WelcomeWelcome to the second issue of the Metal Clay Notebook. The entire purpose of this free publication is to promote innovation, provide inspiration and offer support to metal clay artists at all levels. If you'd like to help, please encourage your friends to sign up for our mailing list. You can forward this email and encourage them to click on the Mailing List link below.
 TECH TIP: Green Gold First, a few basics: pure gold has a warm brownish hue and it is too soft for many applications. To add strength (and make it go further), other metals are added. To retain the original color, refiners add equal parts of copper and silver. If there is more copper than silver, the result is called rose or pink gold. If the balance leans toward silver the result is called "green gold."    Metal clay comes in silver and gold varieties, and that makes it easy to create a green gold alloy simply by mixing the two clays. An alloy of 25% silver and 75% gold (18k) gives a subtle green color. If the proportion of silver is greater, the result becomes disappointingly pale. If we start with pure gold, the math is easy - one part silver to three parts gold.      Because gold metal clay is supplied at 22 karat (roughly 92% gold), we need to add only 17% silver. There are many ways to figure this out. If you have a scale, weigh the gold and multiply that number by 0.22. If you have 10 grams of gold, this math would have you add 2.2 grams of silver. The resulting alloy has a total weight of 12.2 grams of which 3 grams is silver. That is our goal of 25% silver and 75% gold. The ring shown here was made in this way, dried, carved and fired for two hours at 1500˚F (816˚C).
 EVENTS: Metal Clay by the Bay by Holly Gage When I go to a metal lay conference I always anticipate a good time,especially when Louise Shadonix and crew organized such a fun event at a resort! But let's be honest, I'm there to work. I have three days of classes to teach, demos to give, new students to meet, and I will join in the Show and Sell. It's busy, busy, busy!. I also think it is a great opportunity to become even more entrenched in our close-knit community, so I engage in lots of conversations... in the vendor's room... on the beach at the Gala... and by the pool during lunches.       I'm always trying to take the temperature of the metal clay community. This is a great chance to hear how artists are doing in this economy and how they are adjusting to economic challenges. I'm interested in knowing about metal clay businesses, and what items they are selling these days. It's also fascinating to see how teachers are filling their classes and what the successful ones are doing to keep them full. I'm also looking for great ideas about what other groups are doing and whether they are still active.      Discussing the wealth of our community helps me to decide what I may personally do to contribute to the community, help my mentees navigate though their metal careers, or what I should be teaching in the future based on student interest.      During Demo Night, Jackie Truty spoke about her concerns, suggesting that we would all benefit from an organization that would foster unity and growth in our community. I chimed in a thought or two on growing our member base with some outreach efforts. Lis-el Crowley agreed to collect ideas from interested community members. The room seemed to agree that we need to unite in these growth efforts in order to enjoy robust conference attendance, to support vendors, teachers, authors, magazines and the activities that keep our hands wrinkly in the slurry of our clay.      The conversations throughout the event and during demo night put my mind into over-drive.When I was supposed to be sleeping at night and later, on my eight-hour plane trip home, I was writing several some ideas that I intend to share with others. My feeling is that a good conference should stimulate the mind, encourage creativity, and bring together like-minded people. For me, Metal Clay by the Bay 2014 did all that.                                                 Congratulations for a job well done!
 Survey of Base Metal Clays Manufacturer                                          Name                                       Pkg sizes (grams)  Aida Chemical Industries (Japan)         Art Clay Copper                         50   Cinter Metal Clay Powder (US)               gogoshebogo (Etsy)                   50  Hadar's Clay (US)                                    Quick-fire Bronze                         50, 100 (see website for more)                            Quick-fire Copper                        50, 100                                                                     Brilliant Bronze                             50,100                                                                    Quick-fire Bronze XT                     50, 100                                                                    Rose Bronze                                  50, 100                                                                    White Bronze                                50, 100                                                                    Low Shrinkage Quick-fire steel   25, 50 Metal Clay Adventures (US)                   BRONZclay                                  30, 100, 200, 1000                                                                    FastFire BRONZclay                    30, 100, 200, 1000                                                                    COPPRclay                                 30, 100, 200, 1000                                                                   White COPPRclay                       30, 100, 200  Meteor Clay (France)                            Premium Copper                        100                                                                   Premium Gold Bronze                 100                                                                   Premium Pink Bronze                   100                                                                   Premium Light Bronze                  100                                                                   Premium White Bronze                100                                                                   Premium Steel                              100  NobleClays (Poland)                              NobleClays Bronze                       50,100, 200, 300 (clay or powder)                                     NobleClays Copper                     50,100, 200, 300  Odak Art, Hobby & Craft (Poland)      Prometheus Bronze                     100, 200                                                                   Prometheus Copper                    100, 200 Waldemar ilowiecki Pracownia           Goldie Bronze - Hard & Soft         100 Artystyczna (Poland)                             Goldie Roman Bronze                  100 (all sold in powder form)                       Goldie de la Rosa Bronze             100                                                                  Goldie Snow Bronze                      100                                                                  Goldie Copper                               100                                                                  Goldie Lemon Brass                       100                                                                  Goldie Iron                                      100
 Tool Talk: About that Wooden Toothpick... by Lisa Cain   In the last issue of the Notebook we asked a few metal clay artists about their favorite tool and when Lisa said "wooden toothpick" we asked her why. Here's her answer:   * Sometimes I use the point of a toothpick to cut freeform shapes at the clay stage.  * They are also handy when wet clay gets stuck in a shape cutter. If that happens I'll use a toothpick to push the clay out (aiming for the spot where I'll make a hole if it's a shape for earrings). * Because the toothpicks are slightly abrasive I can use them for sanding in small curves and tight spots at the dried stage. For this, it's got to be wood; plastic toothpicks don't work so well. * A couple of twists with the toothpick is perfect for rounding up the snaggy edges inside holes. * They're very useful for smoothing joints where planes come together, for example in my Fin~tastic beads.   We also asked Lisa about the clever dust catcher shown here. Find a plastic container of the appropriate size, for instance a juice, milk or similar small jug. Cut away at least half of the body to create a shallow tray that will catch valuable sanding dust. Leave a section of the handle and you'll have a handy spout for pouring the dust into a jar for safe keeping until you are ready to reconstitute it.
Backstory: Anna Mazon's Drawings

