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Thread: hello and help please

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default hello and help please

    Hi...I'm Sandra and I live in Bedfordshire. I have just started on metal clay. (the latest on a long line of crafty hobbies)

    My first effort went reasonably well, at least it stayed together. I have made 3 more pieces but they have all cracked and broken during sanding. These three have all been a bit thicker than the first effort, maybe 1/8".

    After taking the piece from the packet I have kneaded it slightly, it has always rolled into a smooth ball and rolled out without cracks. It is only the next day after airdrying I have seen the cracks.

    I am sure this will have been covered many times before on this forum but could someone please make a suggestion as to what I can do to prevent it happening again.

    I guess the answer lies in the soil....no sorry wrong hobby....I guess the answer lies with the moisture of the clay but because it appears to be quite pliable and moist when rolling out I have assumed it is OK.

    I am off to do a one day course in June but I will be pennyless before then if I have to keep on buying packets of clay. I know I can recycle the dried clay but I guess I will have lots of slip but no clay

    TIA
    Sandra

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Lincolnshire
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Hello!
    Cant help with the PMC im afraid, but there are a few PMC legends on here who no doubt will be able to
    Just wanted to say welcome along!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    510

    Default

    Can you fill in the cracks with slip?

    I don't really know what I'm talking about. You should have seen my first (and currently only) attempt at pmc! ...where's Nic when you need her....

    in anyway Sandra

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    A Brit living in France
    Posts
    73

    Default

    Hi!
    It may be that it is drying too quickly while you are working with it, you need to keep it moist enough to be pliable but not too wet that it sticks all over your fingers. Are you using PMC or art clay silver? I work with art clay and use the slow dry, gives me that extra bit of working time.
    Nic will have more infor than me though
    L

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cheshire
    Posts
    62

    Default

    Hi Sandra - are you working with Art Clay or PMC? I'm thinking art clay from how you've described the problem - you need to condition the clay before using it.

    So, place the clay from the pack into a sheet of cling film and fold the top of the cling film over so that the clay is sandwiched. Press the clay out as thin as you can, then peel the cling film away and rub a bit of water over the surface, fold the clay in half using the cling film, not your fingers (i describe it as like making a swiss roll!!), fold it over on itself a few times always with the cling film not fingers and it'll start to become more pliable. You can repeat the process if you're still not happy with the consistency.

    Hope that helps.

    Becci
    xx

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Market Deeping
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    2,696

    Default

    Are you putting some kind of oil on your board or hands?
    If you are you may be using too much and creating
    the clay equivalent of filo pastry....
    Nic x
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Rye Foreign, East Sussex
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    Welcome to the forums. No expertise in PMC from me i'm afraid
    Su' xx

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MuranoSilver View Post
    Are you putting some kind of oil on your board or hands?
    If you are you may be using too much and creating
    the clay equivalent of filo pastry....
    Nic x
    First off, thank you to all of you who have tried to help.

    I have a feeling that the "filo pastry" might be the answer. I have very dry skin and I read on a site "rinse hands in hot water, pour some olive oil into cupped palms and rub well in before drying off with paper towels." Well maybe my hands were more greasy than I thought. I have used both PMC+ and 3, though the first one which didn't crack was 3 and the three which cracked were PMC+ and I only used the oil on those ones not the first one.

    I have today ordered 20gm of Art Clay. I am certain that the problem lies entirely with me and not PMC but I am just keen to try and compare the different brands.

    Later this evening I will be off to have another go and I will NOT be using the olive oil remedy. Just the small amount of hand balm as recommended.

    Thank you
    Sandra

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    108

    Default

    Hello
    Sorry, not a PMC legend, but I don't find that I need to use anything on my hands - if the clay is nice and soft it shouldn't stick to your fingers. I'd agree with Nic - it sounds like you've got lovely pliable clay to start with and the problem is only when it's drying. I use a little balm on a ceramic tile to roll out my clay, and a little oil on texturing mats but otherwise don't use any extra.

    You can reclaim the dried out clay to useable clay, not just slip but it does take more work - try here if it's in a lump, and here if it's in bits - I've just bought a coffee grinder to reclaim bigger bits but if it's only a small piece you should be ok with these! HTH!

    Sharon
    Last edited by elliboo; 26-04-2010 at 05:44 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cheshire
    Posts
    62

    Default

    I never use olive oil, i find it just creates too much of a slick! Badger Balm is great, I never add it to my hands (and I have pretty dry hands!), just use enough to coat the texture mat, or work surface (if you're not using non-stick), you really don't need much.

    Have fun experimenting and remember to condition your Art Clay first.

    Becci
    xx

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