Hippo Manchester
January 5, 2006

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Arts: Jewler teaches her trade

We loves it. We wants it. We wants the precious

By John “jaQ” Andrews  jandrews@hippopress.com

Carol Babineau isn’t exactly an alchemist, but she does turn clay into gold and silver.

To be fair, it’s not just any clay, but a mixture of the precious metals with water and organic binders. When it’s fired in a kiln, the binders burn away, leaving 99.9 percent pure silver or 22K gold. The exact formulation comes in a few patented varieties, under the brand names Art Clay from Aida Chemical Industries and Precious Metal Clay (PMC) developed by Mitsubishi.

Babineau shares studio space with Carla Eaton at River Art Studios, 99 Factory St. Ext., Nashua. During a brief interview, half a dozen other people who rent space in the mill building passed through, exchanging materials and equipment.

“We all want to do what everyone else is doing,” Babineau said. “It’s very creative here. We have a great time.”

The conglomeration of artists leads to a great deal of collaboration. Babineau routinely incorporates Eaton’s glasswork into her jewelry, as well as colored glass powder enamels and precious or semiprecious stones.

Babineau doesn’t just make jewelry herself. A few days a week, she offers classes to anyone interested in creating their own earrings, pendants, broaches or other items. The classes range from introductory “Make and take” sessions to all-day and two-part offerings for sculpting more advanced pieces, as well as certifications. She described the medium as “forgiving,” so even a beginner can be comfortable. The clay is pliable enough for rubber stamps to make patterns; it can also be carved and textured.

Firing the formed clay takes very little time, compared to clay pottery or glass. Including kiln warm-up time, a piece of jewelry can be ready in less than 45 minutes, according to Babineau. Art Clay’s manufacturer is even more optimistic: at a warmed-up temperature of 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, five minutes can be enough. Longer kiln firing leads to a more durable final product, though, so Babineau recommends being on the safe side, especially for something like a ring.

“It takes a lot of abuse. It’s on your hand,” she said, smacking her fingers on a table. “Bang bang bang!”

Babineau said she’s been an artist all her life, but her work has recently seen a surge of attention. It’s been featured in the magazine Art Jewelry five times since the beginning of 2005, and twice in Beads & Button. She became a certified Art Clay Senior Instructor three years ago — the only one in New England, she said — and is PMC Levels I & II certified as well. She’s also a member of the League of NH Craftsmen, Dunstable Artisans and Enamel Guild Northeast.

 



Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artist’s studio
It’s art, and it’s even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Waxwork
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier