Steel Clay Updates

Georgia did it again. You may remember that she was the one who originally discovered the compatibility of copper and bronze clay. As soon as she laid her hands on steel clay, she combined it with copper and fired.

Steel and copper fish

So now we know that steel and copper clay can be fired at the same temperature, without interfering with each other’s sintering.

Although I haven’t yet been able to repeat Georgia’s experiment, I have been able to combine steel and copper clay in a single firing, meaning that both copper and steel clay were fired in green state.

Copper steel

Overlay Wraparound

Inlay wraparound

Click on the photos to see the full picture. The one on the left is an overlay of copper clay on steel clay; the one on the right is an inlay of copper in steel clay.

There is a good reason to fire them both in green state: if one of them is fired first, the second shrinks over metal that has already shrunk. Since the firing takes place in a kiln and is not done with a torch, the shrinkage of the second metal is too high and causes it to crack.

Why not bronze and steel? The firing temperature for steel is too high for bronze. However, it is possible to combine them by firing steel clay first:

Bronze steel earrings

Steel and bronze ring

Yes, that last photo is a ring. It’s been a long time since I made any rings. Here are some more. They are incredibly light, and though I’m not sure of the exact shrinkage rate, it seems to be very low.

With stone

With silver

Half round

Stitch ring

Here are some pieces that do not involve a single firing. The components were fired separately and then assembled.

3-cube earrings

t-Rod necklace


This last piece is not the one that is featured in my third book. That piece was made with silver leaves. The piece above is made with steel clay.

So when is steel clay going to be available for shipping? Hopefully around Thanksgiving. I am off this weekend for a 4-day workshop in San Diego, and plan to start stocking as soon as I get back.

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