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Paragon HomeArtist The French Flag The Italian Flag The Spanish Flag The Swedish Flag
EU Plug
UK Plug
The AX-4 Digital Controller
MiniKiln Closed
Paragon BlueBird Open
Lauscha by Carrie Fertig
Activated Charcoal Granules
Caldera A Closed
Caldera AB Closed
Fusion CS14D Open
Fusion CS14SB Closed
Caldera XL Closed
FireFly A Closed
The Paragon Fusion-7 Open
Fusion 8 Open
GL18ADTSD Open
HT-14D Closed
Janus 1613 Open
KM14D Open
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Unassembled
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Suction Cup
Pearl 18 Open
PMT21
Potter & Brumfield Relay
SC-2 Black Open
SC2 Open
SC2B Open
Paragon SC2W Open
SC4 Closed
Paragon SC1 Closed
Paragon SC1 Open
Paragon SC1W Closed
Paragon SC2BW Open
SpeedFire Pro Closed
SpeedFire Pro Open
Sentry Xpress 4.0
Sentry 2.0
SC-2 Pink Open
SC-2 Turqoise Open
SC-2 Purple Open
The Paragon ST-8 Table
TNF 1613 Closed
GL Table
Xpress Top Row Bricks
USB Plug
Xpress E-12A Open
Xpress E-12AB Closed
Xpress E-14 Closed
Xpress Q-11A Open
Paragon Home Artist Closed

The Paragon Home Artist is a plug-in cylindrical kiln on wheels, usually used for Art Clay and PMC silver clays, Prometheus bronze clay and copper clay, china painting, dichroics, enamelling, fusing glass, heat treating and melting metals, low-fire ceramics, mixed-media jewellery, making cutters, dies, and tools, moulding model parts, hardening and tempering blades, sintering metal clays, and raku.

It's a 1095°C, cone 4, cylindrical, top-opening, ceramic-fibre kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. It looks like an air hostess's travelling case, with wheels and a telescopic handle.

You can try most materials and processes, such as Art Clay metal clays, bronze clay, copper clay, PMC silver clay, glass clay, Accent Gold, Image Transfer Solution, Metal Clay Veneer, SilverEtch, bead annealing, china painting, decals, dichroic glass, enamelling, glass-art, casting, fusing, moulding, sagging, slumping, laboratory testing, lampwork, lost-wax casting, low-fire ceramics, making jewellery, melting gold and silver, pâte de verre, raku, and staining glass.

And you can make just about anything, within the kiln's size and temperature limits, such as architectural features, badges, beads, bracelets, brooches, buttons, candleholders, charms, decorations, earrings, figurines, fingerprint keepsakes, glass-art, jewellery, medals, miniatures, models, necklaces, ornaments, pendants, pet-id tags, rings, souvenirs, stained-glass designs, studs, tableware, thimbles, tiaras, tiles, tools, and trinkets, as unique hand-crafted pieces or repeatable stock for sale.

It's ideal for your arts centre, college, course venue, craft classes, glass works, home business, jewellery studio, or school. It's very easy to move around, so excellent for demonstrations, presentations, and exhibitions, or a small studio that doesn't have a dedicated kiln space.


For prices, use the shop link below the menu bar near the top-right of any page. They're for UK-EU voltage CE-marked kilns, and include comprehensive manuals, a professional shelf kit, UK VAT, and UK mainland delivery. So, no other charges and you can start work straight away.

THE PARAGON HOME ARTIST: PHOTOS

The Paragon Home Artist Kiln For Annealing, China Paints, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Low-Fire Ceramics, Firing Metal Clays, And Raku.

To look at the pop-up photos, hold your mouse over the zoom buttons below: you don't need to click.


The Paragon Home ArtistThe Paragon Home Artist.

Paragon Sentry Xpress 4.0 The Paragon Sentry Xpress 4.0 Programmer.

STAY ON THIS PAGE, OR LOOK AT OTHER KILNS?

Electric Kilns, Kitiki Kilns, Paragon Kilns, Prometheus Kilns, or the SpeedFire? Or Mail Or Call Cherry Heaven.

For convenience, I've separated the kilns into two groups on separate internet resources, Electric Kilns and Paragon Kilns, although there's cross-over.

