Nov 28 2012

ClayMill Metal Clay Extruder is Available at Last

The ClayMill Metal Clay Extruder, an extruder with a 2″ barrel, is now available from PMC Connection. Thank you, PMC Connection, for your enterprise and dedication!

ClayMill Metal Clay Extruder

Let me state at the outset that: 1. this is not a product review; 2. I have no financial interest in promoting this product. I have been providing my input during the development of the ClayMill extruder with the sole interest that it should exist in the market and be available for the metal clay community. That’s because I have seen what can be done with it and believe that its full potential has yet to be explored.

This is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. A bigger extruder allows us to extrude large mixed metal beads, cuffs, hair pins, and bracelet links, all in one extrusion. Apart from its ability to extrude large items, it also allows us to produce multiple pieces – a few pairs of earrings, for example – when we need to stock up for a sale or a show, again, in only one extrusion.

When I say one extrusion, the total amount of clay is either 80 or 120 grams of powder clay after it has been mixed with water. That means one 100-gram jar of powder or less.

However, there is more to it than the size and quantity: in my book Metal Clay Practice, on pp. 116-127, you can find instructions and projects that show what designs this extruder can produce that are impossible to achieve with smaller ones. One example is the the pattern of the rings on the books cover:

2 rings

Here are some more examples:

Big Bead

This is a 3″ patterned bead.

Ladder Pendant

Band Ring

Hair Band

This is a hair pin made with one extrusion.

Spiral

Link Earrings

Bracelet

Both the bead above and the pair of earrings were made with one extrusion. The whole bracelet was also made with one extrusion.

Rectangles

Squares

Architectural Rings

I’d like to demonstrate here a more basic project that may help get you started. It includes a lot of photos, but only because I wanted to show every detail. The project is actually very simple. The instructions for feeding the barrel of the ClayMill extruder are somewhat different from the instructions I’ve been giving in my books regarding the smaller extruder. The project explains and demonstrates this.

Mirror Image Earrings

For your convenience the project is available as a PDF file so you can print it out and attach it to the book. Here it is.


Nov 18 2012

Holiday Project – Golden Spoon (and Fork)

The holidays are upon us and we are prepared to put on some weight. This project for dysfunctional fork and spoon may inspire you to eat a little less. The project is linked at the very bottom of this posting.

But first I’d like to refer you to a blog posting that I wrote exactly one year ago. I wrote that posting after Sharon Elaine Thompson, in the December issue of Jewelry Artist Magazine (Lapidary Journal) counted my work with metal clay powder among the 10 Most Influential Developments in the past decade “that have had or are soon likely to have the greatest impact on jewelry making today.” I feel just as thankful as I felt then, and would like to repeat what I said at the time, word for word:

“I would also like to thank you all for sticking with me throughout this journey, determined to make it work. I have learned a lot from your questions and from the problems you have encountered, and because of them I feel better equipped to continue my support.”

As for this project: it is a simplified version of a project that was published a few years ago in Lapidary Journal. During the holidays, if you have some time for yourself, or if you need some time for yourself, this non-complicated project may keep you busy and maybe put a smile on your face. Here is is, and here is my daughter Naomi, who made me crop out her beautiful face, wearing them (note the shadow that they cast).

Naomi 1

Naomi 2

Here is the project. Enjoy!


Nov 11 2012

New Use for White Bronze

This is something I should have thought of long ago. In all my instructions for using White Bronze in combination with other metals I said that the other metals have to be fired first, then White Bronze has to be added in a MECHANICAL WAY and then fired again at low-fire schedule.

That is still true, but there is an easier way. You can make the whole piece out of higher firing clays, and then paint White Bronze on parts of it.

I was looking at an old piece of mine that I made when only bronze and copper clay were available. Now that we have so many more options, it looked boring to me.

Piece in bronze and copper

I made some paste from White Bronze, and painted the roofs and the road with it.

Painting in White Bronze

I let it dry, and repeated this three more times, just like we used to do with gold on silver.

I recreated the texture on the road, using a needle tool.

Recreating texture with needle

Then I fired it for one hour, no pre-firing, at low-fire schedule. I sanded the roofs with 220- and 400-grit sandpaper. The White Bronze did not come off.

Finished

I recently made this ring from Brilliant Bronze.

Brilliant Bronze ring

I painted the roof with 4 layers of White Bronze paste.

Painted roof with White Bronze

Fired 1 hour, no pre-firing, at low-fire schedule. The White Bronze picked up the texture of the Brilliant Bronze underneath, so I just buffed it and left it not sanded.

Ring

This works with copper and all types of Quick-fire Bronze. It does not work with steel, since the temperature is not high enough for the two metals to fuse.


