Monday, March 23, 2009

Bronze Clay

I took a bronze clay class with Celie Fago last September. Vermont was great, even though I was hoping for more color change in the trees, and the class was superb. I had great expectations to rush home and make many bronze pieces. But, that never happened.

Saturday I finally got the urge to experiment and dug out the left over bronze clay from the refrigerator. I was happy to see that the clay looked and felt good. It hadn't oxidized and was well hydrated. I decided I wanted to make something that I would carve. I remembered seeing a bangle bracelet made by Barbara Simon so I set out to make one of my own. I made the bracelet 6 cards thick and left it to dry overnight. Sunday morning I carved petroglyphs and squiggles into the bracelet. I really got into the carving. It was fun. I decided to fire the piece during the day as this was my first bronze clay firing and I wanted to monitor it. The big decision was should I follow the firing routine given to me by Celie; or should I use the new firing schedule that I have read about on Hadar's website. I decided to go with the schedule from Celie for thick pieces that I got when I took her class. I ramped the kiln at 250 degrees per hour to a temp of 1531. I chose this slightly lower temp (instead of 1550) because I am pretty sure my kiln is firing a little hot. I used the coal based activated carbon and fired just the one piece in the large stainless steel container with the lid on. The container was placed on kiln posts. The schedule took just over 9 hours so I waited until this morning to pluck out the piece.

Bummer, it split right at one of the deeper carving lines. Today I am going to try to repair it. And I am going to follow the same firing schedule. The bracelet has fully scintered though, so I am happy with that. So stay tuned. I'll post the repair when it's done. Oh yeah, some cool colors too... nothing too vibrant though.

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