Generally, the smaller plug-in table-top kilns are used for smaller things. They're popular for annealing beads, Art Clay metal clays, dichroics, enamelling, fusing, making jewellery, mixed-media work, PMC silver clay, porcelain, Prometheus bronze clay, and ProCopper clay. Refer to Electric Kilns.

Generally, the larger wired-in floor-standing and work-top kilns are used for larger things. They're popular for annealing, casting, ceramics, earthenware, glass, heat treating, knife making, pottery, raku, and stoneware. Refer to Paragon Kilns.


Depending which resource you're currently on, links to other resources are above the menu bar near the top of the page. If you need help, mail or call Cherry Heaven.

THE HOME ARTIST ANNEALING, CERAMICS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, METAL CLAYS, AND RAKU
The Paragon Home Artist

The Paragon Home Artist Kiln For Annealing, China Paints, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Low-Fire Ceramics, Firing Metal Clays, And Raku.

The Paragon Home Artist is a plug-in cylindrical kiln on wheels, usually used for Art Clay and PMC silver clays, Prometheus bronze clay and copper clay metal clays, casting, china painting, dichroics, enamels, glass annealing, fusing, sagging, and slumping, heat treating, keepsakes, making jewellery, melting metals, and raku. It's a 1095°C, cone 4, cylindrical, top-opening, ceramic fibre kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer.

It's typically used for making jewellery, lampwork, annealing beads and glass, firing bronze and copper clays, painting china, applying decals, dental work, fusing dichroic glasses, enamelling, fire polishing, glass art, glass casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping, glass clays, glass panels, gold clays, heat treating, knife making, laboratory testing, lamp-work, lost-wax casting, low-fire ceramics, melting gold and silver, moulding gun and model parts, pâte de verre, sintering gold and silver clays, staining glass, hardening and tempering blades, cutters, dies, and tools, and many other materials and processes.

You can use most popular small-scale materials such as Accent Gold, Art Clay metal clays, BullsEye glasses, dichroic glasses, enamels, GlasClay, Image Transfer Solution, Metal Clay Veneer, PMC silver clay, Prometheus bronze clay, ProCopper clay, and SilverEtch.
And there's an increasingly diverse range of other metal clays, such as Cinter, Clay Mania, Creative, Goldie, Hadar Jacobson, Metal Adventures, Meteor, Noble, and PMC Sterling.


The UK kiln is rated at 230V 2200W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional switch that cuts off the power when the lid is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 406mm x 584mm x 476mm, including the legs, wheels, telescopic handle, programmer housing, and hinge assembly. The shipping weight is about 21kg.

The ceramic-fibre firing chamber measures 305mm x 305mm high, and is suspended in a vented steel case to help keep the outside cool. It heats from all sides, with the elements safely embedded in the fibre.


The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences.


The accessories, options, and upgrades for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
ceramic fibre cloth
ceramic block
HEPA dust mask
clear protective glasses
glare-resistant glasses
heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion.

The 1095°C Home Artist is a versatile kiln for your craft workshop or glass studio: it's compact and easy to move, it can use a regular mains socket, it's fully programmable, and it's inexpensive to run. It's popular with glass artists, as it will accommodate seven 250mm plates.

The only minor limitation is that, although 1095°C is enough for low-fire ceramics, it's not hot enough for normal ceramics, porcelain, pottery, and stoneware: they need a 1260°C or 1290°C kiln.

THE PARAGON HOME ARTIST: KILN FURNITURE

The Paragon Home Artist Kiln Furniture.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable round 254mm x 15mm cordierite shelf and four 12mm shelf posts.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one round 254mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm or 25mm posts.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost: so you might want more kits. This kiln has room for four.

HELP WITH THE BASICS RECOMMENDED READING
General Help

Options, Upgrades, Shelf Kits, Firing Characteristics, Keeping A Kiln Log, Accessories, Tools, And Relevant Materials And Processes.

This concludes the sections about specific kilns. The remainder of the page is about choosing a kiln, options, upgrades, shelf kits, firing characteristics, keeping a kiln log, accessories, tools, and relevant materials and processes. Unless you're already working with a kiln, it's recommended reading.

If you need help, you can mail an experienced technician or call . Alternatively, find the help link below the menu bar near the top of the page.

KILN FURNITURE: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION IMPORTANT
A Paragon Shelf Kit

Kiln Furniture: Shelves And Posts.

