The company that recycles the silver gets their silver from old silverware, as well as old x-rays and photographic negatives (so many stories are embedded in my jewelry!). They extract the pure silver particles and mix it with a plant-based organic binder and water, creating “metal clay,” which is the product I use to make my jewelry. Metal Clay was invented in Japan in the 1990s, so it is relatively new.
Metal clay feels and looks like clay, and I work it like clay. Once it dries, I fire the finished piece in a kiln. The organic binder burns off , the silver sinters, and I am left with pure silver. Kind of like magic!
Once it comes out of the kiln, I brush each piece with a brass brush to make the silver shine. I hammer some pieces, then put most of them in a tumbler to shine them even more. For many of my pieces, I also add a liver of sulfur patina, which turns the entire piece black (or in some cases, brilliant hues). To finish, I shine the patina off the raised surfaces, leaving the recessed areas dark, and the raised areas shiny silver, making the texture of the piece pop.
When the actual piece is complete, I add ear wires or chain, and solder any jump rings so that the piece is sturdy. Then it's ready to be worn!
A finished necklace, hammered with patina. Warrior Necklace.