Laura Roehl

Winner: People’s Choice Category

Laura Roehl, winner of the People’s Choice Award in the Flash & Fire Challenge, is a relative newcomer to metal clay.  “I was taking care of my father while he was in hospice, and wanted to have his fingerprint to keep with me forever.  I searched online for ways to make a pendant myself and came across metal clay.  I ordered a starter kit in January 2018 and was able to capture his fingerprint in a heart pendant. I’m so thankful for my Dad and the time we had, and this precious pendant now that he is gone.”

Laura has worked in stained glass for over 15 years and has worked with pottery, sculpting, and jewelry at various times. “But I was hooked on metal clay the moment I had it in my hands. I love the liberating feeling of working with this medium. I’m free to experiment; if I don’t like how something turns out, I can just reconstitute it. With stained glass, I’m committed once I cut a piece of glass.“

“I took my first metal clay class with Janet Alexander in New Mexico soon after my dad died. When I came back home to Connecticut, I was very happy to find a metal clay guild here. It is a vibrant group! We just had a metal clay retreat in April. We shared tips, tricks, and laughs while we worked from early in the morning till evening. I really learned a lot and made some friends who I’ve invited over to my studio to play with clay together.”

Butterfly Dance – fine silver, inspired by Ir-resist-able Patina by Lora Hart

Laura’s winning piece, called Butterfly Dance, was based on two of the Flash & Fire tutorials.  “I loved the idea of using a resist to apply a patina pattern as described in Lora Hart’s tutorial,” says Laura, “and how the pattern adds a unique dimension to a pendant.  I also like Lis-el Crowley’s designs and drew inspiration for the shape of my pendant from one of her tutorial projects. The curves and the flow of it, plus the patina pattern from the resist, reminded me of butterflies flitting around on a hot summer day.”

Laura laughs when she’s asked about getting so many online votes.  “There were so many fabulous pieces entered in the Challenge that I wasn’t going to ask anyone to vote for my pendant, but then I saw a post on Facebook about the People’s Choice really being all about showing others what wonderful art can be created from metal clay. So I asked my friends and family to vote for me, and they loved seeing all the wonderful artwork. One has already asked me how she can get started in metal clay.”

“My favorite piece is still the heart pendant I made of my dad’s fingerprint before he died. It was my first experience with metal clay. When my father saw how much joy it brought me, he gave me the funds to buy a small kiln for metal clay. Now the possibilities are endless!  I’ve opened the door to a new and exciting world, and the memory of my father is always with me.”

Learn more about this challenge and future ones here