Most kilns have a recommended furniture kit. Delivery companies have a low rate for parcels less than 30kg so, for smaller kilns weighing less than 30Kg, the kit is generally one shelf and four posts: included in the price because it fits in the box and doesn't add much to the shipping weight.

You get a professional, durable, cordierite shelf with four 12mm high posts. You don't get a soft, ceramic-fibre shelf, often described as free, that will gradually break up and need replacing.

Shelf kits usually include 25mm x 25mm x 12mm shelf posts, When flat, they're 12mm high: on their sides, they're 25mm. Other sizes, up to 150mm high, are available, so you can choose the shelf spacing that suits your kiln and your work.

The recommended kit is usually the simplest that works: not an expensive collection that I've put together for you. However, extra shelf kits allow you to stack your work, optimising your use of the firing chamber volume, the unit-cost of firing, and your time. And extra half-shelves or smaller shelves allow you to fire a mix of shorter and taller pieces.


For larger kilns weighing more than 30Kg, it's not included in the price because you'll probably want to choose your own mix of shelves, half-shelves, smaller shelves, and assorted-height posts.


A shelf should stay on the floor of the firing chamber all the time in case you accidentally spill or melt anything: solidified glass or metal is impossible to pick off without damaging the ceramic-fibre or firebrick.

Shelves are not meant to be an exact fit in the kiln. You need finger space all round and they mustn't scrape the kiln walls every time they're put in or taken out.

Although they look tough, most ceramics break if they're dropped, so it's a good idea to have spare shelves, especially if your business depends on your kiln or you're running courses.


During firing sequences with heating, holding, and cooling segments, the elements turn on and off repeatedly. In a small kiln, with little residual heat, the inevitable temperature changes can make glass crack as it expands and contracts. A thick heavy shelf stores heat and, because it's resting on posts, the air circulates, helping to even out the normal temperature fluctuations.


If you're buying your first kiln, you're probably interested in one material, such as silver clay, or one process, such as enamelling. However, after a few successes, and failures, most people want to try different materials, make larger pieces, experiment with combinations, fire more at a time, and soon become interested in something else: or everything else. Some start a business or run classes.

You might want a full shelf, two half-shelves, several mixed shelves, a set of shelf posts, a bead-mandrel holder, glass separator, hot gloves, kiln wash, a knife-making rack, pyrometric cones, a tile holder, or other accessories.

Shelves are heavy, so Kits ordered separately need a box and protective packing and attract an extra delivery charge. Outside the UK mainland, this might be expensive. So, if you think you'll need them, order them with your kiln, along with any other accessories, materials, parts, or tools.


For dichroics, enamelling, and glass fusing, put kiln paper on the shelf to stop the glass sticking: it's simpler and cleaner to use than glass separator. Bullseye Thinfire shelf paper, probably the most popular, ensures easy separation between your glass and the kiln shelf. One side feels slightly smoother than the other: that's the glass side.

Generally, glasswork needs radiant heat and will fuse, sag, or slump better on one shelf than between closely stacked shelves, although experienced glass artists often use several shelves succesfully.

Delicate pieces can be fired on a puffed-up ceramic-fibre cloth: on a shelf. Round pieces, that could roll to one side, can be fired on a hollowed-out ceramic-fibre block. However, if the kin has elements in the bottom as with the Mini-Kiln and Pro-7, a cloth or block will act as insulator and the kiln might overheat.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with ceramic-fibre blocks, ceramic cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

If you want to touch anything hot, or move your kiln before it's cooled off, it's important to wear heat-resistant gloves. And, if you want to look into a red-hot kiln, even briefly, wear glare-resistant glasses to protect your eyes from IR and UV.


If your day-to-day work depends on your kiln and down-time will be disruptive or expensive, it's a good idea to have spares: extra shelves, a selection of posts, elements, a relay, and a thermocouple.

You can learn about ceramic blocks and cloths, charcoal, dust masks, glare-resistant glasses, glass separator, heat-resistant gloves, kiln vents, kiln wash, programmers, protective glasses, USB interfaces, shelf paper, tools, and other accessories, using the accessories link below the menu bar near the top of the front page. And they're all in the on-line shop.


Shelves are checked before despatch and are wrapped protectively. But they're not guaranteed and we cannot be responsible for any later damage.

