May 2, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on What is Art Clay Silver?

What is Art Clay Silver?

What is Art Clay Silver?

Art Clay silver is pliable water based clay that is easily transformed into Silver, just by heating it.  Art Silver Clay is like any other clay when purchased and unpackaged, just a slightly moistly lumped. This clay is a little different, as it is made up of 1-20 micron sized silver particles, organic non-toxic binders and water. Note that there are few types of Metal Claying, though in this article we will discuss Silver Clay, as being most popular amongst artists.

Just like your normal clay,you can mold and shape this lump of clay into any shape, creation and even jewelry.  Once your creation whatever you have designed, has dried, it will become hard as plaster. Ways to dry your piece are a hair dryer, warming tray, heat gun, food dehydrator or a slow oven.  Once it’s hard you can engrave it, file it or carve it until its perfect. Then its perfect time to fire it, this can be done in numerous ways such as on a gas-stove top, a kiln, or a propane gas torch. So how does it become silver?

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May 16, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on Types of Metal Clays

Types of Metal Clays

Types of Metal Clays

Art clay also known as metal clay is a wonderful creation that has opened up many creative pathways. This user-friendly clay has a range of three colors: silver, gold and bronze.  It is made up of silver, gold or bronze powder, mixed with water and a non-toxic organic binder.  There are a few differences between the three colors so lets take a look at these.

Silver clay is made up of 1-20 micron silver particles and non-toxic binder and water. Silver art clay can be fired in many ways and after the firing process has shrinkage of 8-10%. You will be left with 99.9% pure silver.

Bronze metal clay was released in July of 2008 and is much cheaper than silver and gold art clay and also come in bigger bags of up to 300 grams. It is made up of 11% tin, 89% copper, water and non-toxic binding materials.  It has different firing requirements; it has to be fired in a kiln for 30 minutes. Some say that you can use a handheld torch on bronze clay. After the firing process you will be left a density of 90% of cast bronze. Bronze clay has shrinkage of fewer than 10% after the firing process and also requires a warm pickling solution after the firing process, to remove residual fire scale.

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Jun 18, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on The Art of Making Craft

The Art of Making Craft

The Art of Making Craft

Here in the guild, we get a lot of great, unique orders. In fact, just getting to hear all the creative ideas from our customers is one of the best parts of our job. Recently, though, I got an order from a gentlemen that was so much fun to create that I had to share. He told me that he works at a data center as a design manager in charge of designing tasks, and that he would like for me to design him a crest of honor. After figuring out the details, I started to work. As it turned out, creating a crest of honor was a highly enjoyable process that I’d like to share with you here.

Tweaking the Design

Like I said, most of the details of this project’s design were already very well laid out for me. The customer was very meticulous and had a beautiful looking idea in his head that he did an excellent job of conveying to me. Still, there were several details that needed to be resolved. The first thing I did was sketch the design on a piece of paper to help me better visualize what the finished product was going to look like. After tweaking it, having a second conversation with the customer, and showing it to a few of my colleagues to get their opinion, it was time to refine my sketch into the final pattern that would be used to make the crest.

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Mar 30, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Silver clay sintering and handling it with care

Silver clay sintering and handling it with care

Silver clay sintering and handling it with care

The artists at the Guild had a new order for making a kayak. The client who owns a sports goods store wanted the model to advertise for his new series of kayaks he had purchased. He had seen one of our works at his friend’s shop and wanted a similar one. He was very much interested in how the art clay was made, and asked, if he could stay during the creation of the kayak clay model.

He had several preconceived notions on how the clay was fired and made. I mentioned to him about the firing temperature, which determines the quality of the art clay. Most people believed that the firing turns the silver metal into solid metal just like in casting. But this is not so. Casting metal is made by using molten metal, which is poured into moulds and allowed to cool. This results in a solid and strong metal that has minimal porosities or air spaces. But in a silver clay, the objects are sintered. Sintering is an entirely different process.

Sintering

Sintering involves bringing tiny metal particles to a temperature that is just below the point they melt, so they are bonded together. Porosity is rampant here because the metal particles do not fuse like blocks of metals stacked together in a neat an even manner. The particles come in different shapes and sizes and when they fuse, they don’t fit perfectly. To understand the sintering more, imagine lemon drops candies in a dish together. While each candy is in contact with the other, they are not touching completely leaving behind spaces between the pieces. Similarly, the sintering temperature forms a bond only at the points where the particles touch, so the result is that after sintering, the object you get is not fully solid, even if it appears so, on the exterior.

