We are pleased to partner with Lark Books and author Sara Jayne Cole to bring you this excerpt from Sara’s recently published book, Metal Clay Origami Jewelry. In the book, Sara combines the worlds of origami with metal clay to achieve fun and interesting results. The book opens with instruction on the basics of origami, including nine different kinds of folds, then shows how to bring the techniques of origami into the world metal clay.
With the basics down, Sara leads her reader through 25 fun projects. Below is the first project in the book, in which readers get to practice the basic folds to turn a 5g sheet of PMC+ into a diagonal fold ring. As the book progresses, the lessons learned in previous projects are applied so that, by the end, the reader is using origami techniques to make some fabulously unique pieces. Enjoy!
Diagonal Fold Ring
Tip: If you practice these folds first in paper – and surely you will – a glue stick or some very small paper clips will come in handy.
- Using a soft lead pencil and a ruler, draw a diagonal line between two opposite corners of the sheet. This is just the centerline; it will not be folded. Don’t press hard with the pencil when drawing the lines, to avoid tearing the metal clay sheet.
- On each side of the centerline, draw seven lines parallel to it. The first should be 1/8 inch (3mm) from the centerline; the rest should be 1⁄4 inch (6mm) apart.
- Make the first folds along the lines on either side of the centerline. Mountain-fold these two lines, then valley-fold the adjacent lines, creating a diagonal center pleat.
- Completing one side at a time, alternate mountain and valley folds along the drawn lines. Make the valley fold a little before the drawn line, so the folded edges fall alongside each other; they should point in the same direction as the folded edges of the first pleat. Press these folds against the work surface with your fingers to make them stay in place.
- Fold the other side of the sheet as in step 4, making sure the folded edges point away from the center.
- Fold the piece in half end to end, with the pleat on the outside and the longest points meeting. Press this halfway fold.
- Make two more folds on each side of the halfway fold, folding each side back up and down again. The folds should decrease in height on each side of the halfway fold. There should be a total of five folded edges.
- Stand the piece up. Holding the outer edges of the center group of pleats, tug out and down, so that the pleats also curve out and down, in telescope fashion. Repeat for the other four groups of pleats.
- To make a ring band, roll a log of lump metal clay about four cards thick, and trim the edges to the desired width. Wrap this strip onto a ring mandrel two sizes larger than you want the finished ring to be. Trim off the excess ends at an angle, and seal the joint with slip.
- To create a round platform for the folded piece, roll a pinch of clay into a ball, then roll it to four cards thick. Trim out the width of the band from the circle and place the half-moon shapes on each side of the band.
- Allow the ring band to dry, then file any rough edges. Attach the folded piece to the finished band with slip.
- Fire the ring on the kiln shelf, and add a patina to highlight the many folds.
For a variation on this piece, attach the origami shape backside-up to a .999 silver band, using metal clay and metal clay slip. If you plan to add a half-drilled pearl, attach the silver wire to the center of the origami shape before firing, using a little lump metal clay. The wire will serve as a post for the pearl. After firing is complete, trim the post to the right length, and attach the pearl.