Pat Accorinti Jewelry Design

The Tauregs

Posted in Artists, Jewelry by paccorinti on August 9, 2013

I’m running a few weeks behind here.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sherry and I got to attend a demonstration and sale of Taureg jewelry by Elhadji Koumama.  Elhadji comes from the country of Niger in Africa and is part of a family of silversmiths that trace their jewelry making history back twenty-five generations.  He is now working with Terri Hendrix from Watsonville to bring his family’s work to the US for sale. As part of this effort, Elhadji tours the US with Terri, demonstrating the method he uses to cast his  work. The San Francisco Bay Metal Arts Guild sponsored a visit and sale in San Francisco at Adam Clark’s sculpture studio.

Elhadji uses a “lost wax” method to create his jewelry. They used charcoal briquets to simulate the charcoal fire they use for burning out the wax and to melt the fine silver they use for casting.


Elhadji is breaking up dried clay which he will reconstitute to make the mold. His beeswax model of a desert fox figure is sitting on the anvil and the charcoal fire is just started in the back.


This is a mold ready to go into the fire. You can see the beeswax peeking out of the sprue hole.

The mold and the crucible containing the fine silver have been buried under the  charcoal. Elhadji uses a bellows made of goatskin to bring the fire's temperature up.

The mold and the crucible containing the fine silver have been buried under the charcoal. Elhadji uses a bellows made of goatskin to bring the fire’s temperature up.


Both mold and crucible with melting silver are near the temperature they need to be for a successful casting.

Once the silver was completely melted in the crucible, Elhadji used tongs to pour the silver into the hot mold. The mold was allowed to cool for a few seconds before he plunged it into cool water and broke the clay away from the casting.  He then finishes the piece by forging and filing until the desired shape is acquired.

Elhadji is the patriarch of a large family. Many of the men in his family are also jewelers.  By coming to the US and selling his jewelry here, he is able to support his  entire family and is very proud that he has been able to give money to his village to drill a well that will bring water much closer to the village. I loved seeing him work with his simple tools to create wonderful things. Here’s a link to a short video that shows Elhadji in Niger. He also has a Facebook page that you can check to see his schedule when he comes back next year.

This is Elhadji with me and Sherry. Sherry is wearing some beautiful earrings she bought from Elhadji last year!

This is Elhadji with me and Sherry. Sherry is wearing some beautiful earrings she bought from Elhadji last year!

Wanaree Tanner Workshop

Posted in Artists, Jewelry by paccorinti on August 2, 2013

I had the pleasure hosting a workshop for using the Silhouette Cameo with metal clay taught by Wanaree Tanner. Wannaree is the 2013 Saul Bell winner for Metal Clay. She has developed a method for using the Silhouette to cut intricate bezels and templates to be used with metal clay. I have been following her work for a number of years and have been so inspired by her creativity that when I met her last year at the last PMC Conference, I asked if she would like to come out to do a workshop for our metal clay guild. It just so happened that she was planning to come to California to do a couple of workshops at Brea Bead Works in southern California in late June and was willing to to come up to the Bay Area for a 2 day Silhouette workshop in July.

Wanaree arrived a day early so we spent a day playing tourist in San Francisco.

Wanaree in SF

The workshop over the next two days was filled with new and exciting information. We learned how to size our templates for the cabochon stones we had chosen to make bezel settings for and to create a unique and original texture design for the back plates and bales from Scratchfoam. We then learned how to use the Silhouette Cameo to cut a delicate bezel from PMC silver clay sheet and attach it to our backplates. After refining our designs and attaching a bail, we fired our pieces and learned how to set the cabochon stones.


We had 10 people around the dining room table.

Designing and cutting bezel wire on the Cameo.

A piece ready to go into the kiln.

My finished piece.

My finished piece.

It was a great workshop. I highly recommend that if you ever have the chance to take a workshop from Wanaree, you should do it. She is a giving and thorough teacher, and lots of fun, too. I know I learned lots of things that I will be able to incorporate into my metal clay jewelry. Wanaree will be teaching at Metal Clay Mojo in September. Her blog is   for more information.

This short YouTube video briefly shows how to use the Silhouette Cameo to cut a beze wire using Art Clay Copper.

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Posted in Artists, Lampwork by paccorinti on June 19, 2013

School’s out and it’s time to learn new things. I have wanted to learn lampworking for ages and my friend, Maureen, found a wonderful teacher in nearby Gilroy. Jelveh Jaferian has been a lampwork artist for thirteen years. Her work is amazing! Maureen, two other friends and I signed up for a 5 hour beginning class and learned the basics of lampwork bead making. We had so much fun. Jelveh is a hoot! She showed us so much in that 5 hours that we left with our heads swimming with so much information. We returned on Monday to pick up our beads and to spend a couple more hours at the torch. It is definitely my new “addiction”!

Jelveh at the torch.

Jelveh at the torch.

I will take some pictures of my beads when I get a few more done and post them. This is definitely one skill that will take lots of practice to become proficient.

Experience Metal!

