Mar 21 2014

New Book Update

I have just posted a 2-page update to the first part of the book Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay in the Book Updates section of this blog. You can access it here, or by clicking on the “Book Updates” link at the top of the page and selecting the item marked “Married Copper and Bronze (pages 7-25, 31-48).”


Mar 18 2014

Mokume-Gane “Twist and Shape”

This is a variation on the “Twist and Slice” project from my last blog posting. The materials are the same: Friendly Bronze, Friendly Copper, and Pearl Grey Steel XT.

After layering and twisting the stack, turn the stack on its side. Pick a shape cutter and place the stack inside it. Press the stack hard into the cutter, with your finger or with a blunt tool. Turn the cutter over and press again from the other side.

Press, turn, press

Release the stack from the cutter and half-dry it by flipping it over and over on top of a heating pan.

Release

Slice it in half sideways, as in the project “Twist and Slice”.

Slice

Instead of pressing the stack into a shape cutter, you can free-form it with your hand or with the help of slats or sticks.

Free-form

Stick an eyelet or embeddable at the top of each earring. To see other ways of creating the holes for the ear wires see my book Metal Clay Practice, p. 39.

Fire the earrings in carbon for two hours at 1510°F/821°C (brick kiln); 1560°F/848°C (muffle kiln).

Earrings

Earrings

Next up: How to do this with silver and copper and how to do it with silver and steel:

Copper and silver

Silver and steel

And of course, something to help you Twist and Shape:


Mar 16 2014

Mokume-gane – Free Project for Beginners (“Twist and Slice”)

As noted in my blog posting about the New Mid-fire Clays, mokume-gane should always be fired at mid-fire schedule. The three clays which create the pattern of colors are Friendly Bronze, Friendly Copper, and Pearl Grey Steel XT. Friendly Bronze is the one responsible for the strength of the piece, since at the mid-fire range it is the only one that is fired to its highest potential. The other two are high-fire clays.

Mokume-gane seems intimidating at first, but after doing a project or two you may find it addictive. This technique involves manipulation of layered metals. It has been practiced as early as 300 BC in the Middle East, with high-carbon and low-carbon steels to make patterns of black and gray colors in sword making (Damascus Steel). It was practiced in glass in Persia between AD 1000 and 500. It was practiced in gold, silver, copper, Shakudo and Shibuichi in Japan in the 17 century (when the term “mokume-gane” was coined), in the late 20th century in polymer clay, and at the beginning of the 21th century in metal clay.

Most of the mokume-gane techniques in metal clay are done with an extruder. You can find many projects in my books Pattern of Color in Metal Clay and Metal Clay Practice. You can also take classes in your area from local Hadar’s Clay Accredited Teachers.

Here is a beginners’ project for mokume-gane which does not require an extruder. It is a downloadable PDF called “Twist and Slice.”

Layered

And here’s a song to help you with the twisting part:


Mar 13 2014

New Clays are Now Available – Part 2: Mid-fire Clays

This is the second part of a two-fire posting. (For part 1 click here.) This one is regarding mid-fire clays. Please download the Map of Hadar’s One-fire Clays.

Friendly Bronze and One-fire Mokume-Gane Sampler are now available on my online store.

Friendly Bronze

Friendly Bronze

One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler

One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler

Friendly Bronze is a mid-fire clay designed especially for mokume-gane patterns. Mokume-gane patterns cannot be created at high-fire schedule for two reasons:

1. At high temperature too much alloying occurs between the metals.
2. When fired at high temperature, steel does not react with Baldwin’s Patina to become black. That makes it hard to get good contrast between the colors and see the actual pattern.

Friendly Bronze can be also fired on its own in one phase with results similar to Champagne Bronze and Dark Champagne Bronze. For firing a one-metal piece they are interchangeable. The color is similar to that of Quick-fire Bronze.

Flat Bead

The One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler includes 50 grams of Friendly Bronze, 50 grams of Friendly Copper, and 25 grams of Pearl Grey Steel XT. The proportions of the clays correspond to the proportions actually used in a mokume-gane piece. This combination fires in one phase only and results in a smooth surface despite the differences in the clays’ shrinkage rates.

Firing temperature: 1510°F (brick kiln);1560°F (muffle kiln).

For more information about mokume-gane in metal clay see my books: Patterns of Color in Metal Clay and Metal Clay Practice. Classes are now offered by Hadar’s Clay accredited teachers. A beginners’ free project for mokume-gane will be posted soon.

