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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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

The Last PMC Conference

Posted in Jewelry by paccorinti on June 29, 2012

Last week I attended the last PMC Conference in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. It was the third PMC Conference I have attended and as usual, I had a great time. It’s really wonderful to get together with so many like-minded people. I also took a class from the wonderful Celie Fago. We learned about the new sterling silver clay by making rings, always a challenge. We learned some of Celie’s construction techniques and how to fire this new clay. I’ll post some more information and picture when I figure out how to do it onmy new iPad.

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Cartier and America

Posted in Jewelry, Museums by paccorinti on March 29, 2010

Today Sherry Cordova and I got to see the exhibit Cartier and America at the Palace of Legion of Honor. Wow! It was amazing. We went on a special docent led tour organized by the Metal Arts Guild. We got there at 8:50 am, before the museum opens to the public. It was really nice to have the place to ourselves for that half an hour.

This necklace was designed for Maria Felix. It was said she brought a baby crocodile to Cartier to use for a model.

It was unbelievable how many diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires were in the collection. The collection spanned the Cartier’s history from the early 1900’s to current day. It included jewelry but also the mystery clocks (very cool, the hands of the clock looked like they were floating in crystal), watches and other ornamental items designed by Cartier. We couldn’t take pictures but I was able to find a few images online.

These clocks were called mystery clocks because the hands of the clocks appeared to be floating. In reality, they were embeded into pieces of rock crystal which rotate.

There were a lot of interesting stories about the people who owned the jewels. One section of the exhibition was devoted to the designs that were drawn for the pieces. I really enjoyed the short film that showed the creation of a single necklace from the drawing to the final creation. If you haven’t seen the exhibition, it’s been extended through May 9, 2010.

Elizabeth Taylor with a diamond and ruby set given to her by her husband, Mike Todd.

When we left the museum, Sherry suggested that we stop by the wind mill at the end of Golden Gate Park to see the tulips. What a beautiful day and lovely ending to a fun day.

Tulip garden in Golden Gate Park.


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

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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Alexander Calder Jewelry

Posted in Artists, Jewelry, Museums by paccorinti on December 25, 2008

Necklace by Alexander CaldwellThe New York Times frequently has interesting article in the Art section but I loved this one!