- It is hard to fire clays together which have different firing temperatures, such as steel and White Bronze, or bronze with a large amount of steel.
- It is hard to fire clays together which are not compatible with each other, such as silver and bronze, or silver and copper.
- It is hard to fire clays together which have different shrinkage rates, such as silver and steel.
- Inlaying prior to firing does not allow very subtle relief or fine detail.
- Sometimes it is possible to fire one clay first, then inlay another clay into the fired piece and re-fire. However, since the second clay tends to shrink away from the first one, several re-firings are sometimes required, which is a highly time-consuming process.
- Repairing cracks and gaps, too, requires re-firing, sometimes more than once.
- It is impossible to fire to fire metal clay and other materials together , such as wood and polymer clay.
Hadar’s Cold Inlay Powders – soon to be released on our Web store – are designed to address these challenges.
What is Cold Inlay Powder?
Each cold inlay powder is a mix of pure metal powders. Hadar’s Cold Inlay Powders are currently available in silver, gold, and black colors. The technique is called “cold inlay” because no firing is involved. Only the piece to be inlaid is fired. The inlay is done by filling the indentations of the fired piece with the inlay powder and adding a drop of CA (cyanoacrylate) glue.
Cold inlay allows you to combine metal powders that cannot be fired together because of different firing temperatures, different shrinkage rates, and compatibility. It can also be used for repair in a fraction of the time it takes to repair by firing, and it can be used in materials which cannot be fired.
Once sanded, the inlaid powder looks just like fully sintered metal.
For a demonstration of the process, please download the Instruction Manual for Hadar’s Cold Inlay Powders.
Haven’t posted in a while. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is on Facebook. So, I’m back – after experimenting with chip inlay – with a free project for the holidays.
First, here are some photos of inlay pieces I’ve made:
These pairs of earrings were inspired by the look of the concrete in my back yard.
If you haven’t made chip inlay before, the following project will make it easy for you.
1. Find an actual rock that you like and make a mold out of it.
2. Press clay into the mold, and release it (for color I used Dark Champagne Bronze).
3. With the head of a stylus, mark a groove along the rock.
4. Dry the rock. You can deepen the groove with a ball-head diamond burr.
5. To make the rock look more authentic, I sprinkled some Low-shrinkage Steel XT and Friendly Copper on it, in powder form.
6. Spray the rock with water to make the powder stick. Then dry again.
7. Add a bail on the back of the rock.
8. Fire the rock:
Ramp at full speed to 1000F (for brick kilns) or 1100F (for muffle kilns)
Hold one hour (the rock is solid and a lot of binder needs to be burned)
Ramp at full speed to 1720F (brick) or 1770F (muffle)
Hold two hours.
I find that this schedule works better than slow ramping and it does not take longer. You can program your kiln to do it all in one phase.
9. After cleaning the rock it is ready for inlay. You don’t need to shop for crushed stones. Get some Turquoise beads and crush them with a mortar and pestle or put them on a plastic bag and hammer them against an anvil. Only a very small amount is required. Some chips will be bigger than others and you’ll get some powder that can serve as a space filler.
10. Fill the groove with chips. Make sure to work over a Teflon sheet (the only thing the glue doesn’t stick to). Use tweezers to move the chips around.
11. The glue that I find best for this purpose is CA glue (Cyanoacrylate). It comes in a few grades. Thin or super thin works best since they run like water and are invisible and strong. They are available from hobby and woodworking shops, and online, of course. Be sure to wear gloves and a respirator!
One drop of glue should be enough. A needle dropper will prevent it from spilling outside the groove. Tilt the Teflon paper to help the drop run along the groove. This glue dries within seconds, but I would wait five minutes before touching it.
Have fun, and happy holidays!
Here is a fraction of the beautiful artwork that Hadar’s Clay accredited teachers contributed to my upcoming book: Architectural Jewelry in Metal Clay. One photo per person is presented here in alphabetical order. In the book itself you will find many more photos.
Shattered, by Ann Huckaba
Mayan Ruins, by April O’Connor
The Wine Cellar, by Christy Ann Miller
Breaking Fast, By Cindy Pope
Windmill, by Hope Weiner
Mi Cruz, by Iliana Carillo
Urban Legend, by Komala Rohde
Bodiam, by Laura Bracken
Manitou, by Lorien Saenz-Smith
Saguaro Scene, by Lyle Rayfield
Ahhhh! by Margaret Wells
Desert Ruins, by Nellann Roberts
SkyHigh, by Pam Fenidel
A Castle of My Own, By Paula McDowell
Untitled, by Renee Lindquist
Night Train, by Ron Taylor
Sanctuary, by Sherry Johannes
Rocky Steel, by Susana Schnaider
First, a reminder: The deadline for submissions for my upcoming book, Architectural Jewelry in Metal Clay, is August 15, 2014. I am doing my best to publish this book before the end of the year.
On October 17-19 I will be teaching my last architectural workshop for this year at Studio 34 Creative Arts Learning Center, Rochester, NY. Here is the class information. This workshop is recommended especially for people who wish to take the Accreditation Program for Hadar’s Clay Teachers, which has gone through some transformations, as discussed below.
Changes to the Accreditation Program
From now on, new students enrolling in the Accreditation Program for Hadar’s Clay Teachers will take the program on an individual basis, not in a group setting. This means that you can sign up for the program at any time, and finish the program as quickly or as slowly as you like, depending on your life circumstances. Please read the document entitled Individual Accreditation Program, which explains how the program works. (The document can also be downloaded directly from the right-hand panel of this blog.)
You can sign up for the program on the Classes page on my online store. However, please don’t sign up before emailing me first at email@example.com to tell me about your experience in metal clay. Please bear in mind that this program is for teachers only; if you are interested in classes in general and have no access to an accredited teacher in your area, the Individual Tutoring Class is a better option.
Friendly Brilliant Bronze represents an improvement in the formula of Quick-fire Brilliant Bronze. It fires in one phase only. It has exactly the same gold color as Quick-fire Brilliant Bronze and fires 2 hours at 1500°F/815°C in a brick kiln, 1550°F/843°C in a muffle kiln. It is available on our online store. (Quick-fire Brilliant Bronze will continue to be available.)
Friendly Brilliant Bronze completes the line of Hadar’s Clay one-fire clays – meaning that all of our clays are now available in a one-fire version. (All of the older, two-fire versions, will continue to be available on our store.) For your convenience, here is an updated table showing which Hadar’s Clay products fire in one phase and which fire in two phases.
The Instruction Manual for Friendly Brilliant Bronze can now be downloaded from the right-hand pane of this blog, as well as directly from the online store. Likewise for the document entitled “Map of Hadar’s New One-fire Clays“.
Friendly Brilliant Bronze is extremely resistant to tarnishing – even more so than silver.
This is the 600-gram “rock” from my last blog posting, waiting to be carved.
This piece actually did fit in my 6.5″ x 6.5″ x 4.5″ small kiln. I just mixed 1550 grams of copper, which will probably fit in an 8″ x 8″ x 6″.
The scale shows the weight of the powder plus the water. I am not yet ready to make another piece, since there are so many things I learned from this experience and need to experiment some more.
I was asked why I had made such a piece. The answer is that metal clay creations don’t necessarily have to be functional. Sometimes you want to do it for art’s sake. But mainly I was trying to explore the limits of this medium. I wanted to see what it could do and what it couldn’t. Obviously it’s a new sculptural medium – different from the familiar ones, like ceramic sculpting and stone carving – that needs more research and experimentation.