Opening up Gordon K. Uyehara's book, Metal Clay Fusion, I felt like I was in one of his classes. The book also happens to be the debut book in the Metal Clay Master Class book series from Lark Jewelry and Beading. And if the rest are as in depth and engrossing as this one, I'm hoping to take many more classes at home with future books. While it is intended for intermediate to advanced metal clay artists, the descriptions, techniques, and color photos give a good foundation for beginners looking into the artform.
If you've never heard of it, metal clay is just that - a metal clay that comes in different forms and different types. Of the precious metals, silver and gold can be found. The five different base-metal types available are copper, bronze, white bronze, steel, and pearl grey steel. Previous work with either polymer clay or regular clay would be a great starting point.
In Depth Instruction to the Projects: Overview to Finished Pieces
This book is set up as a class, and as such Uyehara gives an in-depth instruction on the art of metal clay formation. Metal clays are transformed from a pliable, workable mass into a something hard and permanent. Metal clays need to be fired, and there is a full chapter on everything from basic firing practices for both precious and base metal clays, as well as the author's firing routines. Step-by-step fundamentals are addressed, such as re-moisturising, dry joining, and filling seams and holes.
He completes the beginning with design concepts. And the point is stressed in the little section 'Artiquette' that artists need to be professional and original - in other words, always credit the original designer even if it is from an instructional class. If it looks like someone else's work other people will pick up on it anyway so be up front if another piece was inspiration, and add some distinctive touch to make the piece your own masterpiece before selling it. Writer's deal about plagiarism all the time, so I was impressed that Uyehara addressed an issue that artists deal with in such a straight forward manner.
And his designs are breathtakingly original. You will find wearable pieces such as earrings and bracelets, to practical pieces like one-of-a-kind condiment spoons and an incense burner. Six very different pendants are detailed start to finish using bronze, copper or silver metal clays. All together there are twenty-two gorgeous metal projects to create, but my favorite has to be the Poison Pill Ring. The romantic side in me envisions a ring being made not for something evil inside, but perhaps one made and fashioned with a tiny love note or a remembrance from a special holiday.
I'd worked with different clays before, but only saw photos of metal clay art and wondered what a class would be like. After reading Metal Clay Fusion, I felt like I was in a class at home. Should be required reading for anyone interested in the art of metal clay.
- Gordon K. Uyehara's website - Read his bio, as well as get info on his latest workshops.
- Uyehara's Art - Sampling of his metal clay art pieces as well as other media.
- Metal Clay Fusion: Diverse Clays, Detailed Techniques, Artful Projects (Metal Clay Master Class); Gordon K. Uyehara
- Lark Jewelry and Beading, 2012
- ISBN13: 9781600596971
- Hardcover, 144 pages