Originally developed by the Japanese company, Mitsubishi Materials, for their tradition of ceramics, it has now found its way into the jewellery and craft
market. It is a putty-like material, made up of 90% fine silver or one of the other metals, 10% water and organic binder. Its pliable consistency makes it easy to shape, model, cut and texture – there are also liquid and paste forms which can be used as a glue, or to add decoration. When fired either by torch or kiln, the organic binder burns away, leaving a solid piece of fine silver or other metal. Its ease of use makes it an ideal introduction to the art of jewellery design with little knowledge of jewellery making techniques. It can also be used with glass, clay and porcelain.
The clay can be pushed into a mould to take on a particular finish or shape, or painted onto the under surface of a leaf, or covered over a cork or wood mould to make a hollow metal object – the cork burns to a fine ash inside the piece.
Went back to In The Studio last weekend to learn the techniques and made some credible pieces of jewellery which made me think I could do this too.
It is also yet another magical process – looks and feels like clay/putty/ sludge when wet, then dries to look like plaster of Paris. When fired, it turns white – and looks like' Omigod, what on earth have I created!!!!!' until brushed firmly with a brass brush – and hey, presto – silver/ copper appears – amazing. It is possible to set Cubic Zirconia into the putty before it dries, and even add it when it is dry – hooks can be added to it, and of course, eventually soldered if needed – but I am crazy about the magic of this new material
Once fired, it can be filed, soldered, patinated, enamelled and finished to professional standards.
I am soon going to buy me a kiln – have ordered one, and then am going to go for it – mainly with copper to start with, I think.