~~I have wanted to create ever since I can remember. My earliest memory is from when we lived in little trailer in Williston, ND. A young woman did crafts with the kids in a gazebo. I remember telling her that I could “draw cars good”.
I discovered metal clay in 2004 when a bead shop opened in Rogers in 2003. I
became a regular and loved making beaded watch bands. I was given the catalog for Bead and Button show for the next summer. I kept looking at the metal clay examples and saying, “This looks like metal. This looks like metal.” I’d taken a traditional jewelry class decades earlier but couldn’t afford the equipment. Plus, sawing and soldering just didn’t trip my trigger. I love the direct sculptural quality of metal clay. I was like a kid in a candy store window. I couldn’t get enough of it. I read everything I could get my hands on.”
I received my certifications in 2004 after taking an intro class. I entered every North American Design competition sponsored by Art Clay World and Art Clay, Japan for the four years it was offered. I entered six pieces the first year and each won an award including the Presidential Grand Prize. That necklace has become my signature piece in silver and gold.
Several years later, Bill Struve from the US perfected base metal clays. I started working with bronze and soon left my silver working behind. Not just because of the difference is cost but I, like my customers are drawn to the warmth and beauty of the metal.
For those of you not familiar with metal clay, it is also known as powdered metallurgy. It consists of microscopic powdered metal, water and a cellulose binder (think potato starch). Every over whip your mashed potatoes? The material has the consistency of clay and can be manipulated in any way that clay can. Once it is dry, it is fired in a kiln (time and temperature depends on what type of clay is being used). The binder burns off leaving only the metal behind.
My passion has never ebbed for this method of design. A fellow artist asked me, do I ever run out of ideas. The answer is a big NO. They just seem to tumble out. I have a quote by Andre Gide on my web site. “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist. The less the artist does, the better.”
KATE QUALLEY PETERSON
ON Q DESIGNS