This bonding is not strong as the air spaces between the particles makes the solid weak and it can be broken easily when dropped, or receives a blow or is bent.  When the sintered object is broken, the break is mostly irregular and the inner aspect will appear grainy and dull in colour, when compared to the exterior.  While many people mistake this break pattern as improperly fired clay, this is how properly sintered clay would look like.

Factors influencing sintering

Sintering is not an instant process. The temperature at which the particles are sintered should be maintained for a longer span for the proper bonding to take place. Insufficient temperature will result in weak bonds. When the ideal time and temperature is maintained, you get good silver clay.

Silver clay should be handled with care because of the weak bonding present. These objects should be handled just as if you use ceramic, instead of thinking of them as metal. When the silver clay is created with ceramic in mind rather than a metal object more care will be taken, while firing it hence a sturdier object is created. And when you know it is more of ceramic nature, you will use them with care. The client took it all in and said he would take care of the model and keep it well treasured as it had come out quite beautifully.

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Mar 20, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Developing Self Defense Skills

Developing Self Defense Skills

Developing Self Defense Skills

Most people would rather avoid conflict and don’t even want to imagine what it might be like to be assaulted by someone else. People are generally good, so the saying goes; if they weren’t we wouldn’t have things like organized society, laws, rules and whatnot. However, it goes without saying that the world of today is a far different place from the world of fifty years ago – or even 20 for that matter. As the population of the world burgeons and more and more people find themselves in the same amount of limited space, conflicts won’t lessen. Therefore, developing self defense skills is important.

Naturally, there are several different ways to do this. You could try some live education, punching, kicking and positioning yourself in a class environment, surrounded by other people who are all trying to learn the same moves. For some people, this is the best way to learn self defense skills; it’s reminiscent of grade and high school days and comforting, somehow. It’s also one of the better methods for people who prefer hands-on experience in a subject rather than reading about it in a book. However, there are other ways to learn these same skills, which don’t involve getting hurt – or hurting someone else.

A martial arts dummy, like the kind you might find at GRAPPLING DUMMY INSIDER, makes a great opponent if you have reservations about doing or receiving harm. No matter how hard you hit one of these dummies, it’s not going to hurt the thing, though you might hurt yourself if punching or kicking in just the right spot. You can beat on these for hours to figure out the best way to swing your arms and legs, but beyond that, with some professional instruction, you can learn the best places to strike an opponent as well. With this knowledge, you can end potential conflicts sooner rather than later.

Even without an instructor to help you along, these dummies can be useful “partners” for those looking to learn self defense skills. The world is full of resources about this topic, from handwritten books by various authors, to websites, pages, podcasts and other media, all talking about the same thing. For example, with just a few minutes of searching, you can find a list of many different vital pressure points on the body. Then you can practice hitting those points on your dummy. Of course, live practice yields more educational results, but again it isn’t for everyone.

This is a far cry from the artsy stuff we usually talk about here, but there’s a good reason for bringing it up. Recently, someone known well by one of the staff here got himself hurt pretty badly. He was mugged and they took a lot more than just his wallet. He was and still is one of the kindest people you might meet – but now he knows better than to think the world will always be a kind place if he himself is kind. Take a lesson from our friend and learn how to defend yourself today, so you can avoid what happened to him tomorrow.

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Feb 5, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Beautiful Bodies Just Like Clay

Beautiful Bodies Just Like Clay

Beautiful Bodies Just Like Clay

It’s no secret we really like our ArtClay here – the stuff can be molded, glazed and fired just like any other clay, but it leaves behind something far more valuable than you get when finishing most other sculptures. That’s not really where the greatest appeal is for me, however. Me, I enjoy the fact that I can simply start over, again and again, until I end up with a product that I truly like. That’s the best part of working with clay if you ask me. It’s also something I know millions of men and women wish they could do with their own bodies; changing or modifying something here or there, whenever they like.

