Welcome to Magick Minx Productions!
We are specialists in Metal Clay and offer a wide range of classes from beginner Taster sessions through to advanced Project Master classes and including everything in-between.
Metal Clay comes in various forms such as Bronze Clay, Copper Clay, White Bronze Clay, Steel Clay and even Gold Clay but the most popular by far is Silver Clay in which we specialise. The beauty of Silver Clay is that with a little tuition and a few inexpensive tools anyone can create beautiful fine silver jewellery at their dining room table.
Our tutor, Leigh Armstrong, is an independent qualified Senior Metal Clay Instructor and has trained to the highest level.
Leigh travels around UK teaching and demonstrating Metal Clay and has in the past demonstrated live on Hochanda, the Craft Shopping Channel, on behalf of Metal Clay Ltd, the UK’s leading metal clay supplier. In addition you will find Leigh demonstrating and teaching at conferences and trade shows across the country.
More about Leigh
I find inspiration sometimes from the strangest of things it could be a pair of shoes, my children, a song or a tree but the biggest source of inspiration for me is the sea. When I was a child my grandparents lived on a converted war boat moored at Hayling Island. Every year I spent the entire summer down there and loved it. I realise now that this infact was something quite unusual but at the time I thought everybody’s grandparents lived on a boat, it came as quite a surprise as a seven year old to find that this was not the case!
The Cornish Coast, particularly Sennen Cove is where I love to be.
Whose work do I admire?
My Metal Clay hero is Gordon Uyehara who makes the most beautiful PMC pieces (I’m actually the proud owner of a bead he made for me which I wear every day!)
I was immensely honoured to have Gordon, whilst over from Hawaii visit my new studio in October 2010.
There are many artists whose work I admire, Wanaree Tanner, Anna Mazon, Terry Kovalcik, Celie Fago, Barbara Becker Simon, Hattie Sanderson, Hadar Jacobson and Mary Ann Devos to name a few. I am lucky to have attended many masterclass workshops with these incredible talents
I also have to say that I have been in awe and very proud of some of the work my students have achieved, don’t you love it when your students can teach you stuff?
For glass lampwork beads, apart from obviously Sally Carver from St Ives Glass Studio (aka Red Hot Sal) whose glass I use in a lot of my work I would have to mention Heather Culhane from Red Ocean, it was Heather’s work that inspired me to find out more about lampworking, which in turn led me to Sally, My Red Ocean pieces of jewellery are very much treasured possessions.
My lovely nan (that was) Nell – A Cornish lady of strength and character
My much loved mum Wend, who sadly died in 2011 – an all giving, hardworking, gorgeous lady who I loved dearly and miss terribly. Wend was a huge part of Magick Minx, working in the studio, looking after my students and customers, she had many fans in our Minx students and customers, everyone always have kind words about her, she is always in our thoughts.
My Family – Nell my sister, (she had the brains), Richard my husband who puts up with all the mess and chaos a Minx can create and my children, Daisy the tomboy pony addict and Tabitha the Mini Minx!
Adam Ant – My first ‘WOW’ moment (and first ‘Love’) seeing and hearing him for the first time, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and my personally autographed autobiography is a big treasure of mine. My mother personally blames Adam for my weird dress sense and inability to conform.
Bing Crosby – Ha! I know, very odd but I LOVE Christmas and White Christmas is my favourite film, watched every year since I can remember. I love listening to the Rat Pack Christmas tunes.
Kat Von D – A ballsy lady whose commitment to her art and lifestyle I find both entertaining and inspiring.
1) We have 2 choices – we can make a living or design a life – Jim Rohn
2) If you think you can or you think you can’t you’re probably right! – Henry Ford
In the future I would like to attend a Metal Clay class with Celie Fargo, I’m a big believer in education being an ongoing process so each year I try to learn and master new skills. One year it was lampworking, making pretty glass beads, I was thrilled to be able to make some to utilise in my sister’s wedding jewellery and also having various enquiries to retail them! I’m not at Sally Carvers level yet but at least I can make ’em round and pretty!
Magick Minx Productions offer a number of Services and Retail Opportunities.
We have a wide range of classes available including private one to ones.
What is metal Clay?
Well, it’s a new way to work with precious and semi precious metals, it enables budding jewellers and artists to work from a simple table without the huge expense of a jewellery studio.
Metal Clay represents a dramatic development in the handling of precious metals. Metal Clay consists of microscopic particles of metals suspended in an organic binder to create a pliable material with a consistency similar to modelling clay.
Metal Clay can be worked with the fingers and simple inexpensive tools to create a vast range of forms and surfaces that would be unattainable or laborious to create with traditional Silver Smithing techniques.
When heated to a high temperature, the binder burns away and the metal particles fuse to form solid metal that can be sanded, soldered, coloured and polished like conventional material. Metal Clay can be ‘fired’ using a simple butane gas torch!
I use a brand called Art Clay in my classes.
Art Clay is manufactured in Japan by Aida using recycled Silver.
The principle ingredient of Art Clay is silver, reduced to tiny flakes smaller than 20 microns in size. As a point of reference, it would take as many as 25 of these particles clumped together to equal a grain of salt. The other ingredients in Art Clay are water and an organic (naturally occurring) binder.
After firing, the water and binder have completely burned away so what remains can be hallmarked as .999
Dried out or unwanted objects can be recycled / refined just like conventional precious metal.
How Does It Work?
Under the proper conditions, crystals of metal fuse together in the same way that droplets of water run together to make larger puddles on the window pane. In the case of metals, oxides (tarnish) that form naturally on most metals prevent this from happening. The solution here is to use precious or noble metals in their pure state. These do not readily oxidize so even at the high temperatures needed to induce fusion they remain free of coatings.
There are different forms of Metal Clay available
The most popular form because from here you can make sheet, wire, paste and volumetric forms.
This material is specially formulated to allow it to be pressed through a nozzle. If you have ever decorated a cake you can master metal clay slip. Sold loaded into a disposable syringe.
A thick slurry that is used to fill joints, adhere parts and create luscious frosting-like surfaces.
This was developed for the Japanese art of origami, but American artists have found this thin leathery sheet useful for weaving, braiding and to create drapery effects.
Thicker version of the paper, excellent for rings, backing plates, medallions and more.
Where are we
Magick Minx HQ is now based in the beautiful village of Branston, nestled in the Vale of Belvoir, about 3 miles from Belvoir Castle, 9 miles from Melton Mowbray & 13 miles from Grantham (both towns having busy Train Stations). Oh and importantly we have a fabulous wee Pub in the Village offering excellent locally sourced food should you desire something more than bringing a packed Lunch!
We are still offering our full range of Trainings & ‘Party’ options & more so please contact us direct for further information regarding availability.
We have a fully functioning (though often messy!) Workshop space for small groups or an alternative area where we can teach a maximum of 10 Students.