For those who wonder about the color of Dark Champagne Bronze, here is a tutorial.
A note for my customers and students in Canada (and the United States), please check out this workshop. The location is Glen Williams, one hour away from Toronto and two hours from Niagara Falls. The workshop is an introduction to pictorial and architectural jewelry. We will make an indoor scene and learn a technique called “reverse construction” or “underlay.” Not as hard as it sounds. It’s actually a lot of fun.
Now on to the project:
Dark Champagne Bronze is a one-fire clay with the color of Quick-fire Bronze.
You will need: a leather band and a circular mold to make the medallion. The project focuses on the back part of the medallions. The medallions I used are two of my mokume-gane molds.
1. Press a generous chunk of Dark Champagne Bronze into the mold. Without taking the clay out turn the mold over and press it onto the work surface to flatten the clay. Pull the mold out, cut away the excess clay and dry. (The picture below shows two medallions, made for two separate bracelets.)
2. Place the medallion upside down on the leather band. With a pencil, mark 2 vertical lines a little above and below the leather band.
3. Roll out a layer of Dark Champagne Bronze 14 cards thick. Out of the layer cut two strips, 5 mm wide. The length should be about half the diameter of the medallion. Wet the back of the medallion and attach the strips: the top strip above the top pencil line, the bottom strip below the bottom pencil line. Dry.
4. Roll a layer of Dark Champagne Bronze 6 cards thick. Lay it next to the back of the medallion.
5. Align your tissue blade with the top of the top strip. Cut into the layer.
6. Align the tissue blade with the bottom of the bottom layer. Cut into the layer again.
7. Place the cut layer under the medallion. Align the tissue blade with the right end of the strips and cut.
8. Align the tissue blade with the left side of the strips and cut again.
9. Wet the strips, pick up the cut rectangle and fit it on top of them. Dry.
10. Fill in all gaps between the strips and the rectangle. Dry.
11. Make sure that the leather band fits comfortably into the slot.
12. Stick pieces of fiber paper into the slot to prevent it from slumping.
13. Fire at 1720°F/938°C (brick kiln); 1770°F/965°C (muffle kiln) for 2 hours.
The bracelet in the photo below is done in a similar way. See instructions in Patterns of Color of Metal Clay, pp. 71-73.
Hadar’s Clay™ No-fire Furry Clay is a new clay made out of a recently discovered metallic element called Furrium (Fu). Furrium (a.k.a. Fuzzium) is a furrous metal that has been added to the periodic table on the bottom left, under Francium (Fr) and in the same line with Berkelium (Bk) and Californium (Cf) – all of which are highly radioactive and telepassive elements – just to create some aesthetic balance.
No-fire Furry Clay is a No-mix clay. It comes in the jar already mixed. Furrium particles are not active when they are mixed with water and soap. When the Furrium particles are in contact with cold air, they connect with oxygen to create Furrium Oxide (FuO2). Drying the clay overnight in the refrigerator turns it into a very hard and malleable metal. Since the drying process is long, it leaves plenty of time for work.
No-Fire Furry Clay comes in a wide range of colors by adding small amounts of powdered (atomized) gemstones to the clay, such as Bronzite, Cuprite, Woolite, Lucite, Candelite, Tarzanite, Colalite, Millerlite, Hematite, Walterwite, Sleeptite and Morninglite.
No-fire Furry Clay is especially suitable for mokume-gane patterns.
It is also compatible with other flavors of Hadar’s Clay™. After it has been frozen and the other clays have been fired, they can be combined using mechanical connections.
Here are some examples:
In this project I tried to minimize the waste of silver. All leftover and sanded clay went into the piece.
1. Roll a layer of Friendly Copper and silver, both 6-cards thick. Pick a circular cutter, slightly smaller than the opening of the extruder, and cut 3 circles out of each layer.
2. Stack the circles, alternating between copper and silver. Feed the stack into the extruder with the copper circle next to the die (coming out first from the extruder). Important note: If you want more silver than copper showing on the surface of the earrings, the copper circle should be the one coming out first. Use a circular die, 6 mm in diameter.
3. Extrude the stack.
4. Cut the extruded cane into 8 segments and stack them together.
5. Roll the stack with your finger to make the segments stick together. It’s ok that the stack gets longer and narrower.
6. Optional: twist the stack, right side to the right, left to the left.
7. Roll the stack again to close all gaps. Squeeze it again to its original length.
8. Turn the stack on its side (45 degrees).
9. Place the stack in a circular cutter, and press it down hard with your finger or a blunt object. This is meant to avoid gaps later on.
10. Release the clay circle from the cutter.
11. Place the circle on the heating pan. Turn it over once in a while. This step is to make sure that the the clay does not loose its shape when it is sliced with a tissue blade. It should last about two minutes. Then position it on its side and slice it in half. Now you have a pair of mirror-image circles. Dry them thoroughly.
