My lasted clay experience was with Hadar’s Smart Bronze. Being the “step skipper” that I am, I chose to mix the entire vial at one time, which was 50 grams. However, I can go through 50 grams of clay pretty fast especially when testing. First of all, I made a mistake with the water and my clay was a little wet, more like homemade peanut butter. Other than amt of water, I followed the directions for mixing and resting. Of course with the excess water, I needed to add more powdered clay which I didn’t have because I used it all. Lesson learned there.
I made my first piece which was pretty thick, 1/4″ or so and about the size of a belt buckle. It was nicely textured on both sides and had an embeddable bronze prong setting in it. I wasn’t ready to try firing stones until I had at least done a couple of pieces. Anyway, it looked nice, gray hands aside! Although I do like the clay in the dried form, the wet was not so easy to work with but that was probably my fault. Moving on… I let this air dry for what started out as 3 days but due life and it’s other demands, ended up being 2 full weeks. Felt nice and firm, very easy to work with at this stage.
I then made a couple of test strips and three small pendants in a mold. The clay still a bit wet but easier to manipulate after resting for 2 weeks, wrapped in plastic and in a sealed jar. These pieces dried for two days.
I test fired the test strip and it was very pitted, but a lovely texture, I tend to prefer organic, natural looks. (Pictured below). Firing schedule was as prescribed ramp 1400, hold at 1470 for 2 hours, covered in charcoal in ss vat, no lid in SC2 kiln. I was happy! I was ready to fire the other pieces but a bit concerned because the oval pendant was a lot thicker than the other three pieces. I decided to take a chance. So now for the main show and firing my big thick piece along with the smaller round pendants…
Ramp 1400, hold 1470 for 2 hours…the large thick pendant disintegrated, the smaller fired fine except I lost some detail on two. I can’t figure out why the larger piece evaporated, so to say, and the smaller pieces were fine. The clay had to be evenly mixed, because I did it all at once, one big blob of clay. Two variables were the drying time and the embeddable prong. Maybe, forming the piece with wetter clay could be a factor as the clay rested for a couple of weeks before being used to for the three smaller pieces.