1.21.2009

In the studio :: metal clay crash course


So a few of you have expressed interest in my current projects (via the little poll on the right-hand side of my blog) so here's the first of my "in the studio" series. Okay, so I technically don't have a studio per se, but calling it "in the scattered pile on my dining room table" doesn't sound as fancy. Anyhoo...

I feel like I just emerged from the dark ages and finally discovered the amazing wonder that is precious metal clay! I don't know which rock I was living under all this time, but I've only recently discovered that metal clay isn't just clay that looks like metal.. it actually IS precious metal... as in fine silver and even gold! I can't believe I had no idea before.. but I was recently browsing through Borders and decided to read a little more about this mysterious (to me) metal clay business. I can't tell you how excited I was to experience this revelation! I've always enjoyed working with sterling silver and gold filled materials, but always felt a little bit limited in what I'm able to do with it, with the little collection of self-taught techniques I know. My dad is a jeweler and I was always intrigued by all the tools and gadgets and techniques he had up his sleeve. He created fine jewelry and mainly designed using the lost wax casting technique (I think that's what they call it). Needless to say, I still haven't had any opportunities to really learn his art and be his little apprentice so that I can expand my repertoire and not feel so limited in what I'm able to create. Then along comes metal clay! If you were like me and didn't really know about it.. metal clay is a mixture of powdered precious metal combined with an organic binder and water. This allows for malleability so you can sculpt it, mold it, shape it, do whatever you normally would do with any type of clay. The magic happens when you fire it at high temperatures.. the binder burns away and the metal particles fuse together to form a solid piece of silver or gold. How incredible is that?? I'm probably not broadcasting any news to anyone since I was most likely the last one off the boat on this one, but I just think it's amazing. And being the play-dough aficionado in my childhood, metal clay was a dream come true for me!

So I decided to break the bank and splurge on metal clay supplies so I can try my hand at it. This is not an inexpensive little hobby so I hope I'm as good with it as I remembered my play-dough skills to be. I guess we'll find out. I finally have all my supplies and will hopefully find some time this weekend to give myself a crash course in metal clay. If all goes well, this will enable me to expand on my designs in so many ways! I'm ecstatic!!! I'll keep you posted on how it goes. *fingers crossed*

4 comments:

June Shin said...

Good luck with that! I've taken some metalsmithing classes and really want to incorporate my newly acquired skills into my current designs, but the limited space makes it hard. I just recently moved my "studio" from the dining table to my very own desk!

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

.Macri.Photography. said...

oh my gosh...sounds awesome. can't WAIT to see your new creations! :)

eNVe said...

Thanks, ladies! I'm glad someone other than me is enthused about this venture. :)

I really wish I could take metalsmith classes. there's SO MUCH I want to learn and explore.. just no time or money to invest at the moment.. maybe one day. So until then, it'll be me in my class of one...with no teacher.

f2images said...

Excited to see what you create....keep us posted for sure!! That was my vote, but more baby pics never hurt anybody either...lol :)