Artisan Michela Verani Sculpts Metal Like Clay
Nano-technology allows Michela Verani of Londonderry to hand-sculpt metals.
Many craftsmen work with media that are ages old — ancient traditions hammered or woven or shaped by hands for millennia. Artisan Michela Verani of Londonderry has chosen to work with metal clay, a medium that was only developed in 1997.
Metal clay is available in silver, copper, steel and bronze and can be molded like clay, but given finer detail, like metal. The material is extremely fine nano particles of metal in a binder that makes the product malleable but still a solid piece of metal when fired to 1,200 or 1,900 degrees when the binder is burned off. After cooling for a few hours, the metal works can be buffed to a shine, set with stones, colored or given a dark patina.
The material is easy to manipulate, as opposed to silversmithing, which requires difficult cutting and noisy hammering. Verani says, “Hard metal didn’t call me.” Now she shapes detailed creatures directly by hand or uses hand-made silicon molds in production work, while her vintage-looking metal beads are used as accents in glass bead necklaces.
Nature is her muse while she translates the energy of life into small precious tokens for the eye.
It can be said that the medium is easy to learn, but difficult to master. Verani is one of four in the world to attain Registry II level with the Metal Clay Masters Registry. She shares her knowledge in three-day Senior Certifications classes, where she teaches the necessary skill sets for teacher accreditation.
Her work is on display at Maison de l’Art in Nashua, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen shop in Meredith and the new Hooksett Welcome Center, Northbound. She will be participating in Living With Crafts at the Sunapee Fair in August.