I've got good news, and some bad news. I'll give you the good news first :-)
We are now carrying Bronz Clay, and hopefully we'll have the copper clay soon as well. What I love about the new clays is that they're affordable, and you know me and copper. I can't get quite enough of it :-) The clay retails for $25.00 a pack for 100 grams. If you're accustomed to working with silver- that's 5 times the amount you get in a pack of silver!
This is our Bronz Clay Kit - Sells for $50 - In store only, or feel free to phone or email your order in. I haven't yet got the kits assembled, so if you want one. Please wait for tomorrow as some of the staff may not know about it yet.
The clay alone is $25.00 - in store only - or by email/phone - these are available now :-)
The bad news is that the copper and bronz does need to be kiln fired, and there still appear to be some special considerations you must take. It's also a bit of trial and error. All kilns are different, so you may in fact waste a bit of product while finding the right setting for your particular kiln. I've finally found a successful firing schedule for my particular kiln, and the results are beautiful. however, I've also had some pretty spectacular failures as well.
The bronz and copper both need to be fired surrounded by a coconut carbon. With the bronz, you also have the option of using a coal based carbon which will give you gorgeous rainbow patinas. I've been sticking with the coconut based one for the time being.
One disappointment we've had was the unpredictability of the firing. Sometimes it worked, other times we had to give it a second firing. I 'think' I now have this worked out - but time will tell.
You can get a bronz or copper clay kit, that comes with a pack of clay, some coconut carbon, and a firing chamber. The kit comes with a fairly large chamber, and this was part of the problem for me. Firing is messy, you end of with black soot all over your kiln. I choose to not use our big glass kilns, as then I would have to clean it out all of the time. And it's really hard to sweep out all of that black soot from all of the nooks and cranny's. I used my smaller kiln, that I've reserved for metal clay. Unfortunately, my kiln isn't very tall. The large firing chamber does fit, but it didn't give me very much room around it. This was part of our firing problems.
In order for the metal clays to fire correctly - You need airflow within the kiln. If your firing chamber is too big, there is just not enough room for the hot air to move. Your firing chamber should not be sitting on the kiln floor (use kiln furniture to raise it up at least an inch), and be sure to have at least an inch about the chamber as well. Once we started firing with a smaller stainless container - we had no firing problems at all!
I pulled a batch of copper out of the kiln this morning, and now I've got a batch of bronz firing. I'll pull them out tomorrow and we'll see what we get.
The pics below are copper - This was the third firing of these particular copper pieces. The first go round most of the items crumbled right in the pan. The second firing appeared to do nothing at all. Third time was a charm.
Mona - if you're reading this, I'm sorry about the chip in your dragonfly pendant - but it least it's mostly intact! (Don't worry - Mona knows we were doing experiments!)
This is a pic of the bronz that is now firing in the kiln.