Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rachel Miller: : Precious Metal Clay

Today we are visiting the studio of Rachel Miller, precious metal clay designer.
Rachel, a former painter and sportswear designer, has been creating jewelry and Judaica for more than five years in her home studio.
She began making wire-wrap jewelry and then took the plunge and purchased a kiln. "I just wanted to be able to make more [of my pieces] on my own," she says. (Can you see the delicate heart in the middle of these Star of David necklaces?)
She is now PMC certified, as well as certified to teach.

Her inspiration board holds ideas for future projects, works in progress, fan mail and tidbits from her daughters.

Rachel's work begins with a sketch. Her mezuzahs have an international following. 
Today she is designing a mezuzah in the likeness of a Brownstone. 
After she creates a design, she makes plates so that she can imprint her clay uniformly with her designs. The brick pattern, for example, is a drawing that she had made into a plate.
Below are some plate designs.
After her main piece is constructed, she'll begin the intricate, finishing details.

Her work is so exact.
She uses molds and stamps that she collects and makes herself.
Her pieces are fired in her kiln at 1600 degrees for two hours. Then they head to her finishing table where they are polished.
When the clay work is complete, Rachel begins constructing her jewelry. She only uses real gemstones and fine silver.
Rachel says her biggest challenge is finding enough time to create. "You have to surround yourself with people who support you," she says.
Two of Rachel's pieces were selected for this year's PMC Annual, published by the PMC Guild. This is a huge honor.

You can see Rachel's work in person this weekend:
Sunday, November 21
Thanks Rachel!

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