Patrik Kusek – Master Muse Challenge #49

Patrik shares with us a quick synopsis of the steps he takes to create his wonderful nature-inspired pendant.

We hope the tutorial will serve to inspire you to create! No matter if you just get out your sketch book and draw a similar project based on these challenges. It's a place to start. It's a way to start off your day in the right frame of mind with a creative exercise!

Patrik says "With this project I wanted to create the feeling one gets of coming across a forgotten secret garden. Unkempt vines, loose crumbing bricks and a worn gate; all hints that something special may just ready to be discovered."

If you are interested in the full step-by-step tutorial please stay tuned. It will be available at Whole Lotta Whimsy. They will be in a handy bench format too! This tutorial looks like it will be over 60 pictures with tons of detail in this #49 Tutorial!

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to use syringe to make vines with tendrils
  • How to use syringe to make branches
  • How to use common studio tools to make a brick facade
  • How to use fine silver eyelet Embeddables to make hinges
  • How to make specialty decorative hinge pins
  • How to use MagicGlos resin to encase an image

Print out the templates which are included in the full tutorial.  Roll out the silver metal clay and using a needle tool, cut out the shape of the base plate.

Using a piece of mylar, trace the center of the door and cut that out.  Then place this onto the center of the clay, roll it out again using the same slats to maintain thickness.  This will lightly impress the shape into the base plate of clay.

Reposition the original template over the clay and through the paper, mark the holes with a craft knife.

Insert the eyelet Embeddables into the clay in the 8 places where the hinges will be.

Next insert an eyelet Embeddable at the top of the piece.

Using fresh clay and a clay shaper, cover the indentations made from inserting the eyelets.

Roll out another piece of thin clay and cut out yet another door trim/border using the original template.

Let dry completely.

Using the mylar insert, trace the shape onto the dried door panel.

Using a craft knife cut the outside shape by scoring and breaking off the clay with your fingers.  It’s okay if the pieces do not break off cleanly.

Continue to break them into smaller pieces, then separate bricks,  starting with a nice keystone shape at the top.

Starting with the keystone, use water, then silver metal clay slip/paste to connect the tiles to the base piece.

Using the door templates, check the fit of the base piece and hinges to make sure they fit before proceeding to the next step.

Roll out the silver metal clay and using the door templates cut around the shape of the two doors.  Don’t forget to add Patrik’s special texture (see the full tutorial).

Dry fully and do a dry test fit.  Adjust and perfect by sanding.

Using a u-gouge Dockyard Carving tool, carve out the gate/door where the eyelets should be placed.

Roll out silver metal clay and cut 4 small rectangles (cover in cling wrap/plastic wrap to keep moist).

Secure the eyelet Embeddables to the gate using slip and the clay to cover the eyelet wires.

Using silver metal clay syringe and the 20g syringe tip, customize the tip to make the diameter larger.  Add branches and vines to the brick using the syringe as embellishment.  Connect and smooth with a damp/wet brush.  Use a needle tool to split the vines to make tendrils.

Next add the branches and vines to the inner section of the doors/gates.  It’s important to make sure everything is well connected and attached to the door frame.

Reinforce the backside of the branches by adding a layer of syringe.  Set aside to fully dry.

Roll out another thin piece of silver metal clay and attach it to the back of the base plate.

Using several tools (tissue blade, Dockyard carver) make the lines of the brick and add texture.

Roll out enough silver metal clay, using a coil roller, into a snake to make a 1.5” long.  (Patrik includes many tips for these steps to ensure success).

Insert a piece of wire into the snake and set aside to dry.

Using a craft knife cut the snake into sections for the tubes.  Sand the ends of the tubes to a right angle to the sanding board.

Sand one side of the tube flat.

Make sure the gates and eyelets line up and then attach the tubes for the gate latch with slip/paste.

Fill in any spaces in the branches that need support.  Check all workmanship and correct any flaws.

Fire in a kiln at 1650F for two hours.

Use a brass brush after firing to burnish the pieces.

Using wire and a torch, insert the wires through the hinges and ball up the ends.

Create the gate latch using wire as well.

(step by step in the full tutorial)

Patina using Liver of Sulphur (LOS) and use Pro Polishing Pads to remove the excess patina.

Find a copyright free photo you would like to insert into the piece.

Patrik’s step by step system in the full tutorial shows you how to use MagicGlos and a UV lamp add this glossy coating to the surface to protect the image.

Wonderfully detailed and imaginative, Patrik does it again in with this piece of art jewelry!  He challenges you to use syringe in a way that is both an embellishment and an integral part of the design.  The syringe metal clay allows you to make tiny tendrils and vines, faster and easier than with clay.  Efficient and a good use of type of metal clay!

Each of these Master Muse class tutorials exposes new techniques to even the most seasoned of instructors and makers. I'm always surprised at how differently each artist approaches a challenge and how their skills allow them to execute a creative result. I learn at least one valuable shortcut or new technique in each tutorial.

These are affordable classes that you can take in your studio, at your pace, with all the details and more that you would get in a live class. Not to mention that they are scrupulously edited and if the details aren't there, I ask for more info and pictures.

Don't forget to leave a comment. Our artists would really like to hear from you.  They’ve put a lot of work into sharing their artistry and gifts with the readers.  Share with us your thoughts and whether it will inspire you to make one similar, or like it.

Our next blog FREE give-away will be a mystery grab bag of goodies. Your odds are pretty darn good at winning so don’t be shy and participate in the discussion (and in our tribe).

