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Filigree Cube Earrings
By Maggie Bergman © 2007

A beginners project

Tools:

Vegetable Oil
Heavy plastic or glass work surface
Playing cards or spacer strips
Scalpel or craft knife
Fine needle tool
Small paintbrush
Acrylic Roller
Flower Icing cutter (optional)
Small Torch (Kitchen shop: crème brulee type)
Stainless steel brush
Small Burnisher
Silver polishing cloth
Sandpaper: 400, 800, 1200 grit
Wire working pliers

Materials:

Cork Clay
PMC 3 Syringe Clay
9gr. PMC 3
10cm - 0.7mm Fine silver wire
Liver of Sulphur Patina (optional)
2 Sterling Silver Eye pins
2 Bali Cluster Ear wires
Crystals or beads to suit

 

Form a small piece of cork clay into a shape you like. I used small cube shapes here, but all sorts of shapes would work. Keep them flat front and back, and about 1cm thick. Make 2.
These cubes were 14 x 14 mm and 10 mm thick, just as a guide for you.
Stick the cork pieces on a toothpick and let them air-dry for a few days, until hard and not spongy when squeezed.
Start the syringe around the toothpick, we'll put the wire here later, so a small circle will do fine.

Keep applying PMC with the syringe, touch the nozzle down to adhere, then lift slightly off the surface and just guide it to fall in place. You can make a design or just let it fall freely, as I've done here.
Work small sections at a time, then use a fine, damp paintbrush to push sections to join to each other and to flatten sharp pieces that might be visible. An easy way to keep the pieces from getting damaged is by sticking the toothpick in a piece of styrofoam while they are drying.

Don't let the pieces dry completely, finish the syringe work, then make the little flowers and push in place. That way everything will 'squish' together well.

Roll out clay to 0.8mm thickness (about 3 playing cards)

Oil a flower cutter and cut 2 flower shapes
(these cutters are available from cake decorating shops or some kitchen shops)

Another option is to cut your own shapes, any shape you like, hearts could be nice.
Just use a scalpel, or a fine pin.

Apply a little dollop of syringe clay to the cork earring shapes and press the flower onto it with the back of a small brush. The edges of the flowers will come up to give a nice effect, the depression left by the brush will be used to glue the bead in after firing.

Make a small eye pin from 0.7mm fine silver wire. (Do not use sterling silver wire, it needs a very low firing otherwise it will get brittle)

Put a small dollop of syringe clay into the hole where the toothpick has been, and push the eye pin in. Use a damp brush to neaten the clay over the loop, apply a bit more syringe clay if needed.
Fire the pieces, you can use a kiln if you have access to one, or use the Creme Brulee torch. Make sure to have good ventilation while the cork burns away. Keep the piece at a light orange glow for 3 minutes. Better to fire longer and be sure to have a strong piece. Watch out for glittering on the surface of the silver, this is the sign that you are firing too hot and starting to melt the piece.

Apply a patina to the earrings and sand back the highlights. Burnish to get a nice high luster finish.

Glue the bead in place. I use 24 hr Araldite. In these earrings I used 6mm Fuchsia Bi-cone Crystals, combined with 4mm Peridot bi-cones. I glued them on with the holes across so they can't be seen too easily.

Make a wrapped loop in a piece of 0.7mm silver wire, slide your chosen beads on and make another wrapped loop on the other side.

Attach to the ear wires.

Lots of other beads could look good, pearls for instance could be stunning!

Play with some combinations, have fun with some colours!

That's it! All finished! I hope you had fun doing this project.
© Maggie Bergman 2007