OPTIONS AND UPGRADES: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Paragon SC2: Pink With A RH Door Hinge

Options And Upgrades.

Individual kilns are described on this this page. However, it's important to learn about options and upgrades as some have to be factory-fitted. The photo shows a Paragon SC2 customised for a PMC studio: hot pink, a right-hand door hinge, and a maximum temperature set to 925°C so that students couldn't accidentally melt their silver.


An option is cosmetic or practical, such as a black respray, a right-hand door hinge, a peephole-vent, a bead-annealing door, a door or lid viewing window, or an EU plug. An upgrade extends the standard specifications, such as a higher temperature, a 12-key programmer, an electric kiln vent, or a USB interface.

Not every option or upgrade applies to every kiln, so mail or call if you need help. However, if they're appropriate, they're listed in the on-line shop, so just add up the ones you want: but order them with your kiln as they're often difficult, expensive, or impossible, to implement afterwards. It might help if you make a few notes of your own as you read?


Kilns use regular single-phase 230V mains so have 230V EU elements, not 120V US elements. The smaller kilns have UK 13A three-pin plugs: so they're ready to go. If you're not in the UK, use a plug adapter or cut off the UK plug and fit your own: it won't invalidate the guarantee. Alternatively, a special-order kiln can have a factory-fitted EU plug.

Most kilns can be re-engineered for 110V, 200V, 208V, or 240V, single phase or three phase, or 440V three phase. If you're interested, mail or call.


Although standard EU and US kilns have the same maximum temperature, set by the design and the programmer, some 1095°C firebrick kilns can be re-engineered to run at 1230°C, 1260°C, or 1290°C, making them versatile mixed-media kilns. However, to use 1290°C full-on hour after hour, choose an industrial or professional model.

Also, to maintain 1290°C, some upgraded kilns might need thicker firebricks, so they'll be slightly smaller inside: about 12mm on each side. Mail or call if you're interested, or need help deciding.

The factory-set maximum temperature is based on the reliable average UK voltage of 240V. If there is a regional, national, or temporary voltage drop, high-temperature kilns might take longer to reach their specified maximum.


Some kilns are normally blue, but can be factory-painted black, pink, purple, or turquoise. However, as they're made to order, they can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly the same as in the photo.

The door hinge is usually on the left. However, a right-hand hinge might be better if you're left-handed: unless the kiln will be in the left-hand corner of your studio or there's an obstacle that will make access difficult. Give this some thought.

Most of the medium-size top-opening kilns have a standard lift-up lid. Firebrick lids seem heavy to some people so, if you feel that a ceramic fibre lid, a hydraulic-assisted lid, or spring-assisted lid would be easier, mail or call.


If the kiln comes with a Sentry Xpress 3-Key ramp-hold programmer, you can upgrade to a Sentry Xpress 3-Key cone-fire ramp-hold programmer, usually preferred for ceramics. Cone-fire is implemented in the programmer's software and is very easy to use: just set a cone number and start the firing sequence.

Depending on the kiln, you can upgrade a Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer to a Sentry 12-Key ten segment ramp-hold, or cone-fire ramp-hold, programmer, with advanced firing features and connection options. The 3-key has a 12-month guarantee and the 12-key has a 30-month guarantee.

A Sentry 12-key programmer can be connected to your computer through a factory-fitted USB interface. The Control Master software allows you to control and monitor the firing, and analyse, arrange, print out, and save the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.


Depending on the kiln, the 12-key programmer has a power-ratio feature: you can adjust the heat balance between the top and sides in 10% steps and control the heat distribution over larger pieces.

Kilns which only heat from the top, as opposed to the top and sides, don't have the power-ratio feature. However, the initial cost-saving has to be offset against fewer firing options.


With larger kilns, serious glass artists are always concerned about firebrick dust from the lid falling onto their work, so you could upgrade the standard firebrick lid to a factory-fitted ceramic-fibre lid with the elements threaded through pinless grooves in the fibre: or, as a luxury upgrade, with the elements completely embedded in the fibre.


Most kilns come with a standard long-lasting electro-mechanical relay. However, if extra long-life and reliability are vital, you can upgrade to a mercury relay which has a lifetime of several million on-off cycles. The relay can switch 30A, so if you have a kiln that needs 50A, you'll need two relays.

Most kilns come with a standard K-type nickel-chromium thermocouple. However, if extra long-life and reliability are vital, especially at temperatures above 1100°C, you can upgrade to an S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple.


Some front-opening kilns are just too large and too heavy for a regular worktop, so Paragon makes a strong steel table, 768mm x 768mm x 718mm high, with two shelves for your accessories. The luxury version, with castors, is 63mm taller. If you decide to buy on old wood table, the rigidity of the legs is vital otherwise it will collapse like a parallelogram.


Some bronze and copper clays, and some metals, need to be fired in activated charcoal granules in a stainless steel container. The SC2 and SC3, the Caldera-A, and the Xpress E9A. E10A, and 1193 can hold a one-litre container: most other kilns can hold a three-litre but check the internal size before you buy the container. It's important that the container doesn't touch the thermocouple.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

If you want to touch anything hot or move your kiln before it's cooled off, it's important to wear heat-resistant gloves. And, if you want to look into a red-hot kiln, wear glare-resistant glasses which protect your eyes from IR and UV.


Paragon kilns, made in the US, have been re-engineered and comprehensively tested for the UK, the EU, and most other countries. They're CE Marked and comply with EU safety standards. They're guaranteed for a year, and Paragon has an international, informed, and supportive user-base, and spares and repair centres.

The EU digital programmer shows degrees Celsius, not degrees Fahrenheit as in the US. If you need to convert, this is how to do it. However, if you want to work in Fahrenheit, you can make a simple change to the programmer.


In the unlikely event that your kiln develops a fault, it's reassuring to know that home repairs are easy and need little more than a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. An engineer can guide you on the phone, and there are on-line repair videos.

As with a lot of heavy consumer products made in the US but sold elsewhere, Paragon's guarantee covers replacement parts, not a return to the distributor or factory, and not any labour costs. However, as an example, replacing a programmer takes just a few minutes.

FIRING CHARACTERISTICS

How Electric Kilns Work.

Generally, as soon as a programmable kiln starts its firing sequence, it begins to heat up at a rate set by the programmer. It can't heat up quicker than it would do with the elements full on.

The thermocouple tells the programmer the current internal temperature and, depending on the sequence you've chosen, the programmer turns the elements on or off to control the sequence segments: the heating rate, the target temperature, the hold time, and the cooling rate. It can't cool down quicker than it would do with the kiln turned off. When the sequence is complete, the kiln beeps, and the sequence stops.


For safety, the programmer doesn't switch the full mains voltage. Instead it drives a relay, an electro-mechanical switch. The programmer uses a low voltage to activate the switch which turns the high voltage elements on or off.


When the target temperature is reached, the programmer switches the elements off. However, residual heat in the firing chamber allows the internal temperature to overshoot the target temperature briefly before starting to fall back.

This overshoot is more evident at low temperatures than at high temperatures, and in small kilns rather than large kilns. For example: 300°C will probably overshoot to 330°C whereas 800°C will probably only overshoot to 805°C before starting to fall back.

During the hold-time, with the elements still off, the temperature starts to fall. When the programmer switches the elements back on, the firing chamber will initially absorb some of the new heat before the temperature recovers. The continual switching of the elements on and off causes the internal temperature to oscillate either side of the target temperature.

This is similar to central heating. If you set it for 21°C, it probably oscillates, quite slowly, around 20°C to 22°C: and you won't notice. The accuracy will depend on where the thermostat is sited, how quickly it responds, how accurate it is, how long it takes for the radiators to heat up, and if you have doors and windows open. The temperature will probably be slightly different in each room.

So, regardless of the thermocouple temperature, the actual temperature of your work will be slightly different, depending on its position on the kiln shelf, the vertical spacing of any stacked shelves, and its nearness to the elements, a lid, a door, a bead door, or a window. Learn to take it into account if you're working with temperature-critical materials or processes.


Remember that glass needs radiant heat and will fuse, sag, or slump better on one shelf at the bottom than between closely stacked shelves.


Kiln doors and lids are not meant to be a perfect fit otherwise, at high temperatures, there'd be no room for expansion and movement, and the door could stick and the ceramic-fibre or firebricks could crack.

All kilns smell a bit, and even produce whisps of smoke, during the first firings, just like a toaster or a fan heater. If you're worried about fumes, open a window.

