Lora Hart – Master Muse Challenge #52

Lora shares with us a quick synopsis of the steps she takes to create her romantic and gorgeous found object silver metal clay pendant.  It would fit perfectly on any royalty back in King Arthur's court!  Beautiful!

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!

Lora says “remainders are a puzzlement.  The last half gram of clay, teeny cuts of Sheet, the dried up drips clinging to the slip container. What do you do with them? You can’t just throw them away, they’re precious metals after all. But you really can’t make anything out of them either, can you? This project is an absolutely perfect way to make beautiful use of those cast off corners.

As I was thinking about what to do for my last Master Muse tutorial, my eyes lit on a box of watch crystals gifted to me by a friend and an even bigger box of cut off wheels purchased after a hard metals class. They’d been sitting around, gathering dust, for a couple of years. Could I take all of these left over, unloved elements and make something spectacular to prove that the whole can be greater than the sum of it’s parts? I had to try.”

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 30 pictures with tons of detail in this #52 Tutorial!

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to prong set a found object
  • How to do gold leaf/foil on a found object
  • How to drill holes in glass and metal
  • How to set a half-drilled pearl
  • How to fire and sand metal clay

Make enlargements of the watch crystals to compensate for metal clay shrinkage.

Draw onto the enlargements the tabs (turtle legs).  Do not forget to include two areas where you will hang the dangles and also the attachments.  Drawing these in helps, so you do not forget to include them prior to cutting out your shape.  This is your template. *Lora covers all the specifics in the full tutorial.

Roll out the metal clay with texture on each side.

Place the enlargement template (coated in packing tape and lubricated) ontop of the clay.  Using a sharp needle tool, cut out the design.

Using polymer clay, prop up the tabs while they dry.

Roll out more metal clay and cut out 4 dots using a straw.  Set aside two discs and then roll the other two discs into a ball.

Attach the discs to the two attachment areas of the necklace using water.

Reinforce the back of the attachment areas with a thin layer of metal clay or Sheet.  Set aside to dry.

Carefully sand the “turtle” tabs using the 320 sanding needle, using the rubber block for support to avoid breakage.

Other helpful sanding tools: Fantastix Coloring ToolSlim Sanders and your damp finger.

Drill a hole in the attachments using a drill in a pin vise.

Drill holes if you desire dangles.

Sand the balls flat on one side and then attach it to the piece.

Fire at 1650F for 30 minutes in a kiln.

Polish out of the kiln with 3M radial disks.  Patina with liver of sulphur (LOS) or Black Max.  Use Pro Polish Pad to remove patina on the raised surfaces.

Find the center of the watch crystal using a circle template.  Using a diamond drill bit, a flexshaft, and water, drill through the glass slowly.  *all the tips for drilling successfully are included in Lora’s full tutorial.

Cut out a silver or brass disc with a disc cutter or saw.  Find the center of the disc, center punch it and drill the hole.

Using a found object, a cut off disc is used in this piece, apply sizing with a q-tip or toothpick.  Apply gold foil to the edges and burnish to make sure it is well attached.

Using the watch crystal as a template, find the center of the “turtle”.  Using your center punch make a divot in the metal disc.

Drill a hole through the center using your flexshaft and drill bit.  Make dangles holes at this time as well in the "turtle".

Using a small amount of Devcon 5 minute epoxy, attach the gold cut off disc.

Apply a small amount of the epoxy to the back of the small silver disc and add that to the top of the cut off disc.  Let set for 20 minutes.

Cut and trim excess wire to fit the half drilled pearl.  Using a small amount of epoxy attach the pearl to the post.

Using your fingers, begin to press the prongs over the crystal.  You can use the back of the agate burnisher to finish setting the prongs down completely.  Don’t use metal or you may scratch the glass.

I love to receive Lora’s projects.  She creates work that is baroque, romantic and interesting!  She has a keen eye for design and style.  Who would have thought to use a cut off wheel spattered with gold for the center component.  Brilliant!

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.

We'd love to see you take the challenge and make this or a similar piece as well. Can't wait to see your pieces. Send them and we'll post pictures in a future Challenge Gallery. Challenge yourself!

Wanna win FREE tools, supplies and books? Really FREE…no strings attached!

It’s easy, 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 support@wholelottawhimsy.com of where you posted it!  Your odds of winning are pretty darn good too!


PMC Connection Senior Instructor Lora Hart began working with metal clay at the turn of the century. After nearly 20 years as a busy make-up artist in the entertainment industry, an actor's strike put her career onhold. Four happily creative years later, she began a new and fulfilling life as an instructor in the greater Los Angeles area. Working out of her quaint Venice Beach Studio, Lora is honored that her work has been included in many publications including The PMC Guild Annual, Barbara Becker Simon's Metal Clay Beads, Sherri Haab's Metal Clay and Mixed Media Jewelry and Holly Gage's The Art and Design of Metal Clay Jewelry. This year, Lora has begun an online challenge to make a Ring A Day and started work on the first level of The Master's Registry.

Check out Lora's work at www.LoraHart.com. You can purchase her work online! Contact her for more details.

Photo credit: final piece Drew Davidson; step-by-step Lora Hart


10 Responses to Lora Hart – Master Muse Challenge #52

  1. The tabs are really cool. The pendant is beatiful. It's amazing how you can give a precious metal clay artist a lump of clay and each artist will come up with a totally unique, extraordinary piece of wearable art.

  2. I always love Lora's pieces. I am sad to see that this round of muse tutorials is coming to an end.

  3. What an inventive use of materials! Lora is just brilliant, I love everything she makes and having seen her work and held it, the finish and attention to detail is the mark of a top professional! I've enjoyed these Master Muse tutorials, great artists & great projects, it's been a blast! Good on you Tonya for sharing all this brilliance!

  4. Maggie,

    Thank you! I'm always looking for ways to give back to our community. I find that the biggest rewards come from collaborating + connecting + creating together.

    I recently created a gathering place, forum of sorts, on Facebook too. It's called the Whole Lotta Whimsy Sunday Social Circle. You simply go to the Whole Lotta Whimsy page (http://www.facebook.com/WholeLottaWhimsy) on Sundays and share your info. Then once you've shared your info, you'll get an invitation to join the group, WLWSSC. On this group, we share info on pricing, what to charge when teaching, firing techniques, shows, selling, and more! It's really like a big mastermind group collaborating to create more success!

    I've really enjoyed seeing all the work of the Master Muses. It was fun coming up with the challenge, sending the materials and then editing their tutorials. I know many of them loved being pushed in new directions as well.

    Now the real work begins with doing the final edits to the full tutorials (of which many are over 100 steps, not the 10 shown here) and then getting them ready for you all to be able to download them. A class right in your studio in your jammies!

    Stay tuned and check back for many changes to http://www.tonyadavidson.com over the next month!



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