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Silver clay artist to host workshop at Kentuck

Rebecca Howard

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Spreading the creativity and knowledge of her jewelry crafting techniques, a Tuscaloosa local artist is offering a silver clay jewelry making class at the Kentuck Annex on Jan. 28. Debbie Cooper has practiced the molding of silver clay for many years and provides innovative creations through her class.

Owner of the IronGoddess Studio, Cooper combines gold, pure silver, copper and bronze into her creations. Her class ignited such a great interest during the first one, she offered that the Jan. 28 class is already full. Kentuck, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the arts, is hosting Cooper’s class. Kentuck Program Manager Valerie Piette said it was Cooper’s idea to start a class with the medium she felt experienced in already.

Silver clay jewelry is created from molding clay that silver is intertwined throughout, said Piette. After the clay is molded, formed or pressed into a desired shape and size, it is heated up in a kiln or by a blowtorch. While the piece is being heated, the clay falls away leaving only silver. After the silver is left alone, the pieces are polished, color treated and combined with freshwater pearls or semiprecious stones.

“It was a medium she was working with and decided to pass her knowledge,” Piette said. “Her first class was successful and a couple people who took her class are now making jewelry in our show every third Saturday.”

Harriet Crunk, one of the artists who took the class, has been involved in Kentuck’s Saturday art fair, a la cARTe, for several months, Piette said. Although Crunk doesn’t sell silver clay, she said she enjoys making it for her own personal jewelry collection.

“Debbie is a wonderful teacher and there is no way you’re going to mess up,” Crunk said. “I had never done anything like this until I walked into her class, which is excellent. She has all the tools, clay and everything you need for the finished product.”

Crunk takes her own personal jewelry that consists of copper and stone down to Kentuck’s weekend festivals. Crunk said she hopes that a la cARTe, which takes place every third Saturday of the month, will be a continued celebration of the art in Downtown Northport. The art fairs offer many activities for kids and create a good environment for families to spend time together.

“There is no cost and it’s a good way to spend a Saturday morning, “Crunk said.

Although Cooper’s silver clay class is full this weekend, Piette said Kentuck is beginning to incorporate arts and crafts into Art Night, which is the first Thursday of every month from 5 – 9 p.m. The first section will be March 1, where artist Cecily Chaney will be leading a copper jewelry project called Copper Jewelry Blitz. The class will range from $5 to $25 depending on what students decide to make. Piette said Chaney provides a bag of materials that each student can create from.

“March is kind of the experiment that will hopefully continue, and at every Art Night we’ll have a small activity that people can participate in if they wish,” Piette said.

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Silver clay artist to host workshop at Kentuck