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Monday, October 11, 2010

happy thanksgiving

fine silver maple leaf pendant
It's that time of the year again, when we can be thankful for friends and family, for the harvest home, and the beautiful world around us. The leaves are starting to turn and the Fall winds will soon be blowing them from the trees. Very soon I'll be walking around my neighbourhood, eyes down in the search for That Perfect Leaf.

applying layers of art clay silver paste to each leaf

Once collected I stick them down with some vaseline to an old margarine lid. Before they dry I get a couple of layers of art clay silver paste onto them to preserve the shape. (Art Clay Silver is a clay-like substance made from recycled and recovered silver particles from the film and medical imaging industry). As each layer dries another is applied until sufficient depth has been built up.

each leaf is torch-fired for two minutes

Then each leaf is torch-fired for two minutes to burn off the organic binders in the clay and sinter the silver particles together. The oxidation layer is brushed off and the leaf given a gentle tumble in stainless steel shot to polish. This process reveals the individual vein patterns from the original leaf making a very unique pendant. Only a limited number of these pendants are made each year because it is a very time-consuming process. Since they need so many layers of paste and are also quite delicate before firing, bench space is limited. I have to be able to put on a quick layer in passing but keep them safely out of the way of small hands and inquisitive paws - not easy and this kind is space is in short supply around the house :)

fine silver maple leaves
It's something that cannot be repeated since the original mould is destroyed with firing. Truly a one of a kind piece.
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