Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nothing stays the same

Life changes.  We all know that.  But why do my metal clay suppliers have to change?

Last year it was the end of Whole Lotta Whimsy, the supplier I used the most.  One of the things that I could only find at WLW was the two and four inch, metal backed PPP plates.  All the other supplies were available elsewhere but not the PPP plates.  I asked Tonya Davidson if she knew another place to get them and she said she was working on it.  Yes, I can buy big sheets of the plates and cut them myself....... but that creates more work and theirs were so much nicer than I can do.

Today, I heard that the Mitsubishi Co. will no longer be making PMC Standard.  The standard was the very first version of PMC clay.  It shrinks 30%, has to be fired at 1650 degrees for two solid hours and is the weakest of the metal clays.  But there are times it is really handy to have the Standard formula.

Awhile back I needed a dragonfly for a pair of earrings.  The dragonfly mold I had was too big, so I made it with the standard clay which shrank it considerably.  I took the new smaller dragonfly, made another mold and made it again two more times.  This gave me the right size for the piece I was making and a batch of dragonflies to use in other pieces.  

The shrinkage is also good because standard clay carves like butter in it's dry state.  This allows the artist to work big (which makes carving easier.)  Then when the piece shrinks it looks even better.  (I understand that newspaper cartoons are drawn large and then shrunk for the same reason.)  

I hope enough metal clay artists will raise a fuss about this.  Standard may not be used as much as the other formulas but it has it's value.  

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