Creativity is Contagious

Have you ever heard of metal clay? I ask that of pretty much every person who walks through the doors of Heart and Stone. No is the answer I most often get and almost everyone is interested to hear more…It boggles my mind (how could so few have heard of metal clay?) but strengthens my resolve to create a space to teach, share and spread the word about this amazing new medium.

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Metal Clay has not been around that long. It came to the US in 1996. It’s pretty amazing stuff! The short version is this: Silver or precious metal clay is fine particles of silver (think metal powder) mixed with an organic binder & water. You work with it like clay. You can roll it out, texture it, cut it, paste pieces together, and so much more. When you fire it in a kiln the binder burns off and you’re left with your silver piece. (or whatever metal clay you started with.) Fast forward to 2014 metal is now available in a sorts of base metal alloys; different colors of bronze, steel, copper.

One of my all time favorite metal clay artists, Hadar Jacobson.

One of my all time favorite metal clay artists, Hadar Jacobson.

Pure Silver aka Fine Silver, one of the precious metals, is by far the easiest to work with in terms of the firing process so even though it’s a bit pricey it is a great introduction to the world of metal clay. Working with metal clay is bit tricky at first until you learn the basics. Once you do you can really get creative! (check out our open studio option!)

Pods Pendant made by Nancy Marland in her 1st Intro to Metal Clay Class!

Pods Pendant made by Nancy Marland in her 1st Intro to Metal Clay Class!

I have been blown away by some of the work coming out of our Metal Clay Classes. The atmosphere in the studio when class is going on can be pretty electrifying. It’s one of my very favorite times at Heart and Stone whether I’m teaching or whether it’s one of our other great certified Metal Clay Instructors. (my other favorite time is designing custom charm necklaces one-on-one and in person! I’ve been doing it over the internet for so long now. It is so creatively freeing to be face-to-face.)

Senior Certified Art Clay Instructor Lis-el Crowley teaching her advanced rings class.

Senior Certified Art Clay Instructor Lis-el Crowley teaching her advanced rings class.

I just had the opportunity to work with a super fun girl scout troop. They wanted to have a metal clay party and make gifts for their troop leaders. They had been together as troop for several years and it was their last year together. The gifts had to be extra special and from the heart. It was A LOT of girls in a very short amount of time so we had to work fast!

Since I could not just give silver clay to 13 girls and have them go at it what would I do? I devised a particular project for them. The project was a layered, textured, initial pendant. They designed their own by choosing their textures, shapes and font styles. Other than that I gave them no parameters. What really blew me away was the creativity of the group as a whole. They are all so totally different. I love how they really thought outside the box in terms of shapes and placements of the initials. It was really fun to see their faces when they came to pick them up!

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It went so well that I finally devised our Birthday Party Package for ages 10-13!

Thank you girl scout troop and everyone else who has ventured into our DIY Design Studio for Metal Clay! Your infectious creativity has inspired me to try new things and continue my mission to share this with others.

To find out more about Classes, Private Parties and Open Studio join our Mailing List. You’ll be the 1st to know when we have new classes and other metal clay special events.

****Special Offer****When you sign up any Intro Class in June (metal clay 101 or 102) you’ll get a certificate for a free open studio when you arrive the day of class! Sign up now. Space is limited.

Another Inspiring Day with Metal Clay

I felt like a proud mama..but this time it was not my kids I was beaming over. It was the watching the new “DIY Design & Learning Studio for Metal Clay” I created in my new space come to life. Not just come to life, it was so much more than that –  it was buzzing with inspiration and creativity and all around good juju. I was grinning from ear to ear all day.

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Senior Certified Art Clay Instructor Lisel Crowley teaches her Metal Clay: Hollow Forms Class in the DIY Design & Learning Studi at Heart and Stone.

Lis-el Crowley, who is a senior certified art clay instructor, one of handful in the area was back to teach an advanced Hollow Forms Class last Saturday. Once you have the basics of working with metal clay you can really begin to explore the amazing possibilities. We had a really talented group! A few had only worked with metal clay one time in our 101 class and others had a few more hours under their belts. The photos speak better than I can so here they are….

