Metal Clay Academy Newsletter
Spring image 

May / June 2012
In This Issue
What's Your Inspiration
Did You Know...?
Christi Anderson
Quick Links




I apologise for the delay in getting this newsletter out to you and I can't quite believe that it's almost half way through the year! Where does the time go?

Well better late than never! And we have some great interviews for you - we talked to the incredibly talented Christi Anderson about her work and what makes her tick. And Kim Nogueria who is a master of automatons in metal clay - wait until you see her incredible piece she agreed to discuss for this newsletter. 

So, hopefully it's been worth the wait. Remember, if you have any ideas or suggestions for the newsletter or you would like to participate, feel free to drop me an email.

Emma Gordon 

This month seems to be about sad news for the metal clay community. Read on.

Aida have announced a rather large price increase in their Art Clay Silver products. As of the 1st of June there will be an increase in price of approximately 30%. One of the UK distributors Metal Clay Limited has released a statement which goes some way to explain Aida's decision;
"Change in Art Clay pricing - Aida has managed to keep the prices of metal clay as low as possible for a long time but, due to the historical high rate of the Japanese Yen appreciation against the US Dollar and Euro since last year, combined with the continuous high price of gold and silver and increases in manufacturing costs in Japan, they now need to be more realistic with how they price their products, in order to keep manufacturing and supplying us" For the full statement about the Art Clay price rise, click here.

Anna Campbell has helpfully compiled a table for UK suppliers and their current prices, which will be subject to change once the price hike comes into force. Check it out Anna Campbell's blog post about the Art Clay price increase here.

Art Clay World have just announced that they won't be running the biannual conference in 2013. They are calling on the metal clay manufacturers to get together and organise a conference for the community or for some other entity to take this on. Read the full statement from Art Clay World here. What do you guys think?





What's Your Inspiration?



Kim has been a production goldsmith for over a decade now. Building on those skills, she has taught herself enamelling, stone setting, metal clay, etching and keum-boo; which is amazing, since the piece that Kim has agreed to talk to us about is, by anyone's standards, a feat of construction and engineering in metal clay! Kim has a passion for automata and mechanical jewellery and has started to bring this passion to life in some of her jewellery. She has had her metal clay work published in Holly Gage's renowned 'The Art and Design of Metal Clay Jewellery' and has recently won Metal Clay Today's 'Metal Clay in Motion' juried competition. 


The piece she has chosen to speak to us about is her wonderfully evocative 'Threshold' mechanical pendant. She chose this piece specifically because it was a first for her on so many levels; the first time she has made hinges, the first time she had tried wet packing enamels and the first time she has incorporated found objects into her work. It's heartening for all of us to know that when she began the piece, she began with the basic assumption that she didn't have the mechanical knowledge to complete it. Is there a lesson in there for all of us? In facing her doubt, she found the whole process 'ridiculously exciting' and produced a piece which is not only beautiful, it works!

Threshold - with doors closed 


When we asked her what triggered the inspiration for this piece, she said it began with a quotation from the photographer W. Eugene Smith; "Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold." Kim had been thinking about making a piece with a moving boat upon waves, and these words triggered a myriad of thoughts and possibilities. What she didn't initially bank on, (although it became obvious as the piece was completed) was that this was also very pertinent to her own life. She had inadvertently chronicled her own heart's journey to the tropical island where she now lives. So, creating a piece which evokes a tale about a journey when committing to your heart's desire was very special to Kim and she confides, she can't make a piece like this until she has the words!


The body of the 'Threshold' piece is made with bronze and oxidised PMC; the idea being to replicate the look of old faded and timeworn maps. The pearl evokes purity and truth; the old compass indicates direction and the mirror on the back of the compass asks you to look deep inside yourself. Hiding behind a faded porthole made of mica, the glass enamel adds a brilliant glossy blue and foamy white to the waters - inviting you into the journey of your heart's desires and dreams as though for an ocean journey.  

Threshold with doors open 


So what inspires Kim? She tells us that she loves 'very old things'; antiques, abandoned and broken items no-one else wants, fragments in nature and the flotsam and jetsam which wash up on the beach near her home. Unsurprisingly she tells us she is also drawn to unusual mixed media metal work which can be used for its narrative possibilities. She looks to artists like Bettina Speckner, Silvia Walz and Kristin Beeler for the haunting and sometimes uncomfortable beauty that they create. It is clear from her work and her words, that Kim is a natural storyteller. If you want to know more about her story and work, please visit Kim Nogueria's website


Did You Know....?
The Metal Clay Academy has lots of information to browse through and this section just highlights an area you may have missed or have not looked at for a while.

