What is Metal Clay?
Metal Clay is a revolutionary new material invented by Mitsubishi Materials Corp. of Sanda, Japan in the 1990’s. It consists of very small metal particles such as gold, silver, bronze, copper, or steel, and, when mixed with water and an organic binding substance called "methyl cellulose", creates a clay-like dough that is used in making small sculptures, jewelry, and beads.
In its wet or fresh stage it is malleable and can be sculpted, textured, rolled, pushed into a press mold, or draped around an object to create a hollow form. When it is air-dried or leather hard it can be carved, cut, sanded, drilled, and joined to make complex forms. When the clay has become dry and hardened, the piece is fired in a kiln at high temperatures ranging from 1300 to 1900 degrees (depending on each metal’s individual melting point) for 2 to 5 hours. A wonderful transformation then takes place. As the binder fires away, you are left with a piece of pure, metal as seen in my jewelry. The work is then cleaned up, sanded, buffed, tumbled, polished, and often oxidized to enhance detail and texture. The final stage is where components and gems will be added as designed.