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Freshly Fired Pieces ready to be tumbled

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Just some of finished lentils from the days class. Amazing work! What a great class it was!

Though it not super obvious from the angle of the pictures these finished pieces are all large hollow lentil shaped pendants. They are convex on both sides and hollow in the center. Most just still need a bail. Hollow forms are a great way to make a statement piece with not a lot of silver! Hollow forms will be running again in the late Spring. Join our Mailing List  to be notified of all of our upcoming classes and events! To see our current schedule visit this page.

The Live Hand-Cut Silhouette. A nearly lost art form?

Carol&girlWideSilhouettes. I really didn’t know much about them. I had seen the black cut out images in peoples homes before. I have studied art & photography and come across the silhouette. But use silhouettes in my jewelry line? I wasn’t so sure. Well I’ve changed my tune and here is why…

A few years ago my brother, who is an artist, wanted me to make silhouette charms for his wife, Sara. I tried to say no. I knew it would be a huge challenge. But he was really insistent and ready, willing and able to draw the outlined images of his two cherubs and hand them over.  And he is my little bro and I couldn’t say no. Giving the silhouette charms the H&S style factor would be difficult. I had seen silhouette jewelry before and it was not my cup of tea…a little too cute. What to do?

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I wanted something reminiscent of a large coin. So, with some difficulty and few mis-steps I finally made the 1st of these coin style silhouette charms. At the time I thought they were way too difficult and I would never ever make them again! It was Sara’s idea to wear them on 2 separate long chains at slightly different lengths. Love that!

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Fast forward a few years….We’ve learned a lot and cutting silhouettes in metal no longer seems such a daunting task. Check out the silhouette charm page with instructions on how to take good photos and order one of these. Or better yet read on because here is the fun part! There’s an even better way to get a your silhouettes. A few years ago I was at a craft fair and saw someone cutting silhouettes in black paper with just a tiny pair of scissors. The line was long and she the working hard! I was busy at my own booth so didn’t think much of it at the time but now that I was playing around with silhouettes I was curious. We did a little homework and found that Hand-Cut Silhouettes are nearly a lost art form from the 1700′s -predating photography by about 100 years. Silhouette cutting began as a popular alternative to expensive commissioned oil portraits. Although regaining popularity, this precious art form is still hard to find: only a handful of artists in the world still practice it today. There are about 20 silhouettes artists working in the US and one happens to live in my hometown. Coincidence? I think not! We got in touch with her immediately!

Tuesday April 29th famed Silhouette Artist Carol Lebeaux will be here at Heart and Stone Jewelry in Northboro cutting live silhouettes so be sure to book your slot! Get all the details & pricing here. 

carol Cutting 2It was great to have Carol in the shop. Not only is she a talented artist she is an amazing person with lots of great stories. In between sittings she shared tales of how she came to be in Vogue Magazine and how she coordinated an evening of silhouettes artists from around the country to cut silhouettes for Estee Lauder’s 500 guests!

Carol cut silhouettes of my two kids too! The cool thing is when she cuts them she folds the paper so you really can get two silhouettes at the same time facing in opposite directions. There really is quite artistry to this. Carol explained how the silhouette artists makes subtle variations when they cut to better translate the 3D object into this 2 dimensional heirloom. I now have a the perfect mother’s day gift all done and matted for both my mom and my mother- in-law. Plus I can’t wait to make my own Coin Style Silhouette Medallions for me using scans of carol’s silhouettes! Carol will be back at Heart and Stone this Tuesday April 29th. Book your 10 minute slots today! 

The Silhouette Event! Don’t Miss it!

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Tuesday 29th 2014 10am – 6pm

a portion of the proceeds will benefit

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Carol Lebeaux for article copyFamed Silhouette Artist Carol Lebeaux will be joining us to cut silhouettes from live models!

Bring in your kiddos to create the perfect Mother’s Day Gift. (it only takes a few minutes & wigglers are welcome )

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You can choose to matte & frame your hand cut silhouettes & have them turned into one of our beautiful heirloom quality charms.

