|In the Tucson Mountains|
For months,I've been looking forward to Hadar Jacobson’s class on mokume gane using base metal clay. I also knew this was an opportunity to learn more about her new clay. (http://hadarjacobson.com/) Lyle Rayfield (www.lylerayfield.com) hosted the class in the Tucson Mountains. What a beautiful setting for an intense 3 day class! Taking a class with a master teacher like Hadar adds so many dimensions to the process. I have all her books and now that I know some techniques first hand, it will be so much easier to follow the text. Meeting other people interested in the same things helps make the class more fun and creative. I have new friends I can email and share information.
I love the texture and ease of the base metal clay which makes constructing something a joy. It’s that carbon and firing that makes me crazy. So I’m going to focus on using Hadar’s clay for the next few months and improve my metal clay skills as well as make friends with the firing. Stay tuned!
While explaining the process of making metal clay jewelry to a friend, I thought it might be good to share the explanation here on my blog. Not everyone who reads this post knows the process. This is a very simplified overview.
|Hadar has many kinds of base metal clay and they all come in powder form.|
There are cutters and textures and forms to use. It is always a good idea to have a picture or plan in your head before you start so the clay does not dry out.
|This bead is ready to fire in the kiln|
Once the piece is dried and sanded, it is ready for the kiln. The new clays take one firing for 2 hours to become metal. This is much easier that the ones that take 2 firings. The binder in the clay is burned out and the metal micro filaments fuse together to become bronze, copper or steel depending on the original powder.
|Beads ready for another layer of carbon and into the kiln!|
|Fired bead before polishing.|
|These two pieces have been cleaned and are ready to polish.|
|Polished and ready to string - copper, bronze and steel|
There are many other steps and techniques used throughout the process that take practice and experimentation. But maybe these highlights make the magic of going from powder to metal a little more understandable.