Monday, June 22, 2009

CopprClay experiments




I received some packages of the new CopprClay from Rio Grande a few weeks ago. Since then, I've been experimenting like crazy with this exciting new medium. While I've previously had some experience with both Silver Art Clay and with Precious Metal Clay in Silver, I have to say that I'm more interested in the copper, both for it's color and for the added measure of "workability" that I think it has. And its price!!

Above and below are some press molds that I made with polymer clay (they were cooked hard before using). Slick up the mold and your hands with olive oil and press the clay in. If the clay won't come out the mold easily, just let it sit for awhile until it hardens slightly, and then it will pop right out. Clean up the edges before it gets too hard. Even after it's completely dry, I found it was still pretty easy to shape and file. I used an Exacto knife and a small jeweler's file. Here's a shot of the tools I assembled, including a brass brush and some buffing compound that won't be used until later.


For projects that need to have the clay rolled out, I used a piece of parchment paper underneath and just a little bit of oil. I tried parchment paper on top too, but found it wasn't really necessary as long as I worked quickly.

Place any scraps into a small bottle with some distilled water to make paste or slip. I used a bit of slip to smooth the shaft of the key, but decided to leave a few of the pits so it would look a bit rustic.

I haven't yet fired these pieces. It seems that firing CopprClay is a little trickier than Silver, so I'm going to be experimenting with that over the course of a few days. But I didn't want to delay in showing you a couple of the pieces that will be fired soon!




Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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6 comments:

inkgrrl said...

Can't wait to see how these turn out!

Cyndi L said...

Stay tuned! Friday and Monday there will be more. And lots of projects this summer :-)

Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

mee too! I don't have a kiln anymore (grumble grumble!) but I may have to buy another tiny one because I'm loving this copper clay.

Do you have to fire it in a special box with charcoal(or whatever) like the bronze clay or does it fire like silver clay?

Cyndi L said...

Hi Barbe! It has to be fired deep in activated charcoal to avoid oxidation, so unfortunately it can't be torch fired or hotpot fired, but has to be in a kiln.

Gail said...

Hi!I love copper,reading your posts have left me a little confused.I've never used a kiln,I live in a very same rural community and have never seen one!You say the copper clay can be dried in the oven.Do I still need a kiln?I ache to work with these clay products,and they are becoming affordable!But not a kiln.Any info,I'd be so grateful for.Thanks

Cyndi L said...

Hi Gail, sorry for any confusion! The clay is dried out in the oven prior to firing it in the kiln. You can't reach the temperature to burn off the organic binder and sinter the metal properly without using a kiln...the firing temp is around 1700 degrees F.

I use the same kiln for both glass and for this metal clay, so if you could locate someone near you who makes lampwork glass beads, for example, maybe you could pay them a small fee to fire the pieces for you. It's worth a try to check around. Certainly you wouldn't want to invest in a kiln unless you were sure that you would use it a lot.

Join the metalclay group on yahoo, and you can ask around there, plus get more input on how to find and finance a kiln:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MetalClay

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