Eventually, with normal use, kilns discolour slightly, inside and outside, and some firebricks might develop hairline cracks. Your kiln is a versatile, robust, red-hot tool: not an ornament.

KEEPING A KILN LOG

Keeping A Kiln Log.

Using your kiln successfully needs critical research and frequent tests, especially as things that work for your friends and teachers might not work in the same way for you. It's also very important to learn how to creatively use unexpected effects. So, keep a firing log:


Buy a durable notebook. Use a new page for every firing, and draw diagrams of the shelves, their vertical spacing, and the position of your work on the shelves. Along with your work, put a few scraps at different places on the shelves to learn how things change. Describe the material, the shape of your work, the firing cycle, and the end result. Add a few photos and sketches, and mark the page corners with coloured dots or symbols as a quick reminder of your success rating.

A kiln log is vital if you're experimenting with temperature-sensitive materials or working with coloured dichroic glasses, enamels, glazes, or china paints, and a skilled artist will use the kiln log to advantage to re-create effects. It'll be particularly useful if you have to repeat a commission, or you have a long holiday before returning to your studio.


Some Paragon kilns have a Sentry 12-key programmer which can be connected to your computer through a factory-fitted USB interface. The Control Master software allows you to control and monitor the firing, and analyse, arrange, print out, and save the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO METAL CLAYS
Silver Clay Acrylic Tools Clay Shapers Hand Tools

What Is A Metal Clay?.

Metal Clays are clay-like materials made of fine metal powders and water-soluble organic binders. Out of the packet they feel like modelling clay, so can be shaped using anything appropriate. If you don't like what you've made, you can roll it up and start again. Any scraps can be wrapped up and re-used, so there's almost no waste.

When you're happy with your work, it's dried so that the moisture can evaporate. At this stage it feels like a plaster, so you can still refine the shape: and even add more clay.

As it's fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid metal: real metal, not something that just looks like metal. The firing temperature isn't high enough to melt the metal otherwise your work would lose it's shape and liquify.


Although Art Clay and PMC silver clays were first to market, there's now an increasingly diverse range of other metal clays, such as Cinter, Clay Mania, Creative, Goldie, Hadar Jacobson, Metal Adventures, Meteor, Noble, and PMC Sterling.


All our tools have been chosen for their engineering excellence and clean functionality, to help you manage a creative and efficient work environment. And you'll enjoy using good tools rather than continually improvising. To learn more, use the accessories:tools link below the menu bar near the top of the page.

SILVER CLAY
Art Clay Silver Pendant

Aida Art Clay Silver And Mitsubishi PMC Silver Clay.

There are two popular makes of silver clay: Art Clay made by Aida Chemical Industries and PMC made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, in Japan. They're both clay-like materials made of fine silver powder and water-soluble organic binders.

Art Clay Silver and PMC Silver, sometimes just called silver clay, metal clay, or precious-metal clay, are easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf and programme the temperature and hold-time.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid 999 silver: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


Although we chose to work with, sell, and provide classes in Art Clay, both makes fire in a similar way. So any kiln suitable for Art Clay will be just as good for PMC.

If you're currently using PMC, try Art Clay. There are differences in the feel, the shrinkage, the strength, the surface lustre, the product range, the pricing, and the general commercial setup if you're running a serious business.


To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

BRONZE CLAY
Bronze-Copper Lobster Bangle By Gordon Uyehara

Bronze Clay And BronzClay.

There are three popular makes of bronze clay: Bronze Clay made by ClayMania, BronzClay made by Metal Adventures, and Prometheus Bronze ProClay made by Odak. They're all clay-like materials made of fine bronze powder and water-soluble organic binders. However, they're fired in different ways:

Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire: wrap your dried work in kitchen tissue or ceramic cloth, put it on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. It can also be fired in charcoal.

Clay Mania Bronze Clay and MetalAdventures BronzClay fire in a special way. Fired normally, the surface would oxidise so, to minimize this, they're embedded in activated charcoal granules in a covered stainless steel container. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural bronze colour, and charcoal made from coal produces a colourful range of patinas.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid bronze, an alloy of 89% copper and 11% tin: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.