Though some of us may have rather earthy complexions, we’re flesh and bone, not mud. Surgeries to correct defects can be costly or even dangerous, with no real guarantees you won’t be worse for wear after the procedure. There is one thing that practically anyone can use to improve the condition of their skin, however. The MICRODERMMD is a dermabrasion machine which removes dead skin and lets the living, breathing skin underneath get at the air it needs to stay healthy. With it, you can clear up your skin of many blemishes, leaving it smooth like clay.

Compact machines like these are very useful for clearing dead skin, but they do more than just that. They can also grind down painful corns and other knobs, nodules and lumps which could safely be removed with a file. These just work much faster and give better results with less fuss. You can actually read all about microdermabrasion and the machines used in the process right here, if you want. Even with one of these though, your skin still isn’t clay – you have to be careful and not too rough with it or else you’ll end up hurting for your efforts.

Never try to press the machine into your body, as if trying to squeeze just a little more up under the grinder. These do use grinders, usually discs with a surface covering much like very fine grade sandpaper, to remove flakes of dead skin and grind down unsightly growths. Therefore, they can be pretty dangerous to the user if they aren’t responsibly used. If you do remove more than just old skin, be sure to apply some sort of salve to the area once you’re finished. You don’t want little pinhead-sized scars all over your body, do you?

I think, if you want skin that looks smooth and soft like fresh clay, then you will want to look into these dermabrasion machines a little more closely. But there are other ways you could improve your appearance too. Switching up your diet could help reduce acne or other blotches, depending on your skin type and other factors. Just washing your face more regularly helps a lot more than people realize in terms of clearing dirt from pores and preventing things like blackheads from occurring. Using a device such as this as one of several measures will likely give you the best results.

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Feb 6, 2015

Posted by | Comments Off on Homemade Sausage

Homemade Sausage

Homemade Sausage

There used to be a time that when you bought a sausage, any kind of sausage, you could expect it to be filled with meat instead of extenders, fillers and the odd little bone fragment just lurking about, waiting to chip a tooth. We’ve had some bad ones here in our time, which is why one of us who shall remain unnamed suggested we go out and get a meat grinder. That way we could make our own sausage and be sure of the source materials as well as the quality of the meat being put into the casings. It turned out to be a rather delicious idea.

See, when you get sausage from a store or even from a butcher if you don’t actually see the sausage being ground, you could end up with pretty much anything in every bite. Some vendors have been known to add a bit of powdered cellulose (read: wood dust) to their sausage so it crumbles better when broken up rather than cooked whole. That’s just one of many additives you could be getting from your favorite sausage without realizing it. It’s also why we finally picked up one of the many grinders we found listed at http://www.meatgrinderadviser.com/.

It’s not all good. Even before we ground meat for the first time, I was worried about how complicated it would be to clean one of these things, and I wasn’t proven wrong. All I can say is, if you’re going to be grinding beef, pork or something else, then be sure to grind a lot of it in one sitting. Dismantling a meat grinder and cleaning it can take hours and that’s no exaggeration at all – so to save you a lot of time and effort, it’s better to use the thing sparingly. Any meat you don’t use right away can be packed and frozen for a while, so this isn’t a major negative point or anything.

Even if you don’t go with the WARING MG105 like we did, there are some care principles which are universal for meat grinders, so keep reading. They absolutely must be cleaned and completely between grinds – bits of meat, blood and tissue left in the grinder will contaminate everything you grind afterward. Also, if you use any soaps to make the grease easier to remove, you must make sure to rinse that thoroughly off the grinder, again to avoid contamination of food. It’s liberating to take our food into our own hands like this, but it comes with some real responsibility.

It’s still good though, for many reasons. First, we know what we’re actually eating now. We can also prevent any bones or other inedible bits from finding their way into our meats. Additionally, we always have fresh ground meat this way – it’s never something that’s been sitting on a shelf for weeks, or longer. It seems like the sort of device every home should have and I’m not surprised many homes did used to keep grinders around, much like other essentials such as brooms or clothespins.

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Dec 16, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on Being a Better Human

Being a Better Human

Being a Better HumanStudying the humanities like law, literature, art, history and the like can be a rewarding experience rife with opportunities to learn more about your own culture as well as those of other people around you and elsewhere in the world. If you ask me, knowing people and how to deal with them is one of the most useful skills you can pick up in life. However, all that time spent working a desk or with your nose buried in a book can be bad for your body if you don’t complement it with times of high activity. Getting an education is important, yes, but being a better human requires keeping your body healthy as well.

