What is Metal Clay?
Metal clay is a mixture of microscopic-size particles of metal in an organic matrix. It looks and feels like ordinary clay. Once the design is completed and dried, the piece is placed in a kiln where, under high temperature, the organic matrix burns completely away and the metal particles fuse, leaving a piece that is pure metal. Silver metal clay is the easiest of the metal clays to work with, and, although I greatly enjoy working with it, I am currently focusing on the base metal clays: copper, bronze, and steel. They are considerably more challenging, especially in mixed-metal pieces. The reason for this is that each of the metals shrinks to a different degree during the drying and firing processes, and the metal particles in each of the clays fuse in the kiln at different temperatures. Therefore, to work with these clays in a mixed-metal piece requires careful planning.