The Instruction Manual for Friendly Bronze and One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler has now been uploaded to the right panel of this blog.

Pillow

Mokume Flat

Rock

As you can see in the photos above, the structural part of a mokume-gane piece has to be made with Friendly Bronze. This is the only clay in the combination that is fired to highest potential. The two other clays are high-fire and are actually under-fired in a mokume-gane piece. Therefore they are not strong enough to comprise the structural part.


Mar 13 2014

New Clays Are Now Available – Part 1: High-fire

This is the first part of a 2-part posting: Part 1 for high-fire clays, part 2 for mid-fire/mokume-gane clays. Please download the Map of Hadar’s One-fire Clays.

Two more high-fire clays are now available on my online store: Dark Champagne Bronze and Friendly Rose Bronze.

Dark Champagne Bronze

Dark Champagne Bronze

Friendly Rose Bronze

Friendly Rose Bronze

Both Clays are “Friendly” in the sense that they can be fired successfully in one phase only. They are additions to the One-fire Sampler of Champagne Bronze, Friendly Copper, and Low-shrinkage Steel XT. They can be fired on their own or combined with the One-fire Sampler clays and with White Satin in one piece and fired at the same firing schedule.

Dark Champagne Bronze is darker than Champagne Bronze and similar in color to Quick-fire Bronze. Here is a color comparison:

Champagne and Dark Champagne

Left: Champagne Bronze; Right: Dark Champagne Bronze

Dark Champagne Bronze Cuff

Dark Champagne Bronze Cuff


Friendly Rose Bronze has the same color as Quick-fire Rose Bronze. Here is a piece by Cindy Pope, made from Friendly Rose Bronze and Low-shrinkage Steel XT, using the Silhouette machine:

Friendly Rose Bronze and Steel

Friendly Rose Bronze and Steel

Firing temperature:
On their own: 1720°F (brick kiln); 1770°F (muffle kiln);
In combination with other high-fire clays: 1750°F (brick kiln); 1800°F (muffle kilns).

An Instruction Manual for Hadar’s Clay High-fire Clays has now been uploaded to the right-hand pane of this blog. A free project for Dark Champagne Bronze will be posted soon.

(For part 2 of this posting, please click here.)


Mar 12 2014

Architectural Ring from White Satin

This is the first architectural ring I have made from White Satin. Fired at 1680°F (brick kiln) for 2 hours (no pre-firing), it came out without a crack. No repair whatsoever. The natural sapphire set in it retained its original color.

Here are some photos showing the ring from different angles:

Architectural Ring

Architectural Ring

Architectural Ring

Architectural Ring

In response to the the many questions that we have been getting, here is the MSDS for White Satin.

To see people’s testimonials about White Satin please visit the Hadar’s Clay Support Forum.

Stay tuned: on the weekend we are about to release new products: Dark Champagne Bronze, Friendly Rose Bronze, Friendly Bronze, and the Mokume-gane sampler. All one-fire clays. There will be two separate postings for these clays.


Mar 4 2014

Book Updates

Friendly Bronze and the One-fire Mokume-gane Sampler will be released on March 14. The instruction manual for these products has been uploaded to the blog and can also be accessed from the right-hand pane.

Two of my books are running out of print again: The Handbook of Metal Clay (2nd edition) and Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay. This has posed a dilemma for me. Do I revise them or just re-print? If I just re-print, they will be outdated. On the other hand, if I revise them, by the time they are published I will probably have to revise them again. The field of metal clays goes through rapid developments, for some of which I have to take some responsibility. Things change faster than the time it takes to revise a book.

So here is what I have decided to do: I am going to re-print the books as they are. At the same time, this blog now has a new section, accessible from the top of the page, called “Book Updates.” Once in a while I will post updates to projects that exist in the printed books. These updates will not necessarily be written or posted in the order in which they were published. The updates will be posted from time to time in the form of short PDF files that you can print out and insert in your books, right next to the specific project(s) they update.

This will help to ensure that your books are up to date with recent metal clay developments, even if you have a version of the book that was published a few years ago. It also saves me the time it normally takes to revise and publish a new printed edition. And, it makes it unnecessary for you to purchase a revised edition of a book you already have. Everybody wins.

If you have questions about certain projects in the current books or if you have photos of pieces inspired by projects, please send them to me. I may be able to answer questions and include (good quality) photos in the updates.

The three first updates, pertaining to The Handbook of Metal Clay (second edition), have now been posted in the “Book Updates” section

With every update, blog subscribers will receive a note. The updates are part of our product support and are free of charge.