Using Metal Clay for Cartoon Images

I have done a number of posts about using metal clay to make jewelry that resembled Alaskan Native art. This is done by making a basic shape, and then adding the ‘bits and pieces’ until it resembles Alaskan art. Then, one uses a damp sponge to smooth out the edges so the piece looks ‘organic’ instead of having sharp edges.

I was recently asked by a knitter if I could use the same methods to make a cartoon sheep for her from silver. Starting off from a cartoon sheep face, I used the same methods — cut out the overall shape; add the shape without ears (so the ears would recede in the background); add the shape of the face without the ears or topknot (so the face would come forward). I made the eyes by making depressions in the face and then, when the face had dried, adding small sphere of clay for eyes. I made the nostrils by making depressions with a clay sculpting tool, and then refining them after the clay dried. It resembled a sheep, but still did not look right. Then I realized the problem: to look like wool, the topknot needed some curls. I used syringe to add that. Having started on this, I used additional syringe to define the ears and muzzle. That was the look I wanted.

I fired, brushed, tumbled, and patinaed the piece as usual. I used a very light patina and polished the face, to give the impression of a light face and dark muzzle and ears. A photo of the resulting piece, with a coin for scale, appears below.


I think the technique is more successful with Alaskan art, which is highly stylized. However, the client was happy with the sheep. If the client likes it, it is good enough 😉


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