Have you heard?! WHITE COPPRclay™ is here! I am beyond excited with excitement! I mean WHITE copper? Are you kidding me? Wait, copper ain’t white, so just what is White COPPRclay? The latest metal clay developed by Bill Struve at Metal Adventures, this clay is made mostly of copper particles, but has a dash of nickel mixed in to give it its gorgeous silvery-gray color. Like the other clays from Metal Adventures, the metal particles are held together with binder and water, giving it a silky workability.
Out of the package, the new WHITE COPPRclay looks and feels very similar to original COPPRclay. It rolls, stamps, carves, and sculpts the same way the other clays do. The raw, unfired clay has a brownish-coppery color to it, so the white doesn’t appear until after firing. But when it does, whoa! It’s awesome! The soft, gray color is absolutely stunning. And just like the other metal clays, after firing it’s solid METAL— not a pure metal, though, this clay becomes a metal alloy of copper and nickel. And the fired piece can be finished, hammered, soldered, and oxidized just like any other metal.
For me, the most exciting feature of the new WHITE COPPRclay is that I can combine it with the original COPPRclay. This allows me—and you—to create some really cool two-toned effects in jewelry designs. There are several different ways to combine the clays. For crisp lines, layer the various clays on top of a base to create an appliqué effect, like I did with the earrings above. To create a mokume gane look, layer the clays first, roll the layers up and extrude them from a clay extruder. The extruded cane can then be sliced and arranged into gorgeous, one-of-a-kind patterns. For a subtler look, take the two types of copper and knead them together to create a marble-like effect. This produces a marbled patterning that gives the fired clay a light copper tone.
Firing the clay is done with a kiln and is completed in two stages. The first stage is a low fire of 600°F to burn out the binder. The second stage is much like the process for firing BRONZclay, requiring the pieces to be fired in a covered stainless steel pan surrounded by activated carbon at 1850°F for two hours. This clay is flexible in its firing temp and time, so if you have a kiln with lower or higher temperature ratings, you can still fire the clay. Bill did lots of firing tests and came up with a handy firing guide which shows a variety of kiln schedules that can be used.
I am completely jazzed over this latest addition to our metal clay line, and I know you will to be, too! Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. We have all sorts of goodies planned–design contests, a Google hangout with Bill Struve, more blog posts, more projects, and more fun! Also, pick up a copy of the next issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine which features WHITE COPPRclay. It will be jam-packed with information and inspiration.