There are many benefits to better physical health and being fit in general. For starters, if you cut back on the amount of food you eat every day and lose weight because of it, you’re actually doing yourself two favors. First, you get lighter, but second, that’s one meal or snack fewer which needs to be driven around the country, or flown or boated across the world. It seems like small stuff for one person, but imagine if the whole population of the United States, well over 300 million people, was to cut one snack out of its daily routine. We’re talking millions of pounds that doesn’t ship and massive savings on fuel.

That’s not to say everyone is going to start being more responsible just because you do. But if you can affect a couple people in your life and then they can affect a couple people in their lives and so on, you’ve started something special there. Just like you can do this by eating less, you can also do it by exercising more. There’s no need for a gym membership or anything like that either – you can get fit at home using a power rack system to work out various parts of your body, all with the same machine. If you’re unsure how this would make you a better human in general, then keep reading.

With stronger muscles and a more defined body, you will invariably find yourself dealing less often with the typical aches and pains of being overweight, like osteoarthritis and other pains in the joints, an aching lower back and so on. You might even get away without hitting your favorite kind of NSAID, now that you aren’t feeling those pains. A week or two of that and you’ve saved a whole bottle. Medicine ships just like food, and just like getting healthy helps up above, it also helps in the same way here.

So far, I’ve only talked about the weight of other things and how this affects processes like shipping. You have a weight too – all people do. The heavier you are, the more fuel you need just to drive to work and back home every day. Again, it sounds like small potatoes, but when you consider the impact of this over 250 to 260 days a year (and that’s if you don’t drive at all on the weekends) then it is apparent how getting fit can help use less fuel and make you a better human.

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Dec 4, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on Art Clay Gift Guide

Art Clay Gift Guide

Art Clay Gift Guide

When people think of art clay, they generally think of pendants for necklaces and earrings,but art clay can be so much more than that. And with the start of the holiday season, this is the perfect opportunity to give the gift of objects and presents that are perfect for gift giving this year by listing the top five projects to try out this year. Here’s oping one of them can help to cut down on your shopping this season.

1. Jewellery

Of course, Jewellery is the standard go-to for metallic art clay. It’s practically a no brainer. And, there are luckily many ideas and projects already online for making charms, bracelets, earrings and necklaces and everything else you can imagine for women and girls of all ages and with all senses of style, But, art clay doesn’t just have to be for women. Molding cufflinks or even the head of a tie pin can be a great project for those special men in your life.

2. A Laptop Carrying Bag

Okay, this one isn’t all made out of art clay, but it is perfect for the techie on the list. For this project, they idea is to make the decorations and fastenings, like buttons, with metallic art clay and to sew the rest of the bag. This will require you or a friend to have some sewing skills, of course, but it is a good project for beginners as the seams are very simple. You will need strong fabric, but the pattern and design is really up to you. A good tip is that using a serger can make the project easier and even allow you to quilt the bag or add decorative stitching to the bag easily.

3. Christmas Ornaments

What is a better Christmas gift than an ornament for the tree. This may require a litte more clay, but it is worth it. Small bells are especially popular with art clay, but the sky is really the limit when it comes to ideas. For those who do not want to make large ornaments, another option is to make a set of small ornaments for a little Advent tree.

4. Chanukah Dreidels

Jewish crafters and friends will appreciate a tiny Chanukah top, or dreidel, which is an iconic part of the Jewish holiday. This can be a fun thing to make, and is fairly simple in shape. But, the important part of making a dreidel is in making sure that it has the proper balance to spin properly. This may take some time and practice, so remember that when planning and shopping for supplies.

5. Keychains

These are great stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts because they can be easily personalized to the tastes of the person getting the present. Making these takes a similar amount of clay as the ornaments, and also requires obtaining extra pieces like the rings and chain, but they can be memorable and useful gifts for everyone ad even kids can use them for their bicycle and locker keys.

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Nov 29, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on Making Metal Clay Pieces With Enameling

Making Metal Clay Pieces With Enameling

Making Metal Clay Pieces With Enameling

The artists had a new order for an enameled pendant. The client wanted a multicolored enamel pendant to go with the new outfit she had got for her graduation day. She showed the color of her nails, which had some intricate art work done on them, so we could understand the color and design she wanted. Enameling is something every clay artist enjoys to do. The enameling is done after the metal clay is sintered.

