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Metal Clay Tutorials and More

Learn something new


I've been writing articles, teaching, and speaking about techniques with Metal Clay in combination with metalsmith skills from the day I started my obsession. Sharing with others is my favorite part because it only feeds the pool of knowledge in the end. Here you will find Free tutoriala. Keep your eye on this page as I add more items. For more learning also see the 1 to 1 Mentoring Interactive Online Classes.

Complete Fire-in-Place Cultured Opal Guide
Complete Fire-in-Place Cultured
Opal Guide
by Holly Gage

Natural Opals cannot be fired in place in Metal Clay as they will become mere dust if you put extreme heat on them. This all changed when we discovered a Cultured Opal that can fire to 1650 F /900 C.

Now, the possibilities for artists working with Metal Clay and Opals have just burst wide open. Our minds went wild, and immediately we wanted our hands on them to see for ourselves the heat tolerances of the stones and what you could and couldn’t do.
I put these beauties through an extensive series of tests, and they were also tested by several Metal Clay experts using various Silver and Base Metal Clays. I went through a lot of trial and error I documented in several blogs, but once I understood what I needed to do, it was easy peasy, and now I share all the information gathering with you in this guide.

  • About Cultured Opals

  • What difference is there between Natural Opal, Imitation Opal, Fake Opal, Cultured Opal, 
Lab-Grown, and Synthetic Opal?

  • How to Fire in Place Cultured Opals in Metal Clay

  • Kiln and Torch Firing Cultured Opals

  • Handling, Setting, Tumbling, Finishing, and adding a Patina with Cultured Opals in place

  • Educating Customers about Cultured Opals, in Your Jewelry

Igniting Your Creativity by Holly Gage
Igniting Your Creativity
by Holly Gage

This document accompanies the full Webinar video, "Igniting Your Creativity" found on my blog.

Learn how to turn our many inspirations from a mere catalyst of thought and ideas into artistic creations through an action plan of seeing, experiencing, exploring, playing, and doing. So how do you take the leap from wanting to discover new modes of creativity to actually igniting the creative process? Read this tutorial for lots of ideas beyond what was presented in the video for :


  • Project starters.

  • Finding new inspirational sources.

  • Stimulating new ideas.

  • Igniting free thought to snuff out the doubts and allow for a new path of creative discovery.

Action Plan for Goal Making
Action Plan for Goal Making Worksheet
by Holly Gage

This document accompanies the full Webinar video, "Why am I so Overwhelmed?
Setting Successful Goals for Your Jewelry Business," found on my blog

When you own a jewelry business, you wear all hats. You are the creator, the bookkeeper, the social media marketer, the show hand, and you do it with a smile on your face rain or shine, or else no one will buy my goods, person. Therefore, clear, concise goals and a plan to get it all accomplished is essential. This worksheet will help you:
• Prioritizing goals.
• Identifying the benefits.
• Understanding the hurdles.
• How to develop a step-by-step plan.
• How to stay on track, and more.

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Finding My Artistic 
Jewelry Voice

by Holly Gage

This document accompanies the full Webinar video, Finding My Artistic Jewelry Voice" found on my blog, where I talk with five artists about creating a signature jewelry style, the steps helping them through 
their journey, and how 
they can help you. Questions to the panel included:

  • How did you start the process of creating your own jewelry line?

  • What motivations lead you to create a jewelry line?

  • What struggles did you need to overcome in making your jewelry line?

  • With so many outside influences, how did you separate your style from other jewelry artists?

  • Do you have any advice for others who want to create a jewelry line of their own?

You'll also be able to read their artist's statements to learn who they are, why they create jewelry, how they create it, and what influences them. In addition, we will talk about what makes a jewelry line distinctive and cohesive.

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Avoiding and Getting Rid of Distortion, Warping and Slumping Metal Clay 
by Holly Gage

Warping and Slumping can be avoided when you work with Metal Clay. Several factors can cause these distortions, so let's discuss methods for avoiding them on the front end of creating or fixing them on the back end if you encounter a problem.

  • How to Fix a Warped Piece in the Greenware Stage?

  • Why Metal Clay can Warp While Torch Firing.

  • Flattening a Fired and Warped Piece of Metal Clay with a Mallet.

  • Why Metal Clay Slumps and Warps in a Kiln.

  • Avoiding Horizontal Distortion.

  • Support Media in the Kiln to Avoid Slumping.

  • Two-Part Firing to Avoid Warping.

  • Altering Kiln Temperature to Avoid Warping.

  • Shaping Metal Clay After Firing.

