Double-Strand Necklace with Copper Chain, BRONZclay™ and COPPRclay™

Pinch off a bit of BRONZclay, the size of a strawberry, from the brick in the packaging. Add water and condition the clay. Wrap the clay in plastic wrap until you are ready to begin working with the clay.
Lightly oil your hands, work surface, a straw and the roller with olive oil. Apply olive oil to the texture plate so you are sure the oil is in the crevices of the texture. Unwrap the clay and pinch off half (rewrap the remaining half so it remains moist and pliable).
Place the new pinch of clay in between two stacks of slats, 7-high.

Using the roller, begin to roll out the clay. After passing over the clay twice with the roller, pick it up and flip it over--this will help prevent the clay from sticking to your work surface. If the clay is already sticking, ball the clay up, re-oil the work surface and start again. Roll the clay until it is the thickness of the slats.

Tip: As you roll out the clay, have a sense of the final shape you need so you can dictate the movement of the clay as it is thinned out.
Pick up the clay and place it onto the oiled area of the texture plate. Place slats, 5-high, on either side of the clay, placing the slats on top of the texture plate. Roll the clay out until it is the thickness of the slats.

Remove the clay from the texture plate and place it onto the oiled area of the straw. While holding the clay that is already on the straw, carefully wrap the rest of the clay around the straw until each side meets and you have a little bit of an overlap.

If you have a large overlap, use the super slicer to trim the excess.

Where the two sides overlap, press on the clay to bring the two layers together and blend so there is little evidence of the seam.

Using a paintbrush, apply water to this area to assure the layers meld together. Depending on the pressure you used for this step, you may find the texture is distorted in the overlapped area--gently press the texture plate on the spots that need touch up. If needed, use the super slicer to trim the ends of the tube. Set the straw aside so the clay can dry.

Tip: You can place the straw across two cups or other stable objects so the clay is not resting on a flat surface.
Once the clay starts drying and is firmer, carefully move the tube down the length of the straw until it is removed. If the tube doesn't want to budge or you are distorting the shape, wait a little longer. Once the clay tube is removed, set it aside to dry where it won't be disturbed.

Tip: By removing the tube from the straw, more of the surface area is exposed so there will be less drying time; also, as the clay dries it shrinks--the shrinkage could cause cracking as the clay shrinks against the straw or it could become "stuck" and not be able to be removed at all.
Unwrap the clay in the plastic wrap and pinch off a small amount; rewrap the remaining clay. Place the clay onto your work surface between two stacks of slats, 5-high. Roll the clay out as you did in Step 3. Move the clay to a non-stick work sheet. Using the small circle cutter, cut out two discs. Using the point of an awl, place a hole in the center of each disc. Set these aside to dry.
Once everything is dry, use the salon boards and the polishing papers to refine the edges and the outside of the tubes and circles. Use the round jeweler's file to refine the hole in each circle (this hole will be used for stringing your tube bead after firing).

Unwrap the clay and pinch off a small amount. Using your fingers, roll the clay into a thin snake of clay, thicker than the walls of the tube. Using a paintbrush, wet the underside of a disc and the edge of the tube.

Press the snake onto the edge of the tube and then press the disc on, making sure the disc is centered over the tube.

Apply a bead of water all the way around and then blend the excess paste so it is worked into the texture or so you have an additional layer of texture along the edge.

Repeat for the other end of the tube. Set the tube bead aside to dry.
Refine the tube bead using the jeweler's files and polishing papers until it is as you would like it to be.
Fire the tube bead along with a test piece, following the "Tips for Working with Bronze and Copper Metal Clays" found online.
Once the bead is fired, and you are sure the clay sintered properly (assess the test piece to see how the firing went), decide if you are happy with the finish or if you'd like a brighter shine. If you are happy with the finish, the bead is complete. If you would like a brighter shine, brush the surface of the bead with the steel-wire brush and polishing papers, using them in progressive grits, working from most coarse to most fine. From there you can use the burnisher to bring out a higher polish, or you can place the tube bead into a rotary tumbler with mixed steel shot and burnishing compound for a very high polish.

Assembling the Tassel and Necklace

Large loops of chain are added to the tassel, allowing you to wear the necklace at different lengths depending on your outfit or the look you are going for.
Using flush-cutters, cut a 15-inch length of 4.8x3.3mm chain.

Cut one of each the following lengths of 5x3.5mm chain:
  • 5 inches
  • 8 inches
  • 10 inches
Onto a ball headpin, place a rondelle, a tube bead and a turquoise heishi. Place a pair of round-nose pliers horizontally above the last bead. Bend the wire to a 90-degree angle. Rotate the pliers to vertical then bring the bent wire up and over the barrel of the pliers to begin a loop. Slip the partially formed loop through the last link on one end of the 15-inch length of 4.8x3.3mm chain. Finish wrapping the loop to secure the copper bead drop to the chain.

Repeat adding as many copper bead drops to this section of the chain as you'd like. Repeat adding turquoise bead drops to the chain, adding color and more texture to the tassel.
Using a pair of chain-nose pliers and flat-nose pliers, open a jumpring. Put the open ring through the last loop on one end of the 5-inch length of 5x3.5mm chain and a link in the 4.8x3.3mm chain, approximately 5-1/2 inches from the end opposite the beaded tassel. Close the jumpring.
Open a jumpring then put the open ring through the last link on each end of the 10-inch length of 5x3.5mm chain and the last link of the 4.8x3.3mm chain, opposite the tassel.
Open a jumpring then put the open ring through the last link on each end of the 8-inch length of 5x3.5mm chain and the link in the center of the 10-inch length of chain added in Step 4.

Loop the beaded tassel through one of the loops to wear it long or short. Add more loops of chain to offer more options.

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