I know I sound like a broken record, but researching what to buy for a particular project takes time. I spent all day last Sunday researching metal clay tools and kilns. Every night after work (well almost every night) I also did research. I bought four books on metal clay - one of which is buy the instructor I took my first metal clay class from - Carol Babineau. She is a master level teacher in Art Clay Silver.
There are two brands of metal clay out there - Art Clay and PMC. Both are a means to the same end, but they have differing properties. The more I read about shrinkage, the more I understood why you might want your clay to shrink 25%. It tightens up any design you stamp into clay. So, if you've made your own stamp and the detail is a little larger than you would like, you might want a clay that shrinks. Now here's the kicker. Math is a big part of all of this. If your clay shrinks 25% you have to take that into account. If your clay shrinks 10% you have to take that into account also.
So, I read all of the books I bought Friday night and Saturday, and I'm really excited to get started. It will be a couple of weeks before I will see my kiln. After much research, I decided on the Paragon Digital Firefly. It has the most even heat for metal clay, a key factor in proper sintering. It's kind of small though. Hopefully, I won't outgrow it. Well, maybe I should hope to outgrow it!
Since I don't have any tools or product to start working in metal clay, I've decided to do a little etching today. Check in tomorrow for some new designs.
Here's a look at what I put together last weekend - the Hoopla series: