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How can I handle Metal Clay

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Every Metal Clay Artist has her/his own ways to handle Metal Clay and create their work.

Here I will share with you my own way.

Once unpacked, metal clay is susceptible to the air and must be kept moist in order to retain its pliability and workability. Keeping this in mind, I always have a clear picture of what I want to create before I start working with the clay. I gather all the tools I will need and I have them close to my working space before I start.

The first pre-start step is adding some lubricant on my hands (my favorite one is the badger balm) in order to avoid having the clay sticking on my fingers, and then, I open my package. I always cut a piece that I am going to use and wrap the remaining clay in cling film; I place this clay in a specialized (clay moisturising) container to keep it moist. If you don't have one, place it in a small plastic container with a wet sponge or a wet tissue and close the plastic container firmly.

A small container with distilled water is always near me; if my clay shows signs of dehydration (see Photo 1), I put water sparingly on the surface to moisturize it again using a paintbrush or my finger (Photo 2). I leave it there for a couple of minutes to absorb the water and then continue my project.

Dehydrated Clay

Photo 1

Re hydrated Clay

Photo 2

If you forget your clay open to the air for some time and it gets dry, put it in a piece of cling film, spray a little bit of distilled water over it, wrap it firmly and knead it. Leave it a few hours to absorb the water before using it again.

If you have to deal with clay that is completely dry, then you have to reconstitute it.

Never use aluminum foil or aluminum tools on your clay, because aluminum contaminates the clay. Most probably it won’t sinter during firing and the piece will break.

Happy to read any comments you may have.

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As always, thank you for reading and watching!

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