Silver clay is a product of recycling.
In the mid 1990's a Japanese company, Aida, patented a way to recycle filaments of silver, as well as other precious metals, from the photographic and other media industries; these are mixed with a binder making a malleable material that can be worked similar to ceramic clay. When the clay has been moulded, sculpted, impressed or carved into it is left to dry. Again as with ceramic clay the dry piece is smoothed, cleaned and fired in a kiln where the binder burns off. At this point the silver filaments fuse together forming a solid piece of 99.9% silver. After it has been fired it can be oxidised and burnished in exactly the same way a silver smith would finish a piece.
This material suits me on many different levels:
- it is a recycled product
- it is malleable and has similar properties to clay which is great because I can transfer my pottery skills to work it. I even use my old pottery tools with it, bonus!
- I can work directly with impressions from bark, leaves, shell, stones etc. which gives an immediacy and unique quality to different pieces.
Along with natural materials I allow serendipity to play a part in my work and life. So often we try to order and sculpt our lives whereas often it is the complete reverse... “be a piece of kelp, come in with the tide, go out with the tide”...well that's the theory!
I like to celebrate the strange and quirky facets of nature where nothing is straight or uniform but, hopefully, harmonious and pleasing on the eye.