Pardo “Art Clay”: Cautious Optimism

by Carol Simmons on 07/15/2012 · 17 comments

This post is just a short digression from my experimentation with Premo Mica clays.

Last time I was in Hobby Lobby I noticed Pardo’s new “Art Clay” line: 14 basic colors in 2 oz. blocks instead of those ridiculous little balls they first distributed. (Note: I put “Art Clay” in quotes because I think the name should be changed; it is too easily confused with Metal Art Clay.) Last Thursday I received samples of all the colors to experiment with.  Of course the first thing I did was mix colors.

Before I comment on the colors, though, I want to comment on the clay itself. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which the clay went through the pasta machine right out of the package. There was no stickiness and no crumbling. It didn’t gunk up the pasta machine and all of the colors I tried were all of the same consistency. I must point out that the samples I tried came straight from the factory so they weren’t exposed to the variety of conditions that occur when clay is shipped to distributors, then stored for a while, then shipped to retail stores where it can sit on the shelf for some time, so I tested it under optimum circumstances. However, if the clay in local stores is like the clay I received from the factory, the other brands may get a run for their money on the basis of consistency alone.

The colors I tested mix beautifully. I have not fired the clay yet so my comments on color apply only to the unfired clay. I don’t know yet how much the colors change when the clay is fired. The color selection is similar to Premo primaries without zinc yellow. Pardo’s “cyan” is comparable to Premo’s cobalt blue and is available in stores, not just over the internet. That’s a big plus.  The greens mixed from the Pardo yellow were somewhat muddy, similar to the greens mixed from Premo cadmium yellow. I mixed the Pardo cyan with Premo zinc yellow to see if the addition of zinc yellow to the Pardo line would solve that problem; it would.

The Pardo red has less yellow in it than Premo’s red so the purples (mixed from red) aren’t quite as muddy as Premo’s. (It may be comparable to Premo’s pomegranate; I don’t know because I haven’t used it.)

It seemed to me that the Pardo ultramarine would be improved by having less pigment in it. In that case, it wouldn’t be necessary to add so much yellow to it when mixing greens, or red when mixing purples.

Of course there are a lot of other important characteristics that must be evaluated to determine the clay’s overall suitability for a particular use. I just looked at consistency and color. I’m pleased enough with the results that I’m ready to proceed with other tests. If the colors had been less satisfactory I wouldn’t have bothered with the rest.

I’m anxious to learn about other people’s experiences with this clay.

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