast Fire with the Original BronzClay. I find that the Fast Fire dries out too much and has a somewhat chalky feeling after awhile. But the original has a smoother clay-body. We'll see if it turns out or if I waste a bunch of money!

You should come up for a weekend for a some metal clay play time. I'm doing a super cool test today and tomorrow to see if something really cool will work out. Hope it does!