Monday, March 16, 2009

Hadar's Bronze and Copper Clay

Although I ordered bronze and copper clay powders from Hadar Jacobson before I left for Italy, I didn't have time to play with them. Luckily that was one of the things we did in the workshop.

I can say that Hadar's bronze clay has a very different consistency than Bill Struve/Rio Grande's bronze clay. It's very creamy feeling, not gritty and prone to cracking like the Rio clay. It sculpted beautifully and had a much longer working time. Once dry, however, it did not carve so nicely as the Rio clay. Then it felt extremely hard, gritty and brittle. The two also seemed to give different patinas, even when fired in the same load of carbon. When mixed, this could be used to give varying colors to different parts of one piece. Very interesting to think about applications of the relative assets of the two different clays.

The copper clay was quite similar in the wet state to its cousin bronze clay. It fired to a bright red patina, but brushed to that classic copper penny color. My flower piece broke upon transporting home, so joins need more attention. I'm pretty excited about using copper clay to make findings and beads to complement my electroformed beads.


  1. Anonymous2:47 PM

    What porblems if any did you have with the copper clay torquing or curling up during the drying stage? If this happened what precautions do you recommend to prevent this while working with the copper clay?
    I agree the texture and workability of Hadar's copper clay is very nice, as is the bronze.
    Cindy Holst

  2. I can't say that I had any issues with curling with the copper clay. All the pieces I made were domed, so attached well to an oiled mold. Perhaps that kept them from curling.

    I do find bronze clay from Rio to curl and torque a lot. I try to flip the pieces over just as quickly as I'm able, so that they dry from both sides. I suspect, but don't know for certain, that drying on a screen or grid might help. I recently bought a dehydrator, and I will try that soon.

  3. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Vickie we also tried a dehydrator that seemed to make the curling and torquing worse. I did flip the pieces very frequently at air drying. I also noticed that in the air dry process as 3 round discs turned to potato chips, they also lost the textures that were on them - it was very interesting to watch.
    I read somewhere to use a sand bag when they are starting to show dryness on the surface - I will try that the next time. Don't know what to do about losing the texture though.

  4. I'm going through the curling now---worked with metal clay for long time, but it's my first time using copper---I tried the dehydrator and they curled very badly, then I just air dried and they still curled? What is in the copper clay that's making it curl so??

    1. Margret, I don't use much copper clay, so I'm not the best person to answer your questions. I think it's a case of drying unevenly, so turning the pieces as they dry helps.

      For experts on copper clay, I'd refer you to Hadar Jacobson or Wanaree Tanner.