When metal clay was first developed in Japan in 1990, it was only available in silver. The clay-like pliability of this substance allows users to fashion pieces that, when fired using a torch or kiln, creates metal components that can be used in a variety of jewellery applications. In essence, atomized particles of metals such as silver, gold, bronze, copper or steel are mixed with an organic binder and water and can then be shaped, textured, extruded or pressed into molds. During firing, the binder burns away leaving pure, sintered metal. There are several brands of metal clay available on the market, including Hadar’s Clay.
Traditional metal clays are sold as ‘lump’ clay, that is, already mixed to a clay-like consistency and sealed in air-tight packages, unlike Hadar’s Clays which are sold in powder form. Water is slowly added to create a pliable clay-like substance that that can be easily worked. Hadar’s Clays are known to take texture well and because of their long open working time, meaning they do not dry out quickly, they’re a dream to use. Unmixed vials of clay have an indefinite shelf life – an added bonus for metal clays!
Hadar Jacobson’s initial venture into jewelry-making was through metal fabrication. In fact, the ability to work with different metals, and combine them, was one of the things she missed once she had moved to silver clay. She began experimenting with other metal clays around 2004, when she discovered powdered copper and bronze at a local craft store in San Francisco. Hadar was delighted when bronze clay became commercially available, but was told that copper clay would not be available for another year. She was impatient and her students continued asking her to make it for them…and that’s how Hadar’s Clay came to be! There are a wide variety of Hadar’s Clays available on the market, several of which BeadFX currently carries.
In 2013, Hadar implemented an instructor’s Accreditation Program for those wishing to teach how to use her clays. Liz Reynolds is one of only four Canadian accredited instructors and she teaches at BeadFX. Liz is an ardent user of Hardar’s Clay and enthusiastically shares her expertise.
Getting Started with Hadar’s Clay teaches students the basics of using Hadar’s Clays including how to properly mix the powdered clay with water so that you have the proper consistency to get the best results. Participants will create various pieces so they can discover for themselves how well the clay accepts texture and allows for draping and shaping. The class also includes all the information needed to fire finished pieces.
Metal Clay Finishing picks up where Getting Started leaves off. Students learn how to clean and polish kiln-fired pieces and how to apply patina to highlight texture. The class will also look at troubleshooting any problems students may be having with forming or that occur in firing, as well as determining when a piece has been over-fired or under-fired.
Upcoming classes with Liz Reynolds:
Sunday, March 8
Sunday, June 14
Getting Started with Hadar’s Clay
11:00am – 4:30pm
Sunday, June 21
Metal Clay Finishing
11:00am – 4:30pm
For complete information about the classes, including class and kit fees, please refer to the website. Additional classes will be held in the Fall.