 This is a typical page in my sketchbook - a lot of askew drawings with comments about materials, design and notes to myself. I'll probably really use only two, maybe three, of these designs.  I need to draw a lot, to produce a few decent ideas.

Generally I sketch a lot. I have several notebooks filled with ideas and hundreds of loose pieces of paper. Sometimes these are sketches and sometimes they are just written descriptions. Sometimes I don't really "see" a project - I just think about a detail and write the idea down. The degree of detail varies from sketch to sketch too. Sometimes I just want to capture the general feeling of a piece, such as the movement, the visual flow, or a detail, and the rest just happens as I start working. Then again, sometimes more precision is needed, for example when I want to use a sketch to create templates. I also make more detailed sketches when I work on custom orders. My clients don't necesarilly have to know what I have in mind but they need something clear.

One sure thing is that my sketches are always far worse than what I make at the end. They are often rough, childish or simplistic. I don't really care, because they are just for me. If they recall certain image and feeling in my head the are OK. They are just made to remember.

Forest King - This is a typical example of my sketching, just a shape, placement of a head, and general structure - that's all I needed in this case.

Mushroom Heaven - Here I only wanted to capture the movement and a general theme. There were these lovely stripes in the stone, and I wanted the design to follow them. The rest just happened.

Ice Dagon - In this example I wanted to use my sketch to make some tiny templates, so it had to be accurate. You can see that the final pendant replicates the sketch.

Elena - this one was a custom order, so I needed to make a sketch for the client that would be clear. Around the sketch I made some comments explaining how things would go one on top of each other.

 You're Special...   You got into the Notebook from the beginning. But what about people who start using metal clay a year from now? We hope their friends tell them about the Notebook and that they become a regular reader, but what about the issues they've missed? And what about that great article you want to return to someday? We've got you covered. Each issue, starting with this one, will have a link at the bottom to a website designed to archive and index every issue.   Go to the Notebook Archive >