Also, see my blog posts "Avoiding and Getting Rid of Distortion, Warping and
Slumping Metal Clay by Holly Gage"

Braking the Ice: Kiln Firing
Breaking the Ice: Kiln Firing
Fine Silver, 950 & 960 Metal Clay

by Holly Gage

After all the excitement of creating your Silver Metal Clay project, it’s time to sinter the metal into a beautiful piece of fine jewelry. To transform your creation from fragile greenware to a usable object, it will need to be fired at high temperatures. Kiln firing can open up a whole new world of creativity, allowing for large, more complicated items, enamels, and other heat-treated techniques.

• What You Can Expect and What Pieces Qualify When Kiln Firing.
• Kiln Set Up.
• Kiln Process for an Open Shelf or Open Air Firing.
• Selecting and Setting the Program to Run Your Kiln.
• Firing Flat and Dimensional items.
• Kiln Firing, Sintering, and Silver Metal Clay Basics.

• Firing PMC 925 Sterling Silver Metal Clay in Carbon

• Troubleshooting

Also, see my blog posts "Successful Post–Fired Metal Clay Connections" and
"How Do I Know If My Metal Clay Kiln Is Running Hot And How To Fix It?"


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Breaking the Ice: Torch Firing
by Holly Gage

Torch firing is a great way to get started with working with Fine Silver Metal Clay. It opens the door to making small pieces, earrings, charms, sculptural elements to be added to traditional metalsmithing, and so much more. For successful torch firing of Fine Silver Metal Clay, you need a well-sintered piece for strength and durability.

Also, see the Breaking the Ice: Torch Firing video on my blog
In the video, you will see the whole process for learning the essential skills of torch firing:
• Understand the importance of shrinkage and how to calculate it.
• Knowing what to look for in a fully sintered piece.
• How to use a torch.
• Knowing the hot and cool spots of your flame.
• How to know when your piece is done.
• How to avoid accidentally melting your piece.


How to take Better Jewelry Photographs o
How to Take Better Jewelry
Photographs on an iPhone or Cell Phone

by Holly Gage

I love sharing my student’s beautiful jewelry, so after each class, I always ask them to send me a beauty shot for that book I may finally write or share on social media. My interest is spreading joy and beauty, and also for them to experience the grand public reaction to validate their efforts. Many of my students don’t have a professional camera and take photos with their cell or mobile phones. With images being shown on the Internet, over e-mail with clients, and on your website, good pictures are a must!! So here are the basics to taking better pictures with your iPhone and inexpensive equipment. Many other brand cell phones have similar functions, so look in your photo editing software, and browse the choices. I using an iPhone SE, 13.7 software.

Recipes for using Liver of Sulfur on Silver
Beauty and the Beastly Smell
by Holly Gage

Liver of sulfur, a stinky jewelry studio standby, can be used to create beautiful patinas on Silver. This mysterious and stinky solution creates colors as dark as night or as beautiful as an iridescent rainbow. And they range from subtle gold to magenta, purple, and everything in between. For some, it’s not just the smell. It’s easy to be intimidated or baffled by the surprising results that can be achieved. Liver of sulfur (LOS) can be fun and spontaneous on one hand and unpredictable on the other. I’ve done quite a bit of research and a number of bench experiments to bring you solutions, recipes, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about using it with metal clay.

Artist ADD
Are you an Artist that wants More,
More, M.O.R.E.
by Holly Gage

Are you obsessed with your craft? Have moments where ideas come so fast through your head that eating, sleeping and keeping up your home is secondary? At the same time, you may have the tendency for several projects to be going at the same time and with every new idea you’re off to start another. Maybe you finish those projects or maybe they sit on your workbench for months. What about the direction of your jewelry business, have you been deliberate with your efforts or have you tried a number of creative approaches to succeed, but lack the focus to really jump start a true pattern of success? Is this the creative process at work or is this something else? Is it time for M.O.R.E. (Mastering Overactive & Random Creative Energy) in your life?

Mentor-Apprentice Relationships by Holly
How to Make a Mentor-Apprenticeship
a Win-Win Relationship
by Holly Gage

A Jewelry Mentor-Apprenticeship is an exciting, fulfilling relationship for both parties involved. As the mentor imparts valuable skills and knowledge to their student, the student helps the mentor in the studio, while teaching, at shows, with their
website, marketing, and more. It’s a relationship where each helps the other to grow and prosper, and it’s very rewarding.
This article outlines the ins and out of how to find your mentor/apprentice match, and navigate the relationship for a positive experience.

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