12. Release the leftover clay from the extruder and mix it into an even color clay.
13. Take some of the mixed clay and wet it a little. Smear it all over the back and sides of the earrings. Use it to fill gaps, if necessary, but not on the front of the earrings.
14. Pinch two small blobs out of the mixed clay and attach them to the top of the earrings. Flatten them with your finger until they are equal in thickness to the earrings. Dry.
15. Seal the gap on the back of the earrings between the blob and the circle using mixed clay. Dry.
16. Sand the blob into a circular shape and drill a hole in the middle of it. Any sanding should go into the mixed clay.
17. Fire the earrings in carbon for 2 hours (one phase) at 1350°F/732°F (brick kiln); 1400°F/760°F (muffle kiln).
18. After firing, sand and apply Baldwin’s Patina.
Here are some interesting notes:
A. You can mix Friendly Copper into your silver in a ratio of 9 silver to 1 copper to create an alloy similar to sterling silver. That will save a little bit of silver.
B. In the piece on the left in the photo below, I mixed 30% copper into silver.
C. In the pair of earrings below, I mixed silver and copper in equal amounts.
D. I decided to revisit the statement that I made at the beginning of the second part of my book: Mixed Metal Jewelry in Metal Clay. The statement says that silver an copper clays will not stick to each other when fired together. Copper has to be fired first and silver added with a mechanical connection. After having successfully fired them together in a mokume-gane pattern, I repeated the experment.
I fired two pieces of combined Friendly Copper and silver. The one on the left is an overlay; the one on the right is onlay (the surface is flush).
I fired at 1350°F in my brick kiln. At first it looked good.
Then I hammered and sanded them a bit.
In both cases the copper did not sinter and separated from the silver. I repeated this at 1400°F and got the same result. In my experience, if you go beyond this temperature the copper and silver will alloy and melt. So, I am sticking to my statement.
E. Mokume-gane in silver and Pearl Grey Steel XT works just the same, at the same temperature.
Here are some more samples for mokume-gane with copper and silver:
I have just posted a 2-page update to the first part of the book Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay in the Book Updates section of this blog. You can access it here, or by clicking on the “Book Updates” link at the top of the page and selecting the item marked “Married Copper and Bronze (pages 7-25, 31-48).”
This is a variation on the “Twist and Slice” project from my last blog posting. The materials are the same: Friendly Bronze, Friendly Copper, and Pearl Grey Steel XT.
After layering and twisting the stack, turn the stack on its side. Pick a shape cutter and place the stack inside it. Press the stack hard into the cutter, with your finger or with a blunt tool. Turn the cutter over and press again from the other side.
Release the stack from the cutter and half-dry it by flipping it over and over on top of a heating pan.
Slice it in half sideways, as in the project “Twist and Slice”.
Instead of pressing the stack into a shape cutter, you can free-form it with your hand or with the help of slats or sticks.
Stick an eyelet or embeddable at the top of each earring. To see other ways of creating the holes for the ear wires see my book Metal Clay Practice, p. 39.
Fire the earrings in carbon for two hours at 1510°F/821°C (brick kiln); 1560°F/848°C (muffle kiln).
Next up: How to do this with silver and copper and how to do it with silver and steel:
And of course, something to help you Twist and Shape:
As noted in my blog posting about the New Mid-fire Clays, mokume-gane should always be fired at mid-fire schedule. The three clays which create the pattern of colors are Friendly Bronze, Friendly Copper, and Pearl Grey Steel XT. Friendly Bronze is the one responsible for the strength of the piece, since at the mid-fire range it is the only one that is fired to its highest potential. The other two are high-fire clays.
Mokume-gane seems intimidating at first, but after doing a project or two you may find it addictive. This technique involves manipulation of layered metals. It has been practiced as early as 300 BC in the Middle East, with high-carbon and low-carbon steels to make patterns of black and gray colors in sword making (Damascus Steel). It was practiced in glass in Persia between AD 1000 and 500. It was practiced in gold, silver, copper, Shakudo and Shibuichi in Japan in the 17 century (when the term “mokume-gane” was coined), in the late 20th century in polymer clay, and at the beginning of the 21th century in metal clay.
Most of the mokume-gane techniques in metal clay are done with an extruder. You can find many projects in my books Pattern of Color in Metal Clay and Metal Clay Practice. You can also take classes in your area from local Hadar’s Clay Accredited Teachers.
Here is a beginners’ project for mokume-gane which does not require an extruder. It is a downloadable PDF called “Twist and Slice.”
And here’s a song to help you with the twisting part:
Friendly Bronze and One-fire Mokume-Gane Sampler are now available on my online store.