The stainless steel container for the Paragon SC-2 measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm, and holds 1 litre of charcoal. To fire larger pieces, or more pieces at the same time, you'll need a larger kiln, such as the Paragon Xpress E-12A. The container for the E-12A measures 265mm x 162mm x 152mm and holds 3 litres of charcoal.

The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.

There's also Creative Bronze, which is almost certainly Prometheus Bronze Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why, in November 2014, ProBronze is £17.75 for 100gm and Creative Bronze is £23.95: both including postage.


Also, in November 2014, 100gms of Art Clay Silver Clay costs about 12 times more than Prometheus Bronze Clay. So, if you're still in the learning phase, you can try out ideas before possibly wasting your expensive silver clay. However, bronze is a beautiful metal so, as with many materials, you need to exploit its qualities and try to produce beautiful original pieces.

To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

COPPER CLAY
Copper Earring By Zina Kuscynska Richterova

Copper Clay And CopprClay.

There are four popular makes of copper clay: Art Clay Copper made by Aida Chemical Industries, Copper Clay made by ClayMania, CopprClay made by Metal Adventures, and Prometheus Copper ProClay made by Odak. They're all clay-like materials made of fine copper powder and water-soluble organic binders. However, they're fired in different ways:

Clay Mania Copper Clay and MetalAdventures CopprClay fire in a special way. Fired normally, the surface would oxidise so, to minimize this, they're embedded in activated charcoal granules in a covered stainless steel container. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural copper colour.

Art Clay Copper is easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. In most kilns, several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time: so you might want more than one.

Prometheus Copper Clay is easy to fire: wrap your dried work in kitchen tissue or ceramic cloth, put it on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. It can also be fired in charcoal.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid copper: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.


The stainless steel container for the Paragon SC-2 measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm, and holds 1 litre of charcoal. To fire larger pieces, or more pieces at the same time, you'll need a larger kiln, such as the Paragon Xpress E-12A. The container for the E-12A measures 265mm x 162mm x 152mm and holds 3 litres of charcoal.

The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Copper Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.

There's also Creative Copper, which is almost certainly Prometheus Copper Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why, in November 2014, ProCopper is £17.75 for 100gm and Creative Bronze is £23.95: both including postage.


Also, in November 2014, 100gms of Art Clay Silver Clay costs about 12 times more than Prometheus Copper Clay. So, if you're still in the learning phase, you can try out ideas before possibly wasting your expensive silver clay. However, copper is a beautiful metal so, as with many materials, you need to exploit its qualities and try to produce beautiful original pieces.

To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

GOLD CLAY
Gold Clay Pendant By Claudia S Atkins

Aida Art Clay Gold And Mitsubishi PMC Gold Clay.

There are two popular makes of gold clay: Art Clay made by Aida Chemical Industries and PMC made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, in Japan. They're both clay-like materials made of fine gold powder and water-soluble organic binders.

Art Clay Gold and PMC Gold, sometimes just called gold clay, metal clay, or precious-metal clay, are easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf and programme the temperature and hold-time.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid 22 carat gold: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


Although we chose to work with, sell, and provide classes in Art Clay, both makes fire in a similar way. So any kiln suitable for Art Clay will be just as good for PMC.

If you're currently using PMC, try Art Clay. There are differences in the feel, the shrinkage, the strength, the surface lustre, the product range, the pricing, and the general commercial setup if you're running a serious business.


To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO GLASS AND GLASS WORK
Obsidian

What Is Glass?

The main component of glass is silicon dioxide, often called silica: found naturally and plentifully as sand. When it melts, at around 1700°C, it's like syrup on a cold day. When it cools, it forms a rigid brittle glass called quartz glass.

To lower the melting point, and reduce the cost of melting, chemicals are added: typically sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Other chemicals, and different heating and cooling processes, produce a range of colours and mechanical properties.

Chemically, glass is defined as an amorphous solid but, as it's heated, it becomes softer allowing it to be blown, cast, coated, decorated, engraved, heat-treated. moulded, poured, pressed, sagged, and slumped.

A form of glass occurs naturally within the mouth of a volcano when the intense heat of an eruption melts sand to form Obsidian, a hard black-to-brown glassy type of stone, shown in the photo. Although it was used decoratively, when it fractures it has very sharp edges, many times sharper than a steel knife-edge, so was also used for tools and weapons, and the pitiful ritual of circumcision.

