As a teacher, I feel I need to try every metal clay available so that I can give a knowledgeable opinion. Also, I love to explore and learn about new things! I recently had the opportunity to test the new Five Star Metal Clays made by Carrie Story at Clay Revolution.
This clay was created by Carrie Story, who says, “I have spent the last several years learning, experimenting and testing all sorts of clays. Developing Five Star Metal Clay was the result of finding each limitation and overcoming it. First, it needed to be pre-mixed. Eliminating that step for beginners was extremely important. Next, some color options to make it fun. Five Star Metal Clays come in Copper, Red Bronze, Bronze, Light Bronze, and White Bronze. This range of colors allows for beautiful mixed metal projects and a versatility of color options in non-precious metals. The clays are very smooth which picks up the finest of textures. Each is slightly flexible when dry which is the perfect density for the cutting machine projects. The dry state is also a great density for carving.”
The clay comes in lump form in 20, 50, 100 and 200-gram packs. There are five colors; white bronze, light bronze, bronze, red bronze, and copper. My first impression was that I love the packaging. It might seem trivial but the vacuum pack has a tear notch. So I don’t have to stop my momentum and pick up my scissors to cut the pack open.
The clay handles beautifully. It has a creamy feel and holds together well, making a nice rolled sheet. I had no problems with cracking during drying- sometimes I push the drying and use a bit of a high heat on the warming tray.
I make molds of botanic specimens and all the Five Star Metal Clays picked up the detail perfectly.
I did a little dry joining, making a paste by mixing a little bit if purified water with the clay. It mixed easily and after application, the join grabbed well. Post-fire I had a good solid attachment.
Sanding is a breeze! I have been using Prometheus bronze clay. It is a very hard/ sturdy clay when dry; to sand the edges of a production run I use my Jooltool with a 220g wheel. With the Five Star Metal Clays, I can easily use 220g sandpaper or a sanding sponge. The same is true with the final damp edge finish if you use it. With Prometheus I have been using a damped cloth because it shreds any wet wipe I tried on it. I can now go back to wet wipes with the Five Star Metal Clays.
I experimented with combining two color clays; copper with the light bronze. The two clays joined nicely in the wet stage and held together during firing. It made a nice stand out detail on my piece.
Rehydration: I cut and dried some pieces I didn’t like so I ground them and doused them with some water. After rehydrating overnight, the clay was workable again and fired successfully.
The firing! Oh my goodness, the firing! Carrie has worked out the best firing schedule ever. Everything is in round numbers and thousand degree increments. Even I could memorize the simple two-step schedule. I keep a binder of all the clay instructions and always double check before I press start on my kiln. This is a life changer for me! All the clays use an open shelf 1000°F burn off for five minutes. Then starting with the white bronze at 1300°F it goes up through the colors to 1700°F for copper. All the times are the same; of course, you can adjust for your particular project.
Polishing is fine with either the 3M brushes or a tumbler. All five colors polished to a bright shine. I used Rio’s Midas Oxidizer for bronze to bring out some of the detail. The white bronze did turn a little bit yellow/ gold hued with the patina.
I have enjoyed creating with this clay and it is going to become my go to clay for my bronze clay work.
Laura Moore is an artist from Newport Beach, CA. Laura comes from a family with a strong tradition in the arts and sciences. She is a Senior Art Clay Certified instructor, and Rio Grande certified in PMC, she also has a degree in chemistry, and an AS in Ornamental Horticulture. She has worked in wide variety of mediums such as textile arts, ceramics, and landscape design. Her latest expression is a line of jewelry featuring silver medallions made with impressions of plants and other elements from nature. Her medallions are handcrafted using Metal Clay.