METAL CLAY ARTISTS’ LIBRARY
By Pat Evans
A new book from Hadar Jacobson is always eagerly anticipated by the metal clay community. Her latest work, Mixed Metal jewelry from Metal Clay, more than lives up to expectations. Reading it made me want to go straight to my studio and try out her techniques.
Hadar has experimented extensively with bronze, copper and silver clays, even creating bronze and copper clays for her own use years before retail versions were available. In this, her third self-published book, she walks the reader through all the different ways she has found to combine copper, bronze and silver. A new technique is introduced with each of the 41 projects. These are not just boring, learn-a-technique projects, however. Each of the designs is intriguing in its own right, and photos of variations by Hadar and her students give a taste of the way projects can be used as springboards for innovation. Extras, such as tips on ways to create interesting textures and creative mold ideas, add to the creative energy of the book.
The book is written in a clear, straightforward style that is the next best thing to taking one of Hadar’s classes. Photos clearly illustrate each essential step. Abundant sidebars give additional insight into what does and doesn’t work with mixing metals, answers to common questions, and handy tips for working with clay. I was happy to see that Hadar shared many of her tips (including one I learned in her class – using a rice bag to make soft folds in clay). Although Hadar sells her own formula of bronze and copper clay, Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay is brand neutral, with projects developed so that whichever clay a reader uses, the firing schedules apply. (It does not include either Hadar’s newer copper clay formula or Art Clay™ Copper, which were developed after the book was written.)
Hadar gears the book to advanced beginners and above, expecting the reader to be aware of safety issues as well as basic metal clay techniques such as rolling, coiling and extruding clay. Use of rotary tools and simple metalworking techniques such as balling wire are also assumed, and instructions for these techniques simply refer the reader to the author’s earlier books. It’s nice to see the space so often used for rehashing common concepts being devoted to innovative projects instead. Hadar also suggests that her blog, www.artinsilver.com/blog, should be regarded as a companion to the book. Given the rapidly changing nature of our understanding of the newer metal clays, this is sound advice.
If you are interested in making jewelry using a mixture of clays, Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay is an essential addition to your bookshelf. Even if you are firmly committed to using only one type of clay, you could pick up quite a few useful ideas from this inspirational book.
Metalclay, Vol. 1, Issue 2