ANNEALING
Annealed Beads Made Into A Necklace

Annealing.

During annealing, fabrication stresses are relieved as the molecules cool and arrange themselves into a regular stable matrix. Successful annealing is the key to creating glasswork that will remain attractive and durable. It's quite a long process, so a kiln with an automatic comprehensive programmer is essential.

DICHROIC GLASS
Dichroic Glass

Dichroic Glass.

Dichroic glass has two different colours: a transmitted colour and a reflective colour, both of which change depending on the angle of view. For example blue-red will be blue in transmission and red in reflection.

During manufacture, quartz and metal oxides are vapourised onto the surface of the glass using a vacuum deposition process, forming a multi-layer crystal structure.

FIRE POLISHING
Fire Polished Glass

Fire Polishing.

To fire polish glass, return the items to the kiln and melt them just enough to give a smooth polished appearance. It needs a temperature of around 700°C, and is typically used to round the edges of glass between fusing and slumping.

Fire polishing already-slumped items is more difficult because the polishing temperature is close to the slumping temperature and it can distort the appearance of the piece. So it generally works best for flat items, rather than slumped ones. It has the slight limitation that the part of the item that touches the kiln shelf won't polish.

FUSING, SAGGING, AND SLUMPING
Lauscha By Carrie Fertig

Fusing, Sagging, And Slumping.

If two or more pieces of glass in contact are heated, they begin to soften and fuse together. With careful heating and cooling, the separate pieces of glass become one.

If glass is put on a mould and heated, it begins to soften and collapse, or sag, onto the mould: a common technique for making bowls and plates.

Sagging and slumping are often thought of as being the same. Correctly: during sagging, heated glass, supported at its edges, sags down in the middle to conform to a mould; during slumping, heated glass, supported at its middle, slumps down at its edges to conform to a mould.

LAMPWORK AND BEADS
Beads

Lampwork And Beads.

Very briefly, lamp-working is the traditional name for glasswork that uses a flame to melt glass rods and tubes. As the glass softens, it's shaped by turning and using tools.

Early lampworkers used an oil-lamp, and blew air into the flame through a pipe. Later, propane, natural gas, or butane torches replaced the lamp, although kilns are now increasingly popular, particularly for annealing.

Beads are usually made on steel rods, or mandrels. When the beads are finished, the rods are removed leaving holes for threading the beads. Cold working techniques can be used, such as etching, faceting, polishing, and sandblasting.

PÂTE DE VERRE
Pâte De Verre

Pâte De Verre.

Pâte de verre involves making a glass paste, applying it to a mould, firing it, and removing the piece from the mould. The glass paste is usually made from glass powder, a binder such as gum arabic, distilled water, and colouring agents or enamels. It allows precise placing of colours in the mould, whereas other techniques often result in the glass straying from its intended position.

I think, currently, Daum is the only large commercial crystal manufacturer using the pâte de verre process for art glass and crystal sculptures.

TACK FUSING
Tack Fused Glass

Tack Fusing.

Tack fusing is the joining together of glass, with as little change to the shape of the pieces as possible. Tack fusing may be used either decoratively, or to assemble a large piece of glass from laminations.

Where tack fusing is used to apply small decorative details to a larger piece, you might want to partially melt the small pieces so that they change shape, usually becoming more spherical under the influence of surface tension, but without changing the shape of the carrier piece. This can be done by using an increased temperature, but only briefly. The carrier piece has a larger thermal mass, so heats up more slowly than the small decorations.

WARM GLASS

Warm Glass.

The term warm glass refers to fusing, slumping, and other glass processes which take place at temperatures between about 600°C to 925°C. Although that doesn't sound warm, it is when you compare it to glassblower's working temperatures, which often exceed 1100°C. The term warm glass is often replaced by kiln forming.

ELECTRIC KILNS

A Cherry Heaven Internet Resource.

This internet resource is provided by Cherry Heaven, an international distributor, on-line shop, and support centre for kilns, accessories, tools, materials, and tumblers. It's not a bead, ceramics, crafts, glass, or metal-clay home-business, selling a few things to a market niche.

As it's an on-line resource, there isn't a paper catalogue or a price list. However, you can mail or call a technician about kilns, power supplies, public area safety, a special project, business ideas, diagnostics, repairs, or reselling opportunities.