This event will benefit the 15-40 Connection via some amazing raffles prizes generously donated by local business as well as 10% of sales of all Heart & Stone Jewelry.

Get a peak at who’s donating the raffle items here…

BlogPost_4Blog_post_2Carol Lebeaux’s Live Cut Silhouette Pricing:

Silhouette cut from live model – $33
Additional (opposite) Silhouette – $12 (get a set for both grandparents!)

Mattes – Dove Gray Acid Free

5×7 Matte $5.00 (for 1 silhouette)
8×10  Matte $7.00 (for 2 or 3 silhouettes)
11×14  Acid Free Matte $10.00 (for 4,5 or 6 silhouettes)

Classic Oval Frame (no mat required)-Black Wood with gold leaf lip

5×7 Frame $37.00 (for 1 silhouette)
8×10  Frame  $47.00 (for 2 or 3 silhouettes)
11×14  Frame $67.00 (for 4,5 or 6 silhouettes)

Silhouette Jewelry Pricing made from your live cut silhouettes: 

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Heart and Stone Silhouette fine silver Medallion. Turn your live cut silhouette into an heirloom quality fine silver medallion-Normally $295 Special Event Pricing $225!!! (10% will benefit the 15-40 Connection too!)

Heart and Stone Silhouette fine silver Bezel charm with paper silhouette insert  - Normally $125 each. Special Event Offer. When you buy 2 or more $95 each! (10% will benefit the 15-40 Connection too!) Picture coming as soon as I design it!!!

Check out who’ll be donating amazing raffle items.
Plus delicious cupcakes courtesy of CocoBeni Confections! 

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Silhouette Event to Benefit 15-40 Connection!

We are really excited about our upcoming Silhouette Event on Tuesday April 22nd (school vacation week) and Tuesday April 29th. We have famed Silhouette Artist Carol Lebeaux here to cut silhouettes from live models. It’s pretty amazing to see what Carol can do with a tiny pair of scissors, piece of black paper and 5 minutes! There are only a handful of silhouettes artists in the country and one of them lives in our midst! Come check it out. It is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift.

This event will benefit the 15-40 Connection through 10% of the sale of Heart and Stone Jewelry and through amazing raffle prizes generously donated by area businesses! A huge thanks these businesses. It’s quite a line up starting with delicious cupcakes courtesy of CocoBeni. You can visit their websites below.

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Metal Clay Open Studio!!!

Yeah! It’s been quite some time coming but we are finally ready to offer Open Studio Hours in our  “DIY Design & Learning Studio for Metal Clay”!

What does Open Studio mean exactly? During Open Studio Hours you can come use our Metal Clay work space and all our metal clay tools, textures, stamps etc. There is a $15 fee per day and that includes kiln firing of up to 3 pieces. There is no formal instruction available during these hours but someone from Heart and Stone will be there should you need a little assist. Metal clay and findings will be available for purchase.

If we get busy enough that we need to add registration to reserve spaces we will do so but in the meantime just drop by during any of these hours and stay as long as you like! If you will be coming with a group please let us know in advance as we are limited to 8 people at a time.

Open Studio Hours: Begins Tuesday March 4th

Tuesday – 4 – 9 pm
Thursday 4 – 9 pm
Sunday 12 – 6pm

Requirements: We ask you come to open studio having had some basic training in Metal Clay so you are familiar with all the tools and products and know how to properly use and care for them. We offer several basic classes. Click here for our current schedule.

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Vacation Week Metal Clay Mini-Classes!

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Join us this Vacation week and begin to explore the unlimited potential of Precious Metal Clay during this 3 hour basic introduction to Silver Metal Clay. Create a unique, one of a kind, pendant and/or earring set. This program is designed to give you hands on experience in the most basic techniques for working with metal clay.

