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Coloring Silver Clay

Silver clay made in the Paragon SC-2 by Kim VanAntwerp-Poenisch

Coloring Silver Clay

By Martha Biggar

Biggar Handwrought Jewelry, Draper, Virginia

There is an easy way to control all the stages of patina color for silver clay. Combine the following:

1 cup hot water 1 tablespoon of ammonia (available from grocery stores) 1 small chip of Liver of Sulphur

Just plain Liver of Sulphur is harder to control and goes black very quickly.

I dip a piece of wire into the Liver of Sulphur solution, then into a cup of cold water. I look at it and repeat as needed.

I also have a 1 quart Visions cookware pot that I’ve dedicated to Liver of Sulphur. It really helps to heat the water for the Liver of Sulphur. When making earrings, dip both into the solution together to get matching color. I also use this pot for quenching silver clay.


The last two Kiln Pointers have included eye safety. James Little of Rockville, Maryland wrote, “My grandfather lost his left eye in the early 1890s while helping his father staple barbed wire to fence poles. A staple slipped on the hammer face and pierced my grandfather’s left eye. This was before wonder drugs that could have stopped the infection, and the eye had to be removed. My grandfather wasn’t even 18.

“I, too, had an experience with eye safety, but I was wearing safety glasses,” wrote James. “I was working in a lab connecting 10 kW heaters for a bake-out oven. I thought the power was disconnected from the junction box, but one circuit was overlooked. When a screwdriver grounded a hot wire, a spatter of molten copper hit the lens of my safety glasses. It fused into the surface, but my eyes were okay.

“Three lessons: First, wear safety glasses. Second, use a voltmeter to verify that everything is really dead before working on electricity. Third, place a tag on the circuit box in the hall, basement, or wherever the feed is from. In the trade, a lockout on the feed point is now required. But even with a lockout, the voltmeter should be the final test.

“A full-face shield would have been even better than safety glasses. The molten copper spatter could have burned my face, ignited my hair, or worse.

“The learning lasts forever,” James concluded. “The copper spattered on my safety glasses in 1963, but for me it is still a reminder to be safe when working with power, heat, and even kitchen utensils. For instance, never sharpen a power tool when it is plugged in. It is not luck but care that ensures survival of ones senses and digits.”


Deborrah Morgan Simmons of Jasper, Texas wrote, “I am a ceramic artist and middle school art teacher in Jasper, Texas. I am also a director of the East Texas Art League and teach adult classes at East Texas Regional Art Center in Jasper. I am putting together a cookbook as a fundraiser for our organization and would like to include recipes from artists. Please send recipes to .


With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. - Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2006, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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