Running a business in metal clay, whether you are training, selling your work or selling clay and tools can be tough. Especially in the current economic environment. If you are running such a business, then you'll know that any information specific to your sector can be invaluable.

The Metal Clay Academy has a whole load of resources you can browse through to help you. From general resources to insurance or photography, we are sure you'll find something of interest in this section. And don't forget, if you have a link or an invaluable piece of information to share with the Metal Clay community, we'd love to hear from you!

Click this link to have a look at our Metal Clay Business Resources pages.
Featured Artist



Christi Anderson has been working with metal clay since 2005. Rather than saying this is her business or a hobby, she tells her it's her life; that she hasn't put it down since she first discovered it! This obsession with clay has led her to be a very successful artist. She doesn't teach much by her own admission, doing maybe one or two classes each year. All of her income comes from selling her jewellery, including her Etsy site, various shows throughout the year and many loyal clientele who love to collect her pieces.


In addition to this Christi's work has won many awards, including the Bead Dreams Metal Clay award in 2009 and 2010. She has been published in the PMC Annual and she is now a finalist in the Saul Bell Awards with not one but two pieces making the final cut. She is also one of Cool Tools featured artists in their Metal Clay gallery and had projects printed in magazines like Belle Armoire Jewellery and Art Jewellery  



One of the two Saul Bell finalist pieces entitled Fiary Castle 

Christi is known for her amazingly intricate and detailed work which largely seems to have fairy-tale or enchanted themes, however, there is a dark underlying feeling to her work too, something almost macabre, a fairy-story with a sting in the tale. 


She tells us she likes her work to tell a story and have a strong connection to the wearer; books to keep secrets in, story lockets with bewitching themes and hearts with a history. Christi loves Art Nouveau and is particularly fond of the work by Kerr and the Unger Brothers. She also loves the mourning jewellery of the American Civil War period, and says that some of her work is distinctly Steampunk.


When working on her pieces, she tells us that her studio is a section of her house which is comfortable with a huge TV so that the kids are kept happy when they are about. She also has several indoor bird aviaries which house Australian and African finches. These are a constant source of entertainment for her as well as giving her inspiration. 


She loves using PMC+ and prefers it to any other type of clay. She finds that she gets the best detail from it and that the texture of the clay reminds her of porcelain. The tool she uses in most of her work is an Xacto knife carving the various intricate details that are her trademark, but her favourite is a tool she bought from Bob Burkett, sharpened at both ends and twisted in the centre. She uses it for her intricate carving.

The second Saul Bell piece - entitled The Guardian 

So with all her glorious work, does Christi have any favourites? Well it appears she does, her favourite is her pendant named 'Garden of Good and Evil' which was inspired by a visit to a New Orleans cemetery. Christi tells us 'I love cemetery art and I planned a trip to New Orleans with the kids one summer. I didn't find the cemetery I was looking for until late in the afternoon, just about twilight. I climbed the fence and took wonderful images. (I was a photographer for 11 years and this is my pet hobby). I found the birds settled and a stillness, I felt that I was being watched. I returned the next day to continue shooting and found the grounds alive with birds! Hurricane Katrina had knocked all the stained glass from the windows and the vines had flourished in the dampness and now climbed through those fancy metal plates. There were so many bird calls I couldn't begin to identify them all. Nesting in vines, window sills, trees, and even the statues themselves! It was enchanting! So one side of my garden of good and evil is the night I found the cemetery and the watchful stillness. The other side is the daytime jaunt and the different atmosphere that had overcome the grounds!'


The Garden of Good and Evil Window side
The window in the cemetary - the inspiration!
The Garden of Good and Evil Door side 




















She is currently working on a special piece called 'Sleeping Beauty's Heart' which features a stone heart with lots of spider webs, with mice crawling around, a cat sitting in a window waiting and a bird on the sill watching. It is then covered in thorny vines with roses. 


And what's next? Well Christi's time is mostly taken up with commissioned work, so it could be anybody's guess. One of the good things about 80% of her business coming from commissions is that she's not sure what will come next. However, that can raise its own challenges. Because of the time pressure she finds it tricky to complete her work with all the details she would like to include. Plus the fact that there is very little time to make something for herself! But, she's never stuck for inspiration and her sketchbook is always full of ideas.


To see more of Christi's work and perhaps create a little story of your own, please visit Christi Anderson's website and her Cool Tools gallery