Last month I really let my creativity run wild, I wanted to make a magical one of a kind piece. And here she is, a little fairy door complete with a tiny working door knocker, that makes a delightful tinkling sound as it moves!
I adore all things magical, and I really challenged myself with a working element in my design. I started the process with a little sketch, including the elements I wanted to incorporate such as the use of a Birch twig as the door frame. The design from the original sketch developed in the making process, with the addition of tiny ivy leaf as embellishments, the idea of the little door knocker and the hidden bail came to me as I was creating the piece.
Work In Progress
I used the brand of clay from FYI ( which stands for - For Your Inspiration) I used the FYI 999 as it has a high shrinkage rate,making it perfect for all of the tiny details in the design. It also takes quite a while to dry which is great when working on such a detailed piece.
I started by making the main part if the door. I used some brilliant textured wall paper sample from B&Q that I thought looked like the bark of a tree, for the back of the piece.
For the front of the piece I used a gorgeous wood grain textured mat from www.metalclay.co.uk. I rolled out the clay over the texture wall paper sample and the laid the texture mat to the front of the piece, I rolled it once firmly to get the wood grain impression on to the clay.
The next step was to make the little door frames. I had made some moulds from a previous project with a little Silver Birch twig and thought they would be perfect for this project too.
I rolled the clay in to a little sausage shape, and pressed it in to the mould. I then rolled over the top with my acrylic roller, to create a smooth back. I then popped the clay out of the moulds and cut them down to size (as I needed three pieces, one for each side.)
I gently laid them in place on the door piece and fixed them in place with a little water around the edges. I then left this to dry as I made the bail and little toadstool.
The bail was made in the same way as the door frame with a cast using the silver Birch twig, this time I cut it to size and laid it across a straw to make the bail ( so it didn't stick I coated the straw in a little badger balm.) This was
then left to dry .
The adorable little toadstool was hand carved. I rolled out the clay to 3 cards thick and free hand cut out the shape of the toadstool. I then added the details on to the toadstool using my clay sculpting tools. The little Toadstool was then fixed in place on to the door with a little water and paste ( made from the silver clay and water)
I made my little logo badge also using 3 card thick clay and stamping my logo on using the stamp created from the talented Rayven Studio Laser (on Etsy) I used a little circle cutter to cut around the log, and set it aside to dry.
When the door was dried I fixed the bail and little logo on the back of the piece using a little paste and water.
Work in progress
The piece was almost finished but I felt that I needed to add a little something more. No self respecting fairy door is complete without a little embellishment after all!
I hand carved some little ivy leaves in the same way I made the toadstool, by rolling 3 cards think clay and hand carving the tiny leaves, I then added the details with my sculpting tool. The vines were made by rolling clay in to very fine sausage shapes. This was then draped over the little door frame, trailing from both the front and back of the frame. When I was happy with how this looked I fixed it in place with a little water and paste. The leaves were then carefully added onto the vine in the same way.
The final element was a very exciting one, I thought about adding a little door knocker, then thought how cool would it be if it actually moved?!
I recently took an online course with the uber talented Julia Rai via the awesome Jewellers Academy on fancy bails and bezels.
On this course one of the beautiful bails I learnt to make was a moving bail. I wondered if this technique would work in the same way in my design, with part of it was attached to the back plate.. I made the little circle knocker with a cast of the Birch twig, formed in to a circle and fixed in place with a little water, and left this to dry.
The next element was the piece that would hold the knocker in place and fix to the door. I rolled out a very thin piece of clay over the same texture mat I used for the door, and measured the size of the circle knocker as it would need to be narrower to allow the knocker to move. I used a small straw ( coated in badger balm so it didn't stick) to drape the clay over ( making a very small, thin bail)
When both of these elements were dry I very carefully laid them on the door , threading the knocker through the bail, and gently moved the knocker to see if it moved... and it did! phew! The next bit was very tricky, I attached the bail to the door using paste and a little water and had to make sure the knocker didn't stick, or get any water on it!
When it was all dry (and after one final test of the knocker! )
I fired it in my trusty kiln, on a little fire blanket placed on a kiln shelf to protect the back of the design, for 90 mind at 860 degrees.
When it had cooled I gave it a brush with my wire brush and soapy water , before giving it a little bath in Liver of Sulphate to give it that gorgeous aged look. To really highlight the details I polished up the piece using sponge sanding pads and a final shine with a polishing cloth.
The pendant was then hung from an 18 inch sterling silver snake chain.
The finished piece
I learned so much making this piece, It is bar far the most intricate and technical piece I have made to date, and loved every second creating it. I hope you love the finished piece as much as I loved making it.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post, I hope you found it interesting to take a glance in to what goes on behind the scenes and of the making process of my work.
Love and magic sprinkles