Monday, June 20, 2011

The story behind the copper tatting shuttles

I will be listing the rest of this group of copper shuttles this week in my Etsy shop.

I thought I would share my process since I always find the making of things interesting. So consider this your "Mr. Rogers" tour.

I spend a lot of time (sometimes weeks) conceptualizing, drawing and perfecting the "rough draft".
I take that draft and create a mold from it.
I take that mold and hand build the shuttle with precious metal copper clay.
I spend a lot of time shaping and sanding that shuttle.
I take that shuttle and place it in a kiln that has been fired to over 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.
After a specified period of firing I open the kiln and take out the molten hot shuttle and submerse it in water.
This is the scariest part of the whole process.
When the shuttle has cooled I soak it in a chemical solution to remove fire scale.
Then I spend an entire day, sometimes two, re-shaping, polishing, sanding, buffing and polishing some more.
When the shuttle is to my satisfaction I coat it with a jewelry grade non-tarnishing finish.
Then I take macro pictures from every angle of that shuttle and list it for sale.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about my process.


Teresa said...

I love it! Now I'm interested in why you take the hot shuttle and dunk it in water? Does the water have to be warm to keep the shuttle from breaking? Isn't there a huge risk of it breaking just coming from a 1700 degree kiln to room temp? I'd love to see pics of a shuttle before it goes in and after it's cooled but before it's been cleaned.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Thanks Teresa, perhaps one of these days I will do a video or a slideshow....but of course that would mean bringing in outside help.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

I'm amazed that you are able to design and make your beautiful shuttles. The process sounds very slow and painstaking to me. I'm glad you are willing to devote so much of your time to creating beautiful shuttles.

zarina said...

Thank you for sharing the process. I just love it when people share because then people will understand why the pricing is like that. I had to do that for my quilts because some of my readers are not crafters like us.

Isdihara said...

Thank you for sharing your creation process. Never having worked with clay, the idea of such a hot kiln scares me to pieces. Especially with a baby in the house.

Each shuttle is more exquisite than the last and your technique was impressive to start with!

TAT19540 said...

Thank you for sharing. It makes us appreciate all your hard work and realize that your shuttles are really reasonable. They are absolutely beautiful!

Anika said...

That's so interesting! Your shuttles fascinate me so. (: They're splendid.

Margarets designer cards said...

Gosh what a lot of hard work, and nerve wacking before you know if its turned out ok, I only hope that the person buying them will treasure them as much as you have put in all that hard work making them.

JB said...

That is very interesting. I am always amazed that a block of clay material becomes a beautiful item. Your shuttles are incredible. I love the two ceramic ones I have and I am still eyeing the copper and silver ones.

Mrs. Miles said...

I am SO impressed!

What a talent you've been given, your shuttles are so beautiful! I think I'm going to have to brush up on my tatting this summer while we are camping, and I think I will devote a blog post to tatting again in the future. Between you and Krystle I am SO inspired. Will it be ok if I link to you sometime then too?

Thanks for sharing your beautiful craft - you must truly love what you do.

♥ Barb (aka Mrs. Miles)

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Yes Barb, I would be delighted if you linked to me! Thank you!

❦TattingChic said...

WOW! What an interesting post! Thanks for sharing the process! The video sounds really interesting! I love all your shuttles and would love to be fortunate to have one of each kind someday! Your work is just amazing to me! Some people might say they are so "Pricey" but I'm sure with what you sell them as it doesn't even begin to cover the hours that you spend on them! HA!!!