Metal Clay and Fused Glass
by: Arlene Mornick
I love the uncomplicated beauty of glass. Looking through glass, I have the choice of seeing a likeness, if needed, or beyond to the porthole of my surroundings. Add the reflective quality of art glass and the trance intensifies as the color palette of my world expands. To enhance the look and uniqueness of my fused glass cabochons, I use the amazing medium of fine silver metal clay. The low fire metal clay now available is very compatible with fused or lamp worked glass. What better way to double the pleasure and enjoyment of jewelry then to marry the two mediums?
My approach to combining the two elements (glass and metal clay) may be different from other artists. When I create my jewelry pieces using glass, I use the metal clay to simply capture the class. Then in the firing when the clay shrinks its normal 8%, it acts as giant prongs holding the glass in place.
Consider the following when constructing a glass and metal clay project. Remember during the construction of your piece the silver clay will shrink, therefore, when laying, sculpting, or molding your clay around the glass, do so gently but securely. Any silver touching the glass must not be tight fitting but instead gently lie on or touch the glass. During the assembly, if the silver is securing the glass cabochon too tightly, when fired, the silver or glass may crack at the tightest point.
What I am suggesting is that the silver must secure the glass, but that the construction and design must account for the shrinkage. The best way to think about it is to remember to place the clay on or near the glass, do not pull the clay or fasten the clay tightly around the glass.
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