Nov 11 2012

Now Available: Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze

Traditional (Flex) BB 100

Traditional (Flex) BB 50

So far, Hadar’s Clay™ Traditional (Flex) clays were available in copper, bronze, steel, and Rose Bronze. Now, Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze (in gold color) is available as well.

For those of you who are new to the blog or to the world of metal clay, Traditional (Flex) clay is clay that stays flexible after it has been dried and allows us to weave, braid, knot, fold, and sometimes even knit and crochet. After the powder clay has been mixed with water, it needs to be mixed with glycerin. Full instructions can be found in my book, The Handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms, 2nd edition. The third part of that book is dedicated to flexible clay, including preparation and projects.

You can also watch a video clip about Traditional (Flex) clay on YouTube.

Rubber bands

The project for the earrings above, made in Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze, is on p. 106 of my book, The Handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms, 2nd edition.

Here is a project for the earrings pictured below. Those of you who are familiar with flexible clay may want to read through, since it contains new tips.

Doodle

  1. Roll a layer of Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze, 4 cards thick. Out of the layer cut 2 strips, about 3 mm wide. Wrap them around a mascara or lipstick container, seal the joints, and dry. These will be the “frames.”

    Important note: Steps 1-3 can be done with Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze without mixing it with glycerin, since no flexibility is required here. However, they cannot be done with (non-flexible) Brilliant Bronze, since its shrinkage rate is lower.

  2. Wrap around container

  3. Remove the frames from the container. Roll another layer of Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze, 4 cards thick, wet it, and lay the frame on top of it with slight pressure.
  4. Lay frame on top

  5. Cut the excess clay around the frames, and dry. Now you have 2 open “boxes.”
  6. Two open boxes

  7. For this step, use the clay after it has been mixed with glycerin. Roll another 2 strips, 2 cards thick, about 5″ long. Let them dry in the air or in a dehydrator.
  8. 2 more strips

    Tip: After the strips have dried, cool them for 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Before moving on to the next steps, release hard knots from the strips by following this procedure: Hold the end section of the strip between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands (left and right thumb touching, left and right forefinger touching), and wiggle/roll gently to release knots in that section. Then move along the length to the next section and repeat the process. Continue all along the strip.

  9. Attach one end of the strip to the inside of the frame, using paste. When drying, try to keep the rest of the strip away from the heat.
  10. Tip: With flexible clay always use paste, and avoid using water! Water may cause the dry clay to disintegrate.

    Attach end inside frame

  11. Start scrolling the strip inside the box.
  12. Scroll strip inside box

  13. Continue until the entire length of the strip is contained in the box.
  14. Entire length in box

  15. Move the end of the strip towards the center of the box (you can use tweezers). Secure it in place with paste. Dry.
  16. End near center

  17. Roll a layer of Traditional (Flex) Brilliant Bronze (not necessarily mixed with glycerin), 8 cards thick (2 Popsicle sticks). Cut out 2 circles, using a tube or a straw.
  18. Cut out 2 circles

  19. Cut off the bottom third of the circles. Dry them, and attach them to the top of each earrings with paste. Dry.
  20. Attach

  21. Drill holes in the circles for the ear wires.
  22. Drill holes

  23. Fire the earrings 10 degrees below mid-fire schedule. (See firing instructions in my Instruction Manual for Hadar’s Clay™.)

  24. Finish the earrings, following the instructions in the document entitled “Finishing Fired Metal Clay.” If the background is not black coming out of the kiln, use liver of sulfur.

  25. Attach gold-plated ear wires.

Nov 1 2012

2013 Travel-teaching Schedule

My travel-teaching schedule for 2013 has been updated. You can also access it by clicking on “Hadar’s Travel-teaching Schedule 2013” in the right-hand panel of my blog.

Many classes have been added (about 13 in total), including in Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria) and in Kansas City, MO.

The focus of all workshops will be “What Clay to Use and When,” and they will include projects for Brilliant Bronze and combinations of high-fire clay (steel, copper, and Bronze XT).

Holey Pendant

Brilliant Bronze

Rock

Brilliant Bronze

Klimt

Bronze, copper, steel

Circle Pendant

Steel, copper, Bronze XT

Advanced workshops will cover architectural rings in metal clay.

2 BB Rings

Brilliant Bronze, Rose Bronze

2 Steel Rings

Steel, copper, bronze XT

Mission

Brilliant Bronze and Rose Bronze

Lighthouse

Copper and steel

In Steel

Steel, copper, bronze XT

For the convenience of my local students, next to every workshop are mentioned the dates on which my Berkeley studio will be closed. During my absences the Online Store and Customer Service will continue to function as usual. As always, I will still be available via email for support, although with some possible delays.

Any changes to the schedule will be announced separately. If you have any special wishes, please contact the hosting venue.

Looking forward to meeting you all!