This year, one of my resolutions is to make something with metal clay. I’ve been trying to do it ever since it arrived in the country. I remember paying £10 (a huge amount as a poor student) for something like 10 grams of silver clay. Yes, it was a long time ago! It was PMC and all the instructions were in Japanese. I spent a long time creating a beautiful pendant, but couldn’t properly understand the picture instructions and it exploded right in front of me pretty much as soon as I put the torch on it. I should have just given up then… it’s never got much better!
I added a small amount of water and the mix started to turn crumbly. I guessed that I didn’t need much more water, so used a spritzer to add small amounts.
The clay started to form in to a solid lump.
It’s a bit like making scones! Once it’s bound together, the clay has to be conditioned by folding and rolling away from the seam for a few turns. You can feel it firm up as you work. It’s then left to rest for half an hour (maybe more like bread than scones!) I like that this clay doesn’t stick to your fingers as others do. It did stick to my non stick mat though???
I rolled the clay 3 cards thick, and cut circles. They were formed into a half lentil shape over a painting palette
Then I cut 2 more circles and lightly drew the design for the front of the bead.
This circle was formed over the palette and the design cut out with a scalpel.
They were then left to dry. I had some clay left, so rather than let it dry out, I made a hare pendant with cubic zirconia for eyes. No idea if this will work, but it’s worth a try!
The hard bronze was really easy to use, similar to working with ceramic clay. It held it’s shape well and took lots of fine detail.
The lentil halves still weren’t dry, so I mixed up some of the Roman Bronze and made another. This clay is completely different. It’s fluffy in comparison to the hard version. It didn’t hold it’s shape very well and the grain was much larger, so it wouldn’t take much detail. What I did get on there was difficult to do. I think this would be better suited to simpler designs, where the rough texture of the design is the main focus. This hare got CZ eyes too… in for a penny!
Finally, the halves dried out, so I made up some clay paste and stuck them together. After drying again, they were sanded and cleaned up. And here they are ready for firing. You can just about make out the carved design inside... I'm hoping that with a patina and polish the design will be a bit more prominent!
I hope this time's the charm... Keep your fingers crossed for me!