“Inside My Heart” Pendant and chain
by Catherine Witherell
I wanted to make a multi-dimensional piece with moving parts and more than one metal color. The design came to me in a flash on a flight to an art retreat in March and I drew it then. This piece is from that drawing. It is made up of many techniques and I used PMC3. Heart dimensions1-5/8 inch wide by 1-3/4 inch high. Cage 7/8 inch high. Chain 26 inches.
I formed a 3-D heart from cork clay, let it dry for 2 days and made a one dimensional paper template. I drew the pattern for the front on the cork heart with a fine point sharpie and outlined the pattern with the syringe. I drew my spiral pattern for the back on the paper heart template and greased it with hand salve. With the PMC3 syringe I outlined the paper pattern and when it was dry, pulled it off. Using a tiny paintbrush I filled in any gaps and joins in the back of the pattern with PMC3 paste. I also joined places that were butted up against each other to make the piece stronger. When it was dry, I layed a wet piece of napkin on top of my flat pattern and with Elmer’sGlue on the cork clay heart, I layed the piece down on the back and held it in place. The clay pattern relaxed onto the cork heart and the glue kept it in place. I filled in cracks and gaps with my brush and more paste. When it was dry, I drew in more of the pattern on the sides and the top. I left an opening on the top of the heart about 1 and 1/4 inch long by 1/2 inch wide for a lid/top. Over the next few days, adding paste when it was dry, I built up the layers until the heart was thick enough to fire and looked like florentine vines or filligree. I made a leaf lid from PMC3 clay and a scrapbooking ephemera skeleton leaf to cover the gap in the top, making sure to gently fold/press the clay into the indentation on the heart and form it to the rounded shape. There’s hole in the top of the leaf at the dent. I made another smaller leaf with a mesh side for part of the clasp. The heart and leaf lid were fired separately laying well supported in a terra cotta dish with vermiculite. When they came out of the kiln I reinforced all the seams of the heart from the inside with paste and made any repairs to cracks that may have formed during firing. Then I made sure the lid fit and bent it where needed and then attached it to the heart with more paste. This piece was then fired again.
I made another cork piece to build the birdcage on. With syringe paste I drew the lines in like spokes. All lines met at the top. The base was made slightly larger than the cork base, big enough for the spokes too. I let these pieces dry. With more syringe paste, I made a horizontal rung around the spokes of the cage and when it was dry, I reinforced the joins with paste. I fired the cage upside down in vermiculite. The base was fired flat.
I made a little bird shape and used a tiny pattern of a rubber stamp for cut out wings and a tail, sanded and pasted them on. I carved eyes and a line in the beak. After I fired it, I pasted it to the base of the cage and when it was dry I pasted the spokes to the base as well. I fired the cage embedded in vermiculite right side up.
Using Aura 22 gold paste, I brushed 3 coats on the birdcage spokes, the floor, the outside base and torch fired it to red hot, hand burnished and steel shot tumbled for 12 minutes. I drilled a small hole in the top of the cage and inserted a gold filled head pin and wrapped it into a loop ready to assemble.
For the chain I made PMC3 syringe paste organic circle chain links and blobs, torch fired them and then hammer textured them sandwiched between fine copper mesh. I hand wrapped sterling wire links between the PMC links and fabricated the hook clasp.
Patinaed (not tumbled) and polished with a flexshaft to achieve muted satin finish. I wire wrapped bead and beadcap through hole and attached to loop on cage top.
skeleton leaf and some fabric or mesh for texture of the top and clasp
fine brass mesh for chain link texture
Aura 22 paste
sterling silver wire - 22 guage (chain)
sterling silver wire - 24 guage 1/2 hard (used in assembly)
fine silver wire - 24 guage (head pin for bead and cap)
gold filled wire - 22 guage (used in assembly)
gold filled headpin - 24 guage 1/2 hard
one london blue topaz faceted bead - 4mm x 3mm
Now try that one. Good luck to you!