Posted in Jewelry, Museums, My Work, Shows by paccorinti on August 11, 2012

Are you interested in making jewelry or working with metals? Next weekend, August 17, 18 & 19, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History is having a fantastic program with exhibits, demos and hands-on workshops. I’ll be there on Saturday, teaching 2 basic silver clay workshops for beginners. I’m going to show the participants how to texture, shape and fire fine silver metal clay to make earrings, pendants or charms in just 2 hours. If you are interested, check out the SCMAH’s website.

Flyer for Experience Metal!

Catching Up

Posted in Artists, Jewelry, Shows by paccorinti on July 31, 2012

We arrived home just in time to go to the Clay and Glass Show in Palo Alto. It’s always a great show with tons of wonderful ceramics, glass and a little metal clay. I bought a ring from my friend, Susan Shahinian. She makes the tops from glass and embeds a nut that screws on to a stainless steal ring. How cool is that?

Glass Bead Ring by Susan Shahinian


Posted in Artists, Jewelry, My Work, Travel by paccorinti on July 30, 2009

The Metal Clay World Conference took place just a few short weeks ago in Chicago. I had wondered if I could afford to go this year but I am so glad I did. What a great opportunity to mingle with the metal clay and jewelry community.

My class with Mary Hettsmanperger was great! We worked with copper and brass sheet and wire to create all kinds of earrings and pendants. I loves the opportunity to try all the techniques Mary showed us and I left with a number of finished pieces.

These are the pieces I finished in Mary's class.

These are the pieces I finished in Mary's class.

I also have another couple pieces that are waiting to be finished.

The conference started the next day with a keynote by Alan Revere. He has been one of my jewelry heros from way back. I actually drooled over his jewelry back in the early 80s when he sold his work at the ACC Craft Fair in San Francisco. I bought a pair of his earrings and still wear them on occasion. I should take a picture an post it sometime.

That night we attended the Opening  reception. I enjoyed mingling with old friends and new acquaintances at the reception as well as all of the presenters and teachers. Mary Hettsmanperger, Holly Gage, Gordon Uyehara, Hattie Sanderson, Tim McCreight and Trish Jeffers are just some of the names I remember.

Alan Revere was the keynote speaker. I have admired Alan for many years. During the early 1980s, I used to drool over his jewelry at the ACC Craft Fair in San Francisco. (I even bought a pair of earrings that I still wear.) His talk was about giving back. He has created a website, Adorn America, that explains his concept. To begin, we were given a piece of foil and told to create a ring. At the end of Alan’s speech, he asked us to give our ring to the person next to us. I traded rings with my friend and room mate for the conference, Susan Shahinian.


The sessions were great. I got so much new information my head was spinning. Many of the presenters were people who post to the Metal Clay Gallery Yahoo Group and it was great to connect names with faces. The shopping was great, too. I always love to be able to pick out stones that I can’t get every day. I also won a full set of Dynasty Stamp Textures at one of the meal time raffles! That was a wonderful surprise since I had been admiring some in the vendor’s room. And the greatest surprise was when I won a prize for my mystery bag entry! Alan Revere gave me a special award for Best Design! I felt so honored.

Alan Revere and me.

Alan Revere and me.Best Design

The way the Mystery Bag Competition works is that the competitors each get a brown paper bag that contains a number of  items including silver clay, a coffee bean, 2 squares of toilet tissue, a piece of hemp twine, a paper lollypop stick, a piece of square brass tubing. They must use every item in the bag but may also use the wrappers or the bag itself to create a piece of art (many were sculptures). The only limitation was that you could only use the tools provided at the work station. It ‘s a real challenge to come up with something in the time allotted. Here’s my piece.

Best Design

Best Design

I’m packing for Chicago!

Posted in Artists, Shows, Travel by paccorinti on July 13, 2009

Next week I’ll be attending the Metal Clay World Conference in Chicago. I attended the first conference in Las Vegas two years ago and it was wonderful. Met lots of talented metal clay artists and learned so much. This year the conference will be held at the Indian Lakes Resort in Chicago. I will be attending a pre-conference class on Wednesday with Mary Hettmansperger. She was one of the conference speakers at the last conference and I was really intrigued by her work which combines fiber working techniques with metals. I’m really excited!

Alan Revere is the Keynote Speaker. I have admired his work forever. I even bought a pair of earrings from him back when I really couldn’t afford such things. Maybe I’ll bring them and wear them. I wish I could take his design class but it’s just not in the budget this year. I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

I’m going to exhibit a new piece I just finished. My son’s girlfriend has been helping me do some photography and we tried to take pictures last week. Here’s a picture of this piece.

In My Garden

In My Garden

I got the the beautiful dicroic glass piece from my friend Judy Pagnusat last year and it’s taken me all this time to get just the right setting made. I finally finished the beading a couple of weeks ago and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

Jennifer Smith-Righter

Posted in Artists, Jewelry by paccorinti on June 15, 2009

Today Jennifer Smith-Righter (Wearable by Design) presented at the June 14th SFBASilverClay Guild meeting. Jennifer was  a 2009 Saul Bellow finalist and has been experimenting with designs that are mechanical in nature. Her demo had to do with piercing metal clay and how she comes up with and exicutes her mechanical designs.

