Following a successful “sneak peek” at the 2008 PMC® Conference in July, versatile BRONZClay™ is now available exclusively from Rio Grande. BRONZClay offers exciting design possibilities to jewelers, artists and sculptors at an affordable price.
BRONZClay consists of 11% tin, 89% copper, water and non-toxic binding materials. It can be pinched, rolled, manipulated and formed like clay; in its dried pre-fired state, it’s still highly flexible and easy to carve, allowing the artist to apply details and finishing touches before firing. When fired in a kiln, the binder vaporizes, leaving a solid, pure bronze object that can be sawn, shaped, drilled, patinaed or soldered using traditional jewelry tools and techniques. And because it’s so affordable, it can be used to create large pieces and specialized tools - it can even be thrown on a potter’s wheel to shape bronze hollowware.
BRONZClay inventor Bill Struve of Metal Clay Adventures set out to develop a medium that would produce strong, durable, wearable pieces, that would be safe to use, and that would require only simple tools, a kiln and the artist’s imagination. Some said he couldn’t do it.
“If you put enough time and knowledge into it,” Struve says, “you can figure it out. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was playing with the clay.” The result is an affordable medium that bears the ancient look and strength of another time. “It’s a gift... just another tool for the artist,” Struve says.
Struve’s product couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Jewelers working with metal clay have felt the metal market’s crunch. “Volatile silver prices have made working in metal clay rather expensive,” says Rio Grande Raw Material Product Manager, Kevin Whitmore. “BRONZclay is a great value, and it allows jewelers to work in a time-honored artistic medium - bronze.”
BRONZClay made its first appearance to the jewelry public at the 2008 PMC Conference. Nearly 400 attendees had the opportunity to be among the first artists to experiment with the product that had ignited such an anticipant frenzy in the metal clay community. “Artists at the conference were very eager to begin working in this new medium,“ said Whitmore. “The early response has been tremendous. We are at the start of something very special!”