Thank you to Tim McCreight and other contributors of "The Metal Clay Notebook!"
here to help, in this case by providing information about the latest
metal clay to arrive on the scene. Mitsubishi Materials Trading
Corporation has just announced a new product called PMC Flex
™. Two years in development, this new clay brings the longest working time of any of the current silver clays.
metal clay first appeared on the scene, things were pretty simple. Then
as the field evolved, there were more brands, new products,
improvements and variations. Artists had choices that broadened the
range of what could be done and what equipment could be used. These
developments made the world of metal clay richer, more fulfilling, and,
e honest... a little confusing.
PMC Flex™, as the name implies, has been developed to remain flexible
after the package has been opened. We all know that most metal clays
have a relatively short working time. Depending on the ambient heat and
humidity, clay can dry out in a matter of minutes. PMC Flex™ will remain
pliable not only for hours, not only for days, but for weeks. You can
roll out a long rod, set it aside for a month, then pick it up and tie
it in a knot.
PMC Flex™ offers two kinds of workability. Out of
the package it behaves like other silver clays. It can be rolled,
pressed in molds, textured and so on. Set aside, it will retain the form
it is given, but that form will
remain flexible. Here is an example:
If you roll out a strip and give it a texture, a week later, that strip
can be formed into a ring and the ends sealed together. The clay can't
be wadded back into the original lump and start over completely, but PMC
Flex™ can be rehydrated by reducing it to small bits and mixing with
A spokesman for Mitsubishi says that this material will be
especially beneficial to beginners and those who teach beginners, where
a common problem is clay drying out before they can finish their
project. It is also noted that artists can make multiple elements in
advance then assemble them, including bending and twisting, weeks after
the original parts were made.
As you might guess, the response of reviewers was related to their level
of comfort with dry clay. Some reviewers really enjoyed the longer
working time of PMC Flex™ because it allowed them to modify designs days
after starting a project. Those reviewers describe projects in which
they want the clay to mimic ribbons, fabric, rope and other sinuous
Other artists we talked to note that while increased
flexibility is great in the early stages of a project, there comes a
time when they want the clay to be firm for drilling and sanding. PMC
Flex™ can be made firm by drying at 300ºF (150ºC) for about 20 minutes.
In this way, according to the manufacturer, you get the best of both
worlds. Flexibility when you need it and rigidness when you're ready for
Like other silver clays, Flex can be fired to 1650ºF (900ºC) for maximum strength.