Metal clay is a malleable form that can take on any texture or shape. It is just like ordinary clay initially before the sintering. Once sintering is done, the metal clay can be used for different types of enameling methods. Sintering is a type of evaporation method that involves firing the clay at high temperatures by placing it in a kiln. The elevated temperature removes the water and binder from the clay and compresses the metal particles, so they from a solid metal shape. The object takes on a pure gold or silver form based on the metal used and the enameling is started on it.

Metal clay has the advantage of being molded into any shape you want. There is absolutely no wasted material here as any scrap can be collected and reused in some way or the other. There is no need of soldering or etching. Since there is no copper present to oxidize, the metal clay can be used without worries about fire scale issues.

The precious metal clay is available in paste, lumps, and sheet and syringe forms. The new form of PMC available in paper model can be folded just like an Origami sheet. It sticks together, when you apply water to it. Artists usually prefer PMC models that have less shrinkage and short sintering time.

The pendants, pins, earrings or other such light stress requiring objects can be done with the basic PMC forms.  In contrast to the fabricated metal forms the basic PMC has a favorable shrinkage of 25 percent to 30 percent that helps in adding better detail. For bracelets or rings, using PMC with 10 percent to 12 percent shrinkage is a better choice as this gives a dense metal that is more durable.

Once the sintering is done, the next decision to be made is finishing the surface so enameling can be done. The surface can be left with the natural finish of sintered metal or you can brass brush the surface to get a satin finish. This can be burnished to get a shining and polished look. Burnishing the raised parts only gives more depth to the piece.

Using transparent enamels will give you different shades of a single color based on the finished silver surface and the light reflection effect. As mentioned before the color differs based on the valleys and ridges present and the surface polish. The client was happy with the way the enamel pendant had formed. She said that she had just completed her nail technician training, and that she was hoping to start a nail salon soon.

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Nov 28, 2014

Posted by | Comments Off on Various Different Categories of Art Clay

Various Different Categories of Art Clay

Various Different Categories of Art Clay

Recently we had a client- a hunting range owner who wanted to make silver clay medallions for a competition in his range. He gave us the design he wanted to have and during the course of the work we became quiet friendly. It was partly due to my interest in hunting and the equipment used. Seeing my interest in hunting, he told me about the new rangefinder devices used and various other new hunting methods he had planned on in his range. He also confessed that he had a secret passion to create designs in art clay on his own. He had been inspired by one of the art clay works that was gifted to him. I gave him a rundown on the different art clay forms used.

Clay is a malleable product, which can be used to create effective three dimensional models. The unique properties of the clay enable its use in several different applications.

Clay with water base

This is a natural form of clay that is taken from the ground. It is mixed with water and used for sculpting. The water based type of clay is available in different consistencies and colors. The commonly available colors are red, brown and gray. Cream is also found sometimes. The consistency also varies with some forms being grittier than the rest. The clay is easy to use and can be kept moist to retain its pliability. The clay is used mostly in pottery and in terracotta work. The clay needs to be fired to get the finished product.

However intricate details cannot be added to the clay as the water base makes it a challenging job. The clay need to be dried for some time, before you add details.

Clay with oil base

This is available in different forms and consistencies. The natural clay is added with wax and oil for better malleability and increased working time. The clay need not be moistened continuously. The clay can be softened in an over or a microwave. But this cannot be fired to form a permanent structure.

Polymer Clay

Polymer clay or synthetic clay is available in all colors. You can harden it in your oven at a very low temperature. The clay is best for home projects like jewelry making and other ornaments creation. It is expensive.

PMC

Precious Metal Clay or PMC is used in jewelry creation and is a versatile material. You can add as many details as you can. The medals we created for our client were done in this type of clay. It is easy and convenient to work on and a simple hand torch is sufficient for firing it. You can also use desktop kiln that is available for jewelry making. The price is affordable too. This is available in bronze, silver and gold.

The client was impressed and I promised to show him how the metal clay is used for making the various gorgeous and intricate pieces of jewelry, medallions and other small, but exquisite items that we had done work on.

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