I love working in the exciting new medium of metal clay. It allows the artist to design high tech or in an extremely organic manner. While beginners can achieve success in a short four-hour class, taking home a finished piece, the seasoned artisan can make jewelry of the highest complexity and difficulty. The industry started in Japan with two companies manufacturing silver and gold clays. (See: What Is Metal Clay) Development in the field has grown exponentially in the last few years with the recent development in the United States of bronze and copper clays. Even steel and stainless steel clays are now available. Further work is being done with firing methods and times for these newer base metal clays. These have opened up the world of metal clay to more people, because of their lower cost. I love the bronze with the natural patina finish from charcoal firing because the colors not only impart a warm feel visually but the pieces just beg to be touched and, even then, don’t feel cold or hard like most metal.
I became aware of metal clay as a product in 2004 and devoured everything I could find out about it on the Internet. Shortly after that I began my class work to attain my Senior Certified Instructor status with Art Clay Silver, a product of Aida Corporation, Japan. This allows me to not only teach intro and intermediate level classes, but also certify others in the First and Senior levels in my basement studio. From the beginning I have been fortunate to have my work recognized many times by Art Clay World through their annual North American Design Competition.
In college I majored in music and art, but it was at a time when jewelry was considered a craft, so I had little exposure to the medium. The process of sawing and soldering always left me a little cold, as well, but I loved getting my hands dirty with clay. I guess that’s why I love the metal clay so much. The artistic connection is very direct and tactile.
I live in a small, originally agricultural, community only 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis on a 17 acre ranch. My husband and I are both retired public school teachers. He is pursuing his love of the Arabian horse, breeding and teaching riding lessons. In the summer he runs a mentorship program for young equine enthusiasts while I run off to do art shows. My elderly mother lives with us and she used to attend the shows with me to help out but it’s become too difficult for her these last few years. The kids are grown and the grandkids (two boys, one girl) are all in high school now. If we could leave one thing with them it would be, “Do what you love most.”
On Q Designs Rogers, MN, 763-428-4695 Kate Qualley Peterson email@example.com