Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bronze Clay: Revisited...

On the plus side, it's economic and much less expensive than fine silver clay. It's got a beautiful color and warmth.

On the downside, it takes a lot of conditioning to get it to a workable state. Using it straight out of the bag is not an option. Getting it to that point isn't the easiest. Or rather, it isn't the cleanest. It leaves a slimy sludge on your hands (which happens to turn your hands green if you don't scrub the heck out of them with a good pumice soap.) You also can't use the same tools or stamps you normally would use for fine silver clay. Cross-contamination apparently causes problems. The other downside is that you can't just throw it in the kiln and go. You've got to fire it in activated carbon in a steel container. (Estimated firing time for thicker bronze clay is on average 9 hours.)

I am interested to see what this product can eventually achieve. I have no doubt that with time, patience, and many artisans working with the medium that it'll become easier and more creative. Many of the issues that I had to deal with the bronze clay had to be resolved intuitively, as there isn't yet a great store of resources available for troubleshooting. In time, I'm sure there will be more information to come.

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