You will learn what metal clay is, the different forms it comes in and how to best care for, work with and store it. An basic overview of tools and equipment will be provided. You will be shown best practices for working with the clay, including rolling, texturing & stamping, cutting, layering and drilling. Once you create your unique pieces, you will be shown how to sand and refine them. When class ends you will have a piece ready to fire in our kiln and be picked up in later in the week.

This 3-hour workshop will be offered daily tues through friday from 2 to 5 during school vacation week. Each 3 hour session is $45 plus materials.

***Materials***
Metal Clay will be available by the gram for purchase the day of class. People generally purchase between $20-$45 in silver clay.

Metal Clay is completely non-toxic and great for all ages however due to the expense of the silver clay we recommend a minimum age of 13. Younger than is sometimes ok too. It really depends on the child. They are all so different!

Space is limited to 8 people each day! Please register to reserve your spot or feel free to drop in space permitting. Registration will be opening in late March for this program. Check back here for the link. Thanks! Feel free to contact us with questions.

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Taught by Julie Booras: 
Julie Booras, the owner of Heart and Stone, has a degree in Fine Arts from the George Washington University where she studied photography and design. Julie has been working in metal clay and jewelry design since 2007. You can see Julie’s buildable charm collection at heartandstonejewelry.com or by visiting the store/studio at 269 West Main Street in Northborough. Julie’s work has been featured in national magazines including, People, Pregnancy & Newborn and Kiwi as well as on New England’s ABC’s Chronicle. 

In the event we need to cancel a class or workshop due to inclement weather, or illness you can choose to receive a refund or you can reserve a seat in a future session.

Register to reserve your space! Drop-ins welcome daily if space is available.

Senior Certified Metal Clay Instructor Lis-el Crowley is in the House Feb 1st!

When I got my start in metal clay in 2007 there were  not a lot of local resources at the time so I turned to the web for my education. There are some great metal clay forums on Yahoo Groups you can sign up for (free!) where you can learn a ton. While I was getting my education I read about many of the “big names” in metal clay: Holly Gage, Gordon Uyehara, Hadar Jacobson and Lis-el Crowley to name a few… Fast forward 7 years and while looking for someone to coordinate and teach metal clay classes in my new studio space I was contacted by one of those names I recognized!!!

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Lis-el Crowley will be teaching this Saturdays Feb 1st class Metal Clay 101 Class in our Northborough location. This is pretty exciting…we’ll have one of a handful of senior certificated Metal Clay Instructors in the house! So if you are interested in joining us now or in the future visit our Metal Class Classes – Schedule & Registration page here.  (there are still a few spaces left!)

Lis-el Crowley is a Senior Certified Art Clay instructor and has traveled and taught metal clay and other classes throughout the United States. Her work has appeared in magazines and online exhibits and is shown in galleries and shops throughout New England. She is the founder of the Metal Clay Artisan Guild in Connecticut and produced the Metal Clay Mojo Conference in Chester, CT in September of 2013.

Metal Clay Class is in Session!

Our DIY Design & Learning Studio for Metal Clay Jewelry is in session!  Six months after we moved in we are finally ready to roll thanks to the help of Lis-el Crowley. Lis-el is a Senior Certified Metal Clay instructor and has traveled throughout the US teaching metal clay classes. Lis-el will be creating the class program and be teaching here a few times a month! We had our 1st class this past saturday. Alexis Crowley, (Lis-el’s daughter) also a certified Art Clay Instructor, came to teach all about basics of metal clay  including texturing, layering and making coils. The pieces were fired and finished so everyone went home with one or more pieces of silver jewelry that they made themselves. How awesome is that?! For more information about upcoming classes please visit here.

IMG_3699We had some great pieces come out of our first class! A huge thanks to Monique for taking these pictures from her very 1st class. They really help illustrate the process. Monique used about 30 grams of clay to make these rather large pieces.

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Leather Hard Silver Metal Clay. The final pieces before going into the kiln.

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Your Pure Silver Pieces after firing!

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The silver pieces have been oxidized.

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The oxidation has been removed from the high spots to give an antiqued finished. (The oxidation stage is optional if you like a more traditional shiny look, that can also be achieved.)

For more information about upcoming classes please visit here.