Sea Spirits

TI continue to explore Pacific Northwest art in metal clay. The shrimp is rarely depicted in such art, so I chose to do so. Also, I had not incorporated a stylized human face into an animal body (a common feature of Pacific Northwest art). I decided to do so.

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I began by rolling PMC Original (I wanted the shrinkage) into a 0.75 mm sheet, and cutting out a shrimp outline. I added a few details, including layering the piece to suggest the shell and adding a ball of clay for eyes.20190529_112301I added a few more details, including a partial human face.

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I rolled more metal clay, 1 mm thick, and cut out a rounded triangle. I textured the triangle, but put the textured side down, so that the texture would be on the back. I attached the shrimp to the triangle, and added more details, including eyes for the stylized human face.

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I then, in keeping with the ‘sea spirits’ theme, added an embossed humpback whale to the back. I added a bail. The marks on the bail are my maker’s mark.

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I had heard that one can give a particular shininess to untextured silver by applying an agate burnisher prior to firing. I sanded and cleaned up both sides, and then did the burnishing, both on the untextured part of the front and on the body of the whale. Note that this brings out the silver in silver clay.

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I fired the piece according to package directions and tumbled it. I decided to apply a light hand with the patina, keeping the silver shiny and just showing the details.

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The coin is for scale.

Pacific Northwest art provides a wealth of inspiration for the metal clay artist — including subjects that would rarely be portrayed, like shrimp. I encourage you to explore this area yourself. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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