Daily Archives: March 3, 2010

Making connections

One of the techniques I have been trying lately is to join two pieces of bone dry unfired metal clay with just a wash of water and “squidging” the edges together until they catch. This I learned from reading Kate McKinnon’s book, “Structural Metal Clay.” I’ve always made my joins, before firing, with PMC slip. But the idea of just using water to create a small amount of slip on the surface of two well-fitting pieces sounded so much easier and cleaner. I found it hard to believe it might actually be stronger, so I made a test piece to try it out.

These sample earrings were made from PMC+  rolled 4 cards thick and pressed into my own silicone texture plate. I cut the discs in half with a blade and dried them on a cup warmer. I filed the edges ever so slightly to make sure I had the widest surface to join, and wet the edges with a brush and butted them together, sliding back and forth just a little until they started to catch. I held the pieces together for a few seconds longer and then placed them back on the cup warmer. When dry, I drilled a hole in one end and fired them at 1630º for 2 hours. After firing, I tried to break these puppies apart, and they did not bend. I then hammered them on a steel block with a steel planishing hammer and no stress or breakage along the join. I’ll be darned. That is a strong little connection!

I used the same technique to attach the inside ridged piece in these earrings. It was SO much easier to use water and dry clay, than to fit two wet pieces together, or  to use oozing slip to attach them. When I used to use my own slip to join two dry pieces, I had to go back and clean up the messy dried bits before firing.

I wonder if this same technique will work with Hadar’s copper and bronze clay? I’ve been away from those clays for too long.


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