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Published Mar 9, 2022

I have been experimenting lately with how to make clay jewelry. Mostly I have been working with clay slabs, but there are countless methods for making ceramic jewelry. Body adornment is one of the oldest art forms so it is no surprise that clay has been used as a jewelry making material for a very long time. 

Today, I am sharing a nice little project from Joanna Veevers, excerpted from the book Ceramic Jewelry. Joanna shows how to make clay jewelry by scratching into a plaster slab and then pouring and painting on casting slips of different colors. Take it away Joanna! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor

This ceramic jewelry making technique allows a fine, delicate line to be scored into the surface of a plaster block, which will form a raised decoration on the surface of soft clay pressed into it. This intricate design can be reproduced quickly once the plaster block has been made. A mirror image will be left in the clay surface, so any lettering needs to be scored in reverse.

1. The design is drawn onto a smooth plaster block with a pencil and then scratched into the surface with a scalpel. 2. Black casting slip is painted over the surface. When the slip has dried to leatherhard, the excess is scraped away with a metal kidney, leaving the design showing as black lines.

Joanna Veevers paints colored slips onto a plaster block into which she has scratched an intricate pattern. Then she creates a clay wall around the plaster slab and pours casting slip over it, which gives the thickness to the piece and picks up the detailed decoration.

Veevers shows in this series of images how she makes her intricate, patterned semi-porcelain brooches, sometimes using as many as five different colored casting slips in one piece.

3. Different colored casting slips are hand-painted into different areas. 4. A clay wall surrounds the block, and casting slip is flooded into the area. 5. When the clay sheet is turned over the black slip delineates the colors. The finished pieces are cut into individual brooches. Each brooch measures approximately 1 1/2 X 1 inch.

**First published in 2010.