DADA inspired chain by Fanny Penny

I recently invested in the Adobe Suite in hopes of elevating my creative work. It was one of the best creative investments I’ve made in a long time. I did not plan to integrate it into my clay process, but found that Illustrator is a great way to create the patterns I cut my pieces with.

Pattern making in process:

I began with creating shapes in Adobe Illustrator. I wanted to be able to scale them up or down depending on how big I wanted the chain to be. Vector illustration is so great for this.

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Next, I created a sample of all the shapes linked together. I wanted to be sure the silhouettes meshed in an attractive and functional way.

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I tweaked the shapes a bit, then scaled them up to fit in the center of an 8.5” X 11 sheet of paper. I printed each one, and cut them out. Next, I placed the pattern pieces on slabs of sculptural stoneware and began cutting into the clay. I find it is easiest to cut, dry, and bisque fire the odd links then add the even links when they’re leather hard. Basically, the odd links get fired twice and the even links get fired once. This makes adding the even links easier and the chains chances of breaking, cracking, or warping are far slimmer.


I let the slabs dry for quite a while, bisqued the even links, then cut the odd links and assembled the chain when they were leather hard. The chain turned out pretty beautifully…


stain / chain by Fanny Penny

Making chain has become an obsession.  This is a cobalt chain I made from mason stained stoneware.  It was fired to cone 6 in my little electric kiln.  I begin the process by drying out stoneware in small chunks then blend the clay with mason stain in my kitchen blender.  I then dry the clay out to a workable consistency on plaster slabs covered with gauze.  The plaster helps to wick the moisture away from the clay body, and the gauze helps to ensure that no plaster dust winds up in the clay body.  

I'm a very process oriented artist.  I usually enjoy the process more than the end result.  That said, the results I'm getting are quite unique and exciting.  I guess in the case of the ceramic chain, I'm enjoying the result as much as the process.  

More to come!



 The finished piece.  

The finished piece.  

 Building the links.

Building the links.

 Fresh out of the kiln.

Fresh out of the kiln.