Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Discovering More About: Metal Clays

You may have seen the classes listed or the packages in the store. You may have also seen jewellery components or finished pieces listed as 'made from metal clay'. But what exactly is 'metal clay'?

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, create 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 Art Clay Silver, Prometheus and Hadar’s Clay (the three brands sold at BeadFX).

Metal clay can be used to create pendants, bead or end caps, toggle clasps, charms and much, much more. In many cases, within reason, if it can be created in pottery clay it can also be created in metal clay. That means, you can create your own custom pieces that no one else will have. Can't find what you're looking for - then create it!

Art Clay Silver fires into pure fine silver. Pieces can be taken to a bright shine or to a beautiful satin finish. Darkening applications, such as liver of sulphur, can be added to bring up textures and surface designs.

Hadar's Clay starts off as powder to which distilled water is added to create lump clays with can then be worked in similar ways. These are base metal powders are available in various bronze colours, copper and steel.

Prometheus Clays are also base metal clays and are available in bronze and copper and is the most recent on the market.

Of course, each brand and type of clay will have its own working and finishing requirements and this is why an introductory class is a good idea to get started working with metal clay. We are fortunate to have experienced metal clay instructors who have each specialized in a particular type of metal clay as well as taking it beyond the introductory stages.

Friday, September 18
Copper Charm Bracelet using Prometheus Metal Clay
Instructor: Sue Henry
5:00 - 9:00pm

Sunday, September 27
Getting Started with Hadar's Clay (Part 1)
Instructor: Liz Reynolds
11:00am - 4:30pm

Sunday, October 4

Metal Clay Finishing (Hadar's Clay Part 2)
Instructor: Liz Reynolds
11:00am - 4:30pm

Friday, October 9
Bronze Earrings and Pendants using Prometheus Metal Clay
Instructor: Sue Henry
5:00 - 9:00pm

Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11
Champlevé Enamelling on Art Clay Silver
Instructor: Christine Woollacott
10:00am - 5:00pm both days

Friday, October 23
Introduction to Art Clay Silver
Instructor: Jenn Jevons
11:00am - 7:00pm

Saturday, October 24
Mold Making for Art Clay Silver
Instructor: Jenn Jevons
10:00am - 4:00pm

Sunday, November 1
3-D Bronze Pendants or Earrings in Prometheus Clay
Instructor: Sue Henry
12:00 - 4:00pm

For complete information about each class including course descriptions and class or kit fees, please see our website. Go to www.beadfx.com and click on 'Classes'. Follow the links to the class calendars and the individual classes.

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