A couple of weeks ago I attended the first BronzClay class held at
Grande’s facility in Albuquerque. It was a 7.5 hour drive from my
in Tucson, but well worth the trip!
The classroom was well equipped, and filled with 12 enthusiastic
"newbies" to BronzClay. Yvonne Padilla, Rio’s expert on BronzClay,
performed extensive scientific testing for over a month using this
new metal clay. She had lots of valuable tricks and tips to share
with us. I particularly liked the handouts she provided so we could
watch her demonstrations without having to take notes at the same
A few of the students had extensive experience working with Precious
Metal Clay so they had interesting comments comparing PMC to the new
BronzClay. Particularly helpful was Louise, who has a website called
"Metal Clay Store" and a fun store in San Diego call “Sha Sha - a
Bead Store.” She gave us a neat gift from her store - a box of
ziplock-type bags along with a suction tube that extracts the air to
keep the clay from drying out during storage.
I liked this new BronzClay better than PMC. I worked as a Potter
with red clay for 15 years and had a frustrating time with PMC Silver
in that it crumbled and cracked so easily in the dry Arizona climate,
especially during the hot summers. But the Bronze Clay was much
easier to work with, in my very limited experience. It was more
pliable and didn’t crack easily.
It fires differently in that it has to be surrounded by charcoal in a
metal container to reduce oxidation. Two different effects are
with different types of carbon. Coconut shell-based carbon produces
natural bronze look when fired, while the coal based acid-washed
carbon produces a colorful range of patinas.
The finished pieces were amazing! I loved the different colored
metals that came out of the kiln, almost rainbow like. And when
polished, they were gorgeous. For those of us who can no longer
afford to work with gold, it has a satisfying warm glow to it.
I’m love to take classes. I am not a talented artist but consider my
hobby of jewelry making as “cheap therapy.” I’m hoping that Rio’s
Catalog-in-Motion Show in Tucson, February '09, will offer a 3 day
class that incorporates BronzClay and PMC, as well as, how to fire
solder it with other metals.
Please let them know if this is something you would consider signing
up for too?