Lisa Cain, Director of the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery (MCSJ) in England , announced today that she and her staff have developed methods, recipes and firing schedules for combining existing commercial silver and copper clay formulas into hallmark-quality sterling silver clay. A fired sample of the clay was first hallmarked by the London Assay Office on January 25, 2011. The step-by-step method, recipes and firing schedule will be published in the Spring 2011 issue (Vol. 2, Issue #2) of Metal Clay Artist Magazine, which will launch in early April.

 


Staff at MCSJ developed two successful recipes, one using Art Clay™ brand metal clays and another using PMC® clays. Well-known UK artists Julia Rai (also a staff instructor at MCSJ), Lesley Messam and Chris Pate tested and refined the process to ensure that it could be reproduced easily and reliably in a home studio. Detailed reports from all three testers will be included in the nine-page article in the upcoming issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine devoted to this breakthrough metal clay discovery.

Ms. Cain explains, "My motivation for developing this new option was the very real need for this type of clay, especially here in the UK where hallmarking laws influence the materials we artists can use credibly in our commercial work. Sterling silver clay of hallmark quality is a crucial next step in the evolution of metal clay."

Once Ms. Cain had proven that sterling silver clay was achievable and practical, she shared her discovery with a small number of colleagues and close friends, some of whom encouraged her to manufacture the sterling silver clay or try to benefit financially from the recipes in some way. "I have no interest in doing either. My focus is set firmly on innovation, artistry in metal clay, teaching and running the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery. I share it willingly with the metal clay community."

 

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