Whenever I teach a metal clay class I always see students carefully re-wrapping their metal clay and putting it back into the packaging. I hate to see fresh metal clay dry out so I show my students several ways to store metal clay. Here are a few of my favourites for keeping metal clay either lump or syringe types ready to use and in their optimal condition.
Long Term Storage
Clay: There are several ideas for long term storage. Some people like to use pressed powder containers with a wet sponge on top. Others have purchased different storage containers from metal clay sellers. I find the lotion sample containers from the make up counter to be cheap and plentiful. I like to have containers dedicated for one type of clay. Simply write the type of clay on the lid. A small piece of wet sponge can be added for really long term storage.
Syringes: I have a few containers that hold water and seal off the syringe. I like this one by Linda Stiles Smith which is sold by Rio Grande.
Clay: Having to open and close a screw top container while in the middle of a creative work can be cumbersome. I enjoy using the “Lil Bella” by Donna Lewis. I have several of her glazed terracotta pots. The sponge inside keeps the clay moist and easily accessible. I have seen other artists simply use a cup turned upside down or wrap the clay in plastic wrap.
Syringes: A mug full of water…that’s it! The only advice I have is to use a heavy mug…and not to confuse your mug of tea for your mug of metal clay syringes!
But what do when when your clay dries out while you are working on a piece?? Have no fear, I have expert advice from Master Metal Clay Artist Celie Fago! (Click on the article image to go to the pdf.)
And then there is the question about what to do with bone dry clay and scraps. This video by Lisa Cain is the best how-to I have seen on grinding and reconstituting metal clay. (Click on the image to go to the video)
I hope these tips help to keep your clay in top shape!
Jeannette Froese LeBlanc is the editor at Cre8tiveFire.com and a jewellery artist . When she is not heralding the wonders of jewellery making or chasing her kids, she rearranges her tools and materials in her studio…hoping someday to slow down long enough to get back to her own jewellery line.