Monday, December 15, 2008

Bronze clay experiment

I love working with Silver PMC , but it's very expensive,so I decided to try my hand at the new bronze clay. I read a lot of articles and blogs about working with the clay so I could prepare myself for it's unique properties.

The clay is very messy and sticky in it's raw state, but the information I got from the Cooltools website was helpful. If you keep your hands and work area well lubricated with oil or balm (I used claymate) the clay does not stick badly to your hands. I also kneaded the clay as suggested. The first reel challenge with bronze clay is that it shrinks as it dries and then it cracks. I want to try to make my "house" mezuzzahs out of the clay. They are built with slabs. I have made them very successfully in silver PMC, but because they take so much material that are costly.I found that in bronze it is very hard to built these shapes.

First of all, it is much harder to attach slabs together with bronze clay. You have to make a lot of slip, and even then you have to reinforce the slabs with the snake of fresh clay. Also there is a lot of trouble when firing the piece in the kiln. The "house" I made bowed and slumped after firing.

I am not real happy with the results. My kiln is a mess, the piece slumped and cracked, and the clay was a bit messy to work with. I think I would rather invest more in silver clay right now. I think that the bronze clay can be interesting and looks great in small pieces and paired with silver components. But, I don't think the bronze clay will work for my purposes.

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