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  It’s the latest rage. It’s actually an old rage. All I know is that it is outrageous that I cannot seem to make a cuff from metal clay. I’ve seen photos of beautiful cuffs made out of all different kinds of metal clay. There are not a lot of instructions on how to do this. It seems it’s much easier to work it like a metalsmith. I’ve seen Tim McCreight’s work and believe me, I am no Tim McCreight.
First of all, I tried something new. Logic. Every cuff I’ve ever had, had some flexibility. This doesn’t seem to be an option. Flexibility makes it ease to tighten the cuff or loosen it or even put it on. Someone kindly tells me you can put your cuff on sideways with a smaller opening and turn it. OK. I’ll bite. I have a copper cuff forming thing and I put some clingy wrap around it as I am advised to do and then I shape the cuff on my cutting board and then gently lift it to put around the forming thing. It falls apart in slow motion and I am silently cursing like a truck-driver. OK, not all truck-drivers curse, but I’m just sayin…I tell my story of woe to the various groups online and someone says, build the cuff on the mould. Alright. I start doing that, forgetting the clingy wrap and it’s falling off and I am patching it up until it looks like a quilt made by the Amish who were raised in New York City. This doesn’t work. I try two more times, at this point I cannot remember how I tried….one breaks in greenware. It’ a clean break. Yipee. With a smooth dash of distilled water (yes, everyone insists on distilled water) I make a light swoosh on the crack and squidge the two pieces together and start to pray. Then I turn into my mother. I start talking to them. “If you two can’t stay together nicely, you’ll just see what I’ll do. It’s not supposed to be that hard. All of my friends’ cuffs behave nicely so don’t give me any more problems.”

Yes, I dialogue with my pieces. Sometimes I pretend they are part of the mob and I’m a cop and tell them I have ways to make them stick, etc…Call me crazy. It won’t be the first time or the last. The cuff will not stay. I try paste made properly with the oil…No luck. Now I have too beautifully sanded arches and by golly, I am not going to let them go to waste. I never say “golly” by the way. I can’t write what I really say. I fire them. I take them out. I use some epoxy and stagger them together and make a long necklace. My daughter, the fashion expert comes into town and says, “I have to have that.” If she only knew the karma behind all of this, she would have smudged the room with sage and cleansed herself at a sweat lodge. She took it anyway. She wears it and she’s happy. My daughter is happy. I’m happy. However, I haven’t given up.

It so happens that I have a whole whack of steel clay from about 7 months ago and it’s starting to oxidize before my very eyes. I roll it all out. I texture it with a wavy stamp and put it again on the cuff mold. I have some clay left over and now I am really going to town because at this point I’m just don’t care…what else can happen? I gently lift it and put it around the mould and if I tell you it stays on would you believe me? No? You’re right. It start’s cracking here and there and so I start misting there and here and with that leftover clay I whip out the extruder, thank you Wanaree Tanner for the video, and squeeze out some spaghetti lines and apply them on top of the cuff, figuring that this may be an architectural fix. Clearly I am not of sound mind. I plan on leaving the cuff on the mould for a month. ( I can’t find a dehydrator if my life depended on it, but that’s another story.) The next day, the adorned steel cuff it’s cracking and the little pieces of tubing design come apart if you just look at it. Again, I mist it. Again, I missed it. See the irony?

As I write this, the ugly steel thing is across the hall in my studio is laughing at me. What he doesn’t know, (yes, it’s a he) I’m counting on ugly turning into funky. One day I will make cuffs and bracelets and arm bands until those broken pieces are ashamed of themselves.
What DOES it take to make one of these. I see them on covers of metal clay magazines everywhere. I’ve figured it out. Photoshop. Now, that’s not fair.