This pendant was created by pushing clay into a mould, drying and then piercing the metal clay.

This pendant was created by pushing clay into a mould, drying and then piercing the metal clay.

Micro drill bits from Harbor Freight.

Micro drill bits from Harbor Freight.

Jennifer uses very small drill bits purchased at Harbor Freight to drill holes into the corners of the shapes that she wants to remove clay. She then drills more holes between the starting points, connecting the dots. She then uses the moving drill bit like a file to cut a line between the dots until the entire shape has been removed.

Jennifer uses a rubber block to support the piece when using the flex-shaft. The dust she creates with the drill is caught in the plastic tray. She reuses this for slip.

This is another of Jennifer’s designs. The three wheels are all free-moving and connected. The pendant rolls  along the choker wire, like a bicycle on a tight rope. The three wheels are connected to the triangular from with pins created by balling the ends with a torch.

Jennifer uses a Smith Mini torch to ball the ends of the wire. She also showed us another style of connection she makes which includes a small “button” for added detail.

This shows the finished wires after the ends have been balled up with the torch.

This is a new piece that Jennifer is work-

ing on. Each of the parts are interlock-

ing and will move freely when they have

been connected.

It was great to see Jennifer’s work in person and a great demo, too. This was just the creative push I needed to get moving with my own work now that school is out for the summer!

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Silicon Valley Open Studios

Posted in Artists, Shows by paccorinti on May 7, 2009

Our Silicon Valley Open Studios weekend is May 9 & 10, Mother’s Day weekend. Things are shaping up for great weather and most of my pieces are coming together.

I’ll be showing at the home of my friend, Veronica Gross, who does wonderful watercolors. She’s been recovering from surgery for a torn rotator cuff. I must say that even her paintings done with her left hand look great. Four more artists are showing with us this year. Janet Trenchard does assemblages and paintings. She taught art at Independence High School with Veronica and me over ten years ago. Patty Seaborn will be showing her awesome ceramics. Marilynn Host is new to our group this year. She makes whimsical animal sculptures from gourds and paper maché. Both she and Patty have been showing their work at the ACC Craft Show for years. Marilynn is also the organizer of the Christmas in the Studio show that I did last November. And last, but not least, Karen Schroeder will be showing her paintings. She does portraits and figures.

Zinnias in a Jar

Zinnias in a Jar by Veronica Gross


Janet Trenchard


Jar with Handles by Patty Seaborn

Out of our Gourd

Out of our Gourd by Marilynn Host


Woman in a Red Dress by Karen Schroeder

If you are out and about this weekend, Open Studios is a fun way to spend a Saturday or Sunday looking at art. Mapguides can be found at University Arts stores and many local coffee shops and libraries. Our studio is located at 200 Kimble Ave., Los Gatos 95032. Come enjoy the wonderful weather, Veronica’s gorgeous garden, our art and company! We’ll be glad to see you.

Bronze Clay

Posted in Artists, My Work by paccorinti on March 7, 2009

Kathleen Gordon and I did a demo for the San Francisco Bay Silver Clay group in February. We both took Hadar’s first Bronze Clay class at the PMC Conference last summer. Our motivation for doing the demo was the fact that we both feel that we need a deadline to force ourselves to work on something. All in all, I think it went pretty well.

Pressing clay into a mold.

Pressing clay into a mold.

Kathleen had been experimenting with it since the summer but I still had my sample pack sitting in the refrigerator! I was nervous about the firing. I had my stainless steels container and bag of charcoal sitting there, just waiting to go. I went online and watched all the videos from Cool Tools and Whole Lotta Whimsy and I ordered Hadar’s new book, Silver and Bronze Clay: Movement and Mechanism and read it cover to cover. We got together to play with the clay a couple of times and Sherry Cordova joined us once to give us some feedback.

We decided that we would make the demo a “hands on” meeting. I always love it when I get to play at the meetings. We figured that we would have 15-20 people at the meeting, so we ordered up a bunch of clay from Tonya at Whole Lotta Whimsy. She was gracious enough to add a few samples that we could distribute to the members.

Kathleen spent a day with Hadar, learning more about her bronze and copper clays. She brought some back and we experimented with it but didn’t have the new firing schedule that Hadar has worked out for her clay. The clay had a different feel from the Rio package but I think that they are essentially the same and one gets used to whatever clay they use the most. Sort of like the difference between Art Clay and PMC  or even the different types with clay within a brand.

Hadar now sells the powdered form of the clay and you can mix it up with distilled water to the perfect consistency. You can order from her website and read a blog that she just started that will have lots of tips about working with the clay.

Bronze clay before firing.

Bronze clay before firing.

Bronze pieces right out of the kiln.

Bronze pieces right out of the kiln.

We had over 20 members present at the meeting and I forgot my camera! Wish I could have taken pictures of the items everyone made. This weekend we meet again and I hope to see everyone’s pieces. I’ll have a few finished things to post as well.

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