Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bronze Clay: Workspace Sneak Peek

by Staci L. Smith

Today I just thought I would go over some stuff about working with bronze clay, and how I incorporate that into my work.
As you may know, I make jewelry, AND I also make most of my components, in both polymer clay and metal clay.

I started out years ago in silver clay, until the price skyrocketed, forcing me to try out the newer base metal clay.  I am very grateful for that drastic change in market, because I am soooo sold on the earthy base metals!

My favorite of which is Fast Fire bronze clay.  Copper clay is actually easier to work and more consistent in firings, but I love the look of the bronze best.  Fast fire bronze also doesn't shrink as much as copper, which is nice when you like to work big like me.

Since I do both polymer and metal clay, I use the same stamps and texture sheets for both.  I wasn't going to share tools in the beginning, but, I have so many favorites that it just made sense.  The best part is being able to use polymer to make molds of both metal clay and polymer beads that I like, so i can do them again.  I have also been carving my own texture sheets in polymer to use with both.

 some of my texture sheets in the worksurface, stamps and molds

Before starting my metal clay, I clean them all really good with soap and water, and then coat them with oil or this easy spray I love from Cool Tools.
I get no endorsement for this, I just love this stuff

I use many of the same tools I do for polymer- needle tool, shaping tools, roller.........everything needs to be coated in oil of some sort- including your hands- so the metal clay doesn't stick.

My set up is pretty basic, I have a cutting board (different one for each type of clay).  I work on that and once a piece is done shaping, I place it on the coffee mug warmer (I have two, and could use more at times).

I make my own slip and have a designated rinse cup full of distilled water as well.  These both come in handy for sealing small cracks and attaching pieces together.


 rinse cup

  coffee and dried pieces ready to be sanded

I try to sand over the slip dish, and then add distilled water to make it a consistency that I need. (and always wear a mask to sand)

After all this they go in the kiln to be fired in carbon.

Hope you enjoyed a little sneak peek into my studio.  

1 comment:

Linda said...

I love taking a peek into other's studios. I'm curious about the large yellow mold in the background of the picture after the Cool Slip photo. Did you make that? Looks handy! Love your work, but you already know that!

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