Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Trying Art Clay Copper (Post #8 of ?)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/03/18

A few posts back, I mentioned that I had my doubts about how well any of these pieces with components I’d squidged together would hold. Well, yes, there were some issues.

1. Edges that had looked perfectly smooth in the clay state now show gaps between two pieces that had been squidged together. While this can be an issue in any clay if you don’t properly finish the edges, with this product, even seams that had looked and felt well-groomed still reverted to showing their two-part construction.

To illustrate this point, here are four of the five pieces I made in Art Clay Copper using this technique, and three others that I made the same way with some form of silver clay (PMC+, PMC3 and Art Clay 650) that I just happened to have handy. (I don’t have any samples that used other brands of copper nearby to photograph.)

2. While the “snake” I formed to add to this piece seems to be holding well, it surprised me earlier by shifting a little bit as it dried. Originally, there’d been a big circle at the tip of this paisley shape. But, while drilling a hole in that from which I’d planned to hang the piece, I broke it off. Smoothing out the point, I decided to try this approach. I squidged the (still moist) snake into place, taking care to make sure it extended exactly over the pointed tip. When I came back the next day, after I’d left it to dry, apparently the shrinking clay had caused it to shift off that point a bit. (You can see how much it shifted by seeing how far off the point it is as the top of this photo. Had it been fully secured, there’s no way that could have happened. Other problems might have arisen instead, just not that…) By the time I saw this, it was too late to move it at all, but I wanted to make sure it was really secure. I re-moistened it, pressed it back down, and held it for far longer than I would normally do. At last, that did seem to hold. (This photo shows the piece fired, quenched, pickled, and dental-picked. Many of the little dots are still full of firescale…)

3. But my biggest surprise was the big expanded air bubble in this one. It clearly shows that some air had been trapped between the two layers, something I’ve never had happen when I used a similar technique on other clays. It is a somewhat interesting, if unintended effect. The only problem is, I’d made a “pair” of these, and only this one gained the bubble. The other one is shown, on edge, in the first photo above: both it and this show separation cracks around their edges.

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