How to win? Leave a comment on every blog (even older posts) or get two entries for tweeting, putting it on Facebook, the Metal Clay Yahoo Gallery forum, your blog etc. Just send us a copy of the link to! Let your friends know how to make their Wednesday's rock…. with of course, the Master Muse Tutorial launch!

Patrik Kusek has been in the design and fashion industry for over 20 years and currently teaches metal clay classes and workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as nationally. He is a senior PMC® instructor who teaches for Rio Grande and his work has appeared in numerous publications including Art Jewelry, Lapidary Journal, MJSA, and various books. He is a member of SNAG, ACC and the PMC Guild. Patrik is the 1st place Saul Bell winner of the 2007 PMC category.

Check out Patrik's work at You can purchase his work online as well!

Photo credit: final piece Drew Davidson; step-by-step Patrik Kusek


26 Responses to Patrik Kusek – Master Muse Challenge #49

  1. OMG, this is my favorite piece yet. I love the idea of breaking the clay to make bricks. I can't wait for this one!

  2. Hello Tonya – while I am not particularly crafty myself … I am looking forward to getting more into your blog posts, because I think becoming more crafty will be good for me, and I do see a link to my Law of Attraction business. I teach people how to use their imaginations more, essentially to imagine more and worry less. Creating with our hands is very much like creating with our minds, and I can see how one could help facilitate the other. Would love some simple ideas that I could do with my daughter! Thanks Tonya

  3. Hi Tonya… I tend to be creative more with words than with my hands since i have a background in translation.. however, i can see where I could apply some of those tactics… ok, without the hands! The idea of pulling from a basic idea and bringing a scene to fruition appeals to me. I can do this, I can use these elements to inspire me to look at something usual and make it unusual… thanks for sharing..

  4. This was truly a lovely piece. I will definately be looking at the full tutorial! It is an inspiring piece and so many of the "techniques" are so clever and seem not as hard as I imagined.

  5. Ooooohhhhhhhhhhh! Patrik, this is so dreamy. I cannot wait to create my own variation on this idea. Thank you!

  6. Very nice, Patrik! I am inspired to look at hinges in a new way. Thank you for this tidbit into the tutorial so I can look for it when it is available.

  7. Thanks so much everyone! I love incorporating elements of nature, which has be a constant in my work. I also love the idea of using syringe to make vines and branches. The eyelets as hinges seemed to be a natural! Christi, your work is fabulous and you inspire me with your bird houses! I hope to finish my "booklet necklace" from your class soon. So totally awesome! Visit my website to see more "mosaic work type" that I've constantly tweaking since 2004. Also see the ring that I did for the Master Registry that uses the same broken tile technique.
    Hope to hear from everyone who makes this project! Email me with pics!!!

  8. Patrik,
    When I saw the piece it took my breath away. So organic, whimsical and beautiful detail.
    Then as I read how you constructed it, I wondered if you had an idea and then though of how to engineer it or vice versa.
    I am guessing you must have gone through this a few. Times over the years. Those hinges, cracked texture, etcetera.
    When I try to create something, even if I sketch it out, there are flops I did not expect.
    Clearly, juku are an artist, an engineer with a very grounded soul. That's what I got from your piece.
    I'm still working on gettin my syringes to work. They dried up!

    • Thanks for your kind words Melody. So it's an interesting question. For this project I did come up with the concept first then I figured the rest out. It can sometime happen the other way around. But it really was a culmination of past and more current techniques. The first syringe technique (The full tutorial will have a much more detailed version of how to get super fine vines and branches) I came up with a few years ago when my work comprised of a lot of undersea elements. Sea urchins, sea anemones, etc, I used it to create small coral like branches. Somehow, tree branches, vines and corals look the same! The tile mosaic work I stared doing way way back and it shows up in my work often. For the hinges I was originally going to make a more traditional metal clay hinge. However, I wanted to use the longer more decorative hinge pins, so I used the same eyelet technique from my last Master Muse project #43 (Check Tonya's Archives) . I had to modify the technique but it worked great. I love the longer branch like hinge pins, I think it adds to the organic nature of the design.

      Here is tip for keeping your syringes nice and moist. Always keep them in a container with the tip submerged in water. Also, you can use an "orchid vial" the thing that comes on the end of flowers when you get them from the florist. It's the perfect size and doesn't leak. Just fill it with water and insert the tip of the syringe into the opening of the vial. I use it all the time when I travel teach and it works like a charm!

  9. So glad Patrik is adding to the conversation here about his project. This is fantastic! I love to see community in action. Thank you so much Patrik for 6 amazing projects! The full tutorials should be available soon (they will be spaced out over the year). Watch the blog for some exciting news as they are unveiled in a new format!

    Melody, we actually sell "Syringe Keepers" for this very reason (to keep your syringe tip immersed in water). You can find them here:


  10. Thanks for the reminder Tonya! I love the Syringe Keepers. I actually have several of them. I like to cut the tips of the syringes to make different sized openings. Then I keep each size syringe in it's own keeper. I always have extras on hand for this reason.

  11. Love the hinges! Creative use for the eyelets; I hadn't considered this use! Love the wires and syringe work. Such a great project! Makes me want to flip through my photos to make a similar piece! Beautiful!

  12. I need to do more with the syringe. I think I stop too soon on my pieces..keeping them too simple. I'm going to practice embellishing! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

  13. This piece is breath taking, I am just getting started with metal clay and the talent and inspiration is so awesome!

  14. This just blew the top of my head off! So magical and imaginative. This piece invites one into another world. I will try a version of this, but even before I do, after seeing this, I have come away with several techniques to use in unrelated projects. Thank you so much for sharing!

Don’t Miss a Thing - Sign Up For My Free Ezine Now