Jewelry workshop to use new materials, techniques

Metal clay sculpting class set Jan. 26
January 24, 2013
Barking Dog Gallery owner and jewelry designer Donna Whiteside keeps a collection of creations on display in her studio between craft shows. BY MOLLY MACMILLAN

Traditional metal work doesn't allow for much hand sculpting, aside from the kind that involves a hand-held blow-torch.

But Donna Whiteside says by using new materials, such as metal clay, she can sculpt precious metal creations with her bare hands.

Intro to Metal Clay is the first of three workshops the artisan will host at the Barking Dog Gallery, inside her home studio off Burton’s Pond in Lewes. The workshop will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, with a second workshop, Taming the Wild Bead, to follow on Sunday, Jan. 27.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, Whiteside will host the final installment of this winter series with Textures, Textures, Textures,  about making your own textures to create unique jewelry.

Registration is available online at, and Whiteside said she hopes to expose students to some of the more avant-garde jewelry-making techniques she has learned.

“Mainly it’s about making jewelry with a new medium that has come out in the last five years – it’s called precious metal clay,” she said. “It’s pure silver pulverized to such a point where it’s like silver talcum powder. Then they add water and a binding material, and it comes as clay.”

Whiteside has a small kiln in her studio for firing the creations, which shrink up into whatever pendants, charms and earrings the artist has sculpted them to become, she said.

The artist said her classes are usually limited to eight students;  early registration is encouraged. An additional $45 usually covers the costs of materials and Whiteside provides studio space and tools.

Despite the name of the gallery, students shouldn’t expect to make too-many pet-centric items of jewelry, unless, of course, that is where their creative journey takes them, Whiteside said. The name of the gallery came about on a particularly talkative day in her home studio, she said, where she has three friendly dogs and a cat.

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