May 29 2012

Workshops Update

New workshop:

On October 5 – 8, 2012 I will be teaching a workshop in Patterns of Color in Metal Clay and a Master Class in
Mokume-gane Rings, near Hamburg, Germany. Please contact:
Susan Diana Wilson

+49 41 01 374 502 36 or mobile +49 172 40 28 651

Very few spots are left in the following workshops:

July 20-22
Krasl Art Center
707 Lake Boulevard St. Joseph, MI 49085-1398
(269) 983-0271 •

Vancouver, Canada •
This workshop will take place in July or August. Please contact Carrie at the email above.

September 8 and 9
Martinsville, IN
Contact: Pam Hurst,

October 12-13 (“Introduction to Metal Clay”) and 14-15 (Master Class)
Studio 34 Creative Arts Learning Center
Rochester, NY • (585) 737-5858

All these workshops will practice projects from my next book (still open to photo submissions).

May 16 2012

Two More Projects for Bronze XT

Overlay and Inlay with Bronze XT

Squares with Bronze XT

May 13 2012

Project for Bronze XT – Onlay

I’d like to thank all the people who offered to help test Bronze XT. Different conditions (kiln, box, carbon, etc.) would have introduced irrelevant variables. We could have never figured out why one tester gets a different result than another tester. As you can see from my last blog posting, even my own kilns showed different results. The clay had to be tested under identical conditions. I do appreciate your willing to help.

To help get you started with Bronze XT, I am in the process of preparing projects for some of the pieces I made during the testing period. One such project has already been published. Here is the second one in a PDF file: “Onlay with Bronze XT“.

Onlay Copper

Onlay Steel

May 10 2012

Three Metals, One Shot: Bronze XT Now Available – Part 3

Bronze XT is now available on my online store in 100-gram and 50-gram jars.

Very Good News:
Since my last posting I have been making the same pieces over and over. As it turned out, the part of my earlier posting that warns about a “bleeding” reaction between copper and Bronze XT at the high-fire schedule was a false alarm. I had observed this behavior in a kiln that turns out to have been over-firing due to wear. My new experiments were repeated in a kiln with a new thermocouple and elements. No bleeding reaction between copper and Bronze XT has occurred ever since then.

Copper next to bronze


The reaction between copper and Bronze XT at the high-fire schedule is the same as the reaction between copper and regular bronze at the mid-fire schedule; there is some reaction but it is predictable and can be accounted for. You can read all about in in my book Patterns of Color in Metal Clay, pp. 8 and 12.

Please note the following change in the instruction manual and my earlier blog posing, entitled “Bronze XT – Part 1“:

The part that discusses the reaction between copper and Bronze XT (p. 13 in the instruction manual), has now been deleted from the instruction manual. The corresponding part in the “Bronze XT – Part 1″ blog posting has now been stricken out.

So, there is no reason to separate copper from Bronze XT using empty space or steel!

I went back to some of my old pieces and made them again in three metals.



Houses, sun and ocean

This latter piece I had made twice before: once with copper and silver, and once in bronze and silver. In both cases I had to fire the base metal first, then add the silver part using the “hot riveting” and “wraparound” techniques and fire a second time. It’s unbelievable how easy it was to make it this time – like working with a single metal.

You may have noticed that I chose copper for a backing layer in all the pieces that were displayed in the three parts of this article. The reason is that copper is the one which shrinks the least. If Bronze XT or steel were chosen as a backing layer, they would shrink more than the overlay parts, and would either bend backwards or crack. This has always been my choice, even when I used a combination of copper and regular bronze. For now it seems that this is the safe way to go.

I am releasing Bronze XT now with a strong feeling that there is a solid base of resolved issues to lean on. I am going back to working on my book now, to incorporate projects for mixed metals with Bronze XT. I would love to include work of yours that will have been made with this new clay!

May 1 2012

Coming Soon! Bronze XT – Part 2

Quite a few years ago a project of mine was published in Lapidary Journal showing how to make this quilt in silver clay.

Back then only silver clay was available, and things were simpler. The quilt was fired all assembled in one firing. In 2009, when copper and bronze clay became available, I published my third book, Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay, in which one of the projects (entitled “Quilt”) shows how to make a similar quilt in silver, copper, and bronze. The project involved firing the copper and bronze parts first, then adding the silver parts using a technique which I call “hot riveting,” then firing a second time. There was no way of firing silver and base metal clay all assembled in one firing.


Even when steel clay became available, it was still impossible to make this quilt in 3 colors in just one firing, since bronze cannot be fired at the high temperature required for sintering steel clay.

Now that Bronze XT is almost available, it seems that things are starting to become simple again. I repeated the steps from the silver quilt with Quick-fire copper, Steel XT and Bronze XT.

Here are the steps:

1. Roll a layer of copper clay, 3 cards thick (copper should always be the backing layer). Cut it in the general shape of a square, about 2″ x 2″. To make it wavy, fill a plastic bag with carbon or rice, press it with your fingers to create “hills” and “valleys,” and lay the copper layer on top of it. Let it dry.

Copper on bag

2. Roll another layer of copper clay, 6 cards thick. Wet the backing layer only on the sides.

Backing layer wet

3. Lay the new copper layer on top of the backing layer.

New copper layer on backing

4. Cut the top layer to the shape of the backing layer, letting the dry clay lead your knife.

Cut to shape

5. Cut a smaller square inside the bigger one. Remove the smaller square. Since that part of the backing layer is dry, it should be easy to remove. Now you’ve created a frame for the quilt. Dry again.


6. With a pencil, divide the background layer into 9 more or less equal squares.

Background divided

7. Texture a layer of steel, 6 cards thick. Wet the top left square and lay the textured steel in it.

Top left

Steel in top left

8. Cut the steel into a square, following the pencil lines.

Cut steel

9. Use 2 more different textures for a steel square in the center of the circle and for one in the bottom right.

More squares

10. Fill 3 more squares with Bronze XT, squares all textured differently.

Bronze XT squares

11. Fill the rest of the squares with differently textured copper squares.

Copper squares

12. Dry the piece and sand smooth.

Dry and sand

13. Add a bail. I chose two vertical tubes on the right and left of the back of the piece.

Add bail

13. Pre-fire the piece on a stove top. Move it to the kiln and fire at 1700°F/926°C (brick); 1780°F/971°C muffle).


The history of the “Collage Pendant” project

2007: Silver

Collage Pendant

2009: Copper and bronze

Collage, mixed metals

2012: Copper, Bronze XT, and steel