Sunday, July 18, 2010

Syringe Metal Clay

Syringe form silver clay is a fun an interesting form of metal clay. Syringe clay is a thinned form of silver clay preloaded into a syringe. With the syringe clay you can pipe out long strands of silver clay and make some interesting designs.

There is a lot of ways you can use your syringe:

"Sunflower", in this piece I used syringe to create the centre. It was done by creating a cork form that the clay was syringed over top.


This piece is a Art Clay Level One Certification project. This one is done by Susie Levitsky. It is a freeform syringe project capturing a marquis gemstone. It was made with three layers of medium syringe to create this filligree like design.

Other ways syringe can be used:
  • Use it for repairs and attachments. Any form of paste will work for repairs. Some people like to use syringe for repairs as you can squeeze it into cracks and small spaces.
  • Use it to make fine free form "filigree" designs
  • Use it to shape over burnable cores to make interesting hollow forms.
  • Use it to embellish your work. Add swirls, writing, and other shapes on top of a piece of solid clay.
  • Use it to capture gemstones, glass or other inclusions.

You can purchase a variety of tips for your syringe:

Art Clay Silver has three tips for syringe clay. When purchasing your syringe clay you can buy it with one tip, three tips or no tips (refills). The standard tip is the green (medium) tip; it is the most commonly used tip. The three pack comes with a blue tip (fine) green tip (medium) and gray tip (thick). I like the fineness of the blue/fine tip but it can be quite brittle due to its fineness, keep this in mind. (I would not use blue/fine tip for a free form piece. If you are attaching blue/fine tip syringe to a piece of solid clay take extra care in making sure it is attached to the clay or it can break off even after it is fired.)

Can you make your own syringe clay?
The answer is many have tried and failed. It is quite difficult to get the right texture/consistency. I have tried with little success. In addition, to the challenge of getting the right consistency the other challenge the issue of possible clogging the syringe with a small bit of clay.

Suggestions on technique:
Art Clay World has a great PDF Mastering the Syringe, it describes step by step on technique.

The key is to keep your tip up and drape the clay where you want it. Problems happen if one stays too close to the surface and the clay will often drag and get pulled.

Another tip is to use a damp paintbrush or damp makeup sponge to smooth any points and to soften the syringe.

Mastering the technique
I mastered syringe by creating many, many organic syringe shapes without putting pressure on myself to be exact.

With the cost of silver and silver clay being what it is there is a simple inexpensive way to practice technique. Practice with toothpaste!!! Fill a syringe with toothpaste (I find the white non gel type of toothpaste the most similar). The toothpaste it behaves similarly to syringe clay and you can freely practice handling the syringe. Once you get the "hang" of then move to silver syringe clay.

Enjoy!!!

1 comment:

Lang said...

How would I order the sunflower? I cannot make one, but would love to buy one!