It has come to my attention that people are experiencing some difficulties making flexible clay. The last third of my book, The Handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms (2nd edition) is dedicated to projects for flexible clay. You can also watch the following YouTube video about flexible clay:
I’d like to add some information here that is missing from the book. After letting the flexible layer or wire dry in the air, I refrigerate it for a while, even overnight. When you take it out, you can feel some “knots” in the wire or stiffer areas in the sheet. Wiggle the wire with your fingers over the whole length to release these spots. Wiggle the layer in different spots and different directions to release the stiff areas.
This is hard to capture in stills, but I hope you get the idea. Store extra sheets and wire in the refrigerator, and they will stay as flexible as leather.
Here are some things that I’ve been making with an improvised big extruder.
Large color-patterned beads:
A color-patterned hairband almost as big as a cuff (a cuff bracelet would work as well):
A set of bracelet links extruded all at once (featured in my last book):
A new design that I call Cat’s Eyes, which can only be done with a bigger extruder:
And a new design that I call “Bricks”:
I contacted Makin’s Clay about making this extruder. I have all the specifications, measurements, prototypes of dies, 2 types of bead extruders (tube adapters), and a link extruder that may be able to extrude bracelet links with two side holes. They sounded enthusiastic at Makin’s, but so far have not asked me for these details. This information is free! All I want is for an extruder like this to be commercially available, since building an improvised one is not as simple and cheap.
In any case, I will be happy to share the specs and information with you in upcoming workshops.
New Book – Call for Submissions
I am currently working on my next book. The book will be a kind of an inventory of new color patterns that have been made with metal clay, focusing on rings and mirror-image earrings. Please send me photos of anything beautiful that you have done with color combination (pieces with no combination will be considered as well).