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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Comparing Copper Clay and Bronze Clay to Precious Metal Clay

To start with, all 3 clays are easy to work with, giving you the ability to create beautiful pieces, whether they are jewellery or sculptures.

All 3 clays consist of 3 different elements: metal particles, binder and water.

Now you are asking yourself, how you get a beautiful piece of art from a piece of pliable clay.

Well this is how it works -

When the clay is heated to a specific temperature, the binder burns off and the metal particles sinter (fuse together), making a solid piece of metal (your beautiful piece of art!).

The cost of all 3 clays is affordable, making this a highly popular craft.

Metal clay (which is Silver) can only be used to make jewellery, as it is not so dense after being fired, whereas Copper and Bronze clay can be used to make much larger jewellery pieces as well as sculptures. Bronze Clay has a density of over 95% that of cast copper.

Both Copper & Bronze Clays can be thrown on a potter's wheel.

All 3 clays can be pinched, rolled, sculpted and manipulated.

In the firing process, the binder vaporizes, leaving a solid, pure bronze, copper or 99% sterling silver object that can be sanded, patinaed or soldered using traditional jewellery or sculpture tools and techniques.

The firing process of Metal Clay is different to that of the Copper & Bronze Clays. Metal Clay can be fired, using a hand- held butane torch, whereas the other two must be fired in a kiln. This makes Metal Clay more affordable to the general man-on-the-street crafter as a kiln and all the necessary accessories do not need to be bought.

The shrinkage for Copper and Bronze Clay is 20% and 8-12% for the Metal Clay.

The shelf-life or storage of unused clay, for all 3 clays, once opened is simple -

Keep the clay tightly wrapped in plastic and place the wrapped piece iof clay, into a sealed plastic bag, into the refrigerator. Periodically check the clay and if necessary add a little bit of water and knead gently.

If you have ever wanted to create your own unique jewellery or try your hand at metal sculpture, but thought that you just could not afford it - now is your opportunity to experiment and still have change in your pocket! Give it a try!

Learn more about this author, Merle Maselle.