Friendly Bronze is a mid-fire clay designed especially for mokume-gane patterns. Mokume-gane patterns cannot be created at high-fire schedule for two reasons:
1. At high temperature too much alloying occurs between the metals.
2. When fired at high temperature, steel does not react with Baldwin’s Patina to become black. That makes it hard to get good contrast between the colors and see the actual pattern.
Friendly Bronze can be also fired on its own in one phase with results similar to Champagne Bronze and Dark Champagne Bronze. For firing a one-metal piece they are interchangeable. The color is similar to that of Quick-fire Bronze.
The One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler includes 50 grams of Friendly Bronze, 50 grams of Friendly Copper, and 25 grams of Pearl Grey Steel XT. The proportions of the clays correspond to the proportions actually used in a mokume-gane piece. This combination fires in one phase only and results in a smooth surface despite the differences in the clays’ shrinkage rates.
Firing temperature: 1510°F (brick kiln);1560°F (muffle kiln).
For more information about mokume-gane in metal clay see my books: Patterns of Color in Metal Clay and Metal Clay Practice. Classes are now offered by Hadar’s Clay accredited teachers. A beginners’ free project for mokume-gane will be posted soon.
The Instruction Manual for Friendly Bronze and One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler has now been uploaded to the right panel of this blog.
As you can see in the photos above, the structural part of a mokume-gane piece has to be made with Friendly Bronze. This is the only clay in the combination that is fired to highest potential. The two other clays are high-fire and are actually under-fired in a mokume-gane piece. Therefore they are not strong enough to comprise the structural part.
This is the first part of a 2-part posting: Part 1 for high-fire clays, part 2 for mid-fire/mokume-gane clays. Please download the Map of Hadar’s One-fire Clays.
Two more high-fire clays are now available on my online store: Dark Champagne Bronze and Friendly Rose Bronze.
Both Clays are “Friendly” in the sense that they can be fired successfully in one phase only. They are additions to the One-fire Sampler of Champagne Bronze, Friendly Copper, and Low-shrinkage Steel XT. They can be fired on their own or combined with the One-fire Sampler clays and with White Satin in one piece and fired at the same firing schedule.
Dark Champagne Bronze is darker than Champagne Bronze and similar in color to Quick-fire Bronze. Here is a color comparison:
Friendly Rose Bronze has the same color as Quick-fire Rose Bronze. Here is a piece by Cindy Pope, made from Friendly Rose Bronze and Low-shrinkage Steel XT, using the Silhouette machine:
On their own: 1720°F (brick kiln); 1770°F (muffle kiln);
In combination with other high-fire clays: 1750°F (brick kiln); 1800°F (muffle kilns).
An Instruction Manual for Hadar’s Clay High-fire Clays has now been uploaded to the right-hand pane of this blog. A free project for Dark Champagne Bronze will be posted soon.
This is the first architectural ring I have made from White Satin. Fired at 1680°F (brick kiln) for 2 hours (no pre-firing), it came out without a crack. No repair whatsoever. The natural sapphire set in it retained its original color.
Here are some photos showing the ring from different angles:
In response to the the many questions that we have been getting, here is the MSDS for White Satin.
To see people’s testimonials about White Satin please visit the Hadar’s Clay Support Forum.
Stay tuned: on the weekend we are about to release new products: Dark Champagne Bronze, Friendly Rose Bronze, Friendly Bronze, and the Mokume-gane sampler. All one-fire clays. There will be two separate postings for these clays.
Friendly Bronze and the One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler will be released on March 14. The instruction manual for these products has been uploaded to the blog and can also be accessed from the right-hand pane.
Two of my books are running out of print again: The Handbook of Metal Clay (2nd edition) and Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay. This has posed a dilemma for me. Do I revise them or just re-print? If I just re-print, they will be outdated. On the other hand, if I revise them, by the time they are published I will probably have to revise them again. The field of metal clays goes through rapid developments, for some of which I have to take some responsibility. Things change faster than the time it takes to revise a book.
So here is what I have decided to do: I am going to re-print the books as they are. At the same time, this blog now has a new section, accessible from the top of the page, called “Book Updates.” Once in a while I will post updates to projects that exist in the printed books. These updates will not necessarily be written or posted in the order in which they were published. The updates will be posted from time to time in the form of short PDF files that you can print out and insert in your books, right next to the specific project(s) they update.
This will help to ensure that your books are up to date with recent metal clay developments, even if you have a version of the book that was published a few years ago. It also saves me the time it normally takes to revise and publish a new printed edition. And, it makes it unnecessary for you to purchase a revised edition of a book you already have. Everybody wins.
If you have questions about certain projects in the current books or if you have photos of pieces inspired by projects, please send them to me. I may be able to answer questions and include (good quality) photos in the updates.
The three first updates, pertaining to The Handbook of Metal Clay (second edition), have now been posted in the “Book Updates” section
With every update, blog subscribers will receive a note. The updates are part of our product support and are free of charge.