Thursday, February 25, 2010

How They Do That

In the past couple of weeks two different people have asked me about the Japanese ring makers that are used to create seamless metal clay rings. I first heard about them on the Yahoo! Metalclay forum when a group of members put together a large order. At the time these tools were only available in Japan. The difference in Japanese & American sizing numbers and the way the cylinders were meant to be used was so confusing that I just read along, not interested in joining in the fascination.

Now Rio Grande is carrying them with English instructions and even this great little video that I found on You Tube. Finally, after two years, my interest is peaked! I'm kind of considered the ring lady by some of my jewelry making friends and I've found a few ways to make ring shanks that I think work well to make strong durable rings. This little gadget seems too easy to me, too "crafty" to be used by a true artist. But that attitude seems like more of the same prejudice that metal clay enthusiasts are used to hearing from the traditional jewelry world about the alleged simplicity of making fine jewelry from clay. Hmphf! Guess I need to put aside my pre conceived ideas and give these little gem makers a try. Have any of you used them? What do you think?


Rose said...

In all honesty, I think that a tool that helps you get whatever results you desire is a useful one. I don't think its cheating. Or too "crafty." It still takes skill to use and can be used as a starting point for designs...

I don't make rings... I wish I could but I don't have access to a kiln and I actually am just getting started in making jewelry. But, I was art student and debates about whether or not using certain tools was beneath us or even cheating was a regular thing at my art school. One person even thought using a ruler was cheating!

Anyhoo... I think its nifty and if it helps you get the look you want, I think its worth it.

Carmel said...

I bought one about a year ago and used it a few times. I found I still had a lot of smoothing to do and in the end the rings were a bit big for me. I put it away and forgot about it. It also felt a little like cheating, as you say.

I changed my mind about the ‘cheating’ last weekend. I attended a stone setting for metal clay course and discussed ring making with a few people who I really respect. They are using purchased ring bands and putting their artistic effort into other parts of the rings – with wonderful results. I decided to give the ring maker another go.

My attempt last night still had lots of cracks and one side ended up flat and the other rounded but I am going to persevere this weekend. If I have more success I am going to buy a smaller but wider size.

One thing I really can't work out though is why they are so expensive.

Angela said...

Nice video. Did you notice it's Kevin's voice ?

Angela said...
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