• My Guide: An Introduction To Metal Clay

My Guide: An Introduction To Metal Clay


What is metal clay?

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Metal clay is an exciting art medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver, gold, bronze or copper which is mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewelry, beads and small sculptures. Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal within it. The binder burns away, leaving a pure sintered or solid piece of metal.

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Above: ‘Spring Blossom’ feat Red Garnet, Amethyst, Citrine, Blue Apatite and White Topaz

The piece below is pre-firing Prometheus copper metal clay:

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Above: Pre-fired piece from the ‘Landscape Gems Collection’

The following image shows post-fired Prometheus copper metal clay which has sintered into solid copper. A sheet of solid copper in the middle as a comparison:

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Above: Prometheus Copper Metal Clay after firing. In the center is a solid sheet of copper as a comparison.

What work do you create from that medium?

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Above: ‘Wish Upon a Star’ feat Tanzanite, Fine 999 Silver Metal Clay & 9ct Gold Plated 925 Sterling Silver
Due to my life-long passion of clay and sculpture, I expanded my work in 2012 to use the exciting medium of silver, copper and bronze metal clay, in concert with my ‘Landscape Moods’ series of paintings. Metal clay allows me to sculpt work in a free form and expressive manner, allowing me to create a wide range of sculptural metal jewellery and this has been titled the ‘Landscape Gems’ series.

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Above: ‘A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine’

My metal clay work has enabled me to indulge my love of sparkle and genuine precious and semi-precious gemstones in both faceted and bead form. I personally source all the gemstones I use, which include: Diamonds sourced via the ‘Kimberley Process’ (faceted and rough), Ruby, Garnet, Emerald (Brazilian and Colombian) and my personal favorite gemstone which is Paraiba Tourmaline (from Mozambique).

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I have called this series of jewellery the ‘Landscape Gems ‘ series which is sculptural and organic which are designed with a range of media, including: high quality 100% genuine gemstones, gemstone granules, gleams, mica powder, solid silver, enamel and recycled elements such as vintage watch parts. I additionally incorporate media such as metal sheets, gemstone settings, wire, beading thread, metal findings, charms and polymer clay. Each of these mediums provides me the opportunity to further develop and enhance the beauty in each piece of jewellery in this series. By combining all these elements it, therefore, enhances the unique fingerprint of Mother Nature found within all genuine gemstones featured.

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My artwork and jewellery both explore colour and form and I feel that one informs the other. Metal clay is such an exciting progression and this medium allows me to further explore my distinct signature painting style within a three-dimensional framework.


All artworks & designs displayed are by © Copyright Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip.

View my professional gallery of works at: http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/laurahelliottart

Twitter @laurahelliott

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