Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Joy of Metal Clay - Alternatives to a steel pan

Many of the base metal clays require that one fires them in activated carbon. This requires some form of vessel to contain the carbon. One of the most common methods is to use a stainless steel firing pan such as the ones that BeadFX sell (photographed below).

The problem with this method is that the steel will darken and flake into your kilns creating a black soot messing up the kiln. Of course you can vacuum out your kiln but overall this is a messy option.

Hadar Jacobson, creator of a wide variety of metal clays instructs individuals to make your own firing box out of fiber boards and blanket. LINK

The downside to this is that cutting and "playing" with fiber blankets and release fibers into the air that aren't necessarily wise to breath in (that being said breathing in the carbon is a bad idea too, so remember to wear your mask!!!). Still her ideas are very creative!!!

There are a few new items on the market that may be an improvement over the above. The first is the below ceramic firing vessel (photo courtesy of Art Clay World USA) and the following link describes how to use it ArtClayWorldUSA - ceramic firing container.

I have not tried this as the size does not fit in my kiln (before ordering take into consideration the interior measurements of you kiln!. But before these came on the market I have occasionally used a crucible for small items.

The other new item that there is a lot of discussion about on the metal clay forums is a no flake foil that one can create your own box with. It claims to not flake or soil your kiln. I am ordering some and going to try it out. I will keep you posted!

Happy Mother's day to all you mothers!!!

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