8.03.2008

Bronzeclay first firing

Night before last, I programed the kiln for firing the new Bronzeclay. The instructions call for ramping the temperature at 250 degrees per hour (I had several pieces that were thicker than 3mm). Then the kiln should hold at 1550 degrees F for three hours. It takes nine hours all told to fire the pieces.

I used a "firing container" (stainless steel chafing dish, used in steam tables - you can get them at restaurant supply stores) filled with the basic activated charcoal. I was hoping for a rainbow finish but my stuff mostly came out in oranges and a bit of green. I think this was in part because I did crowd a bit to get everything in the container. Still I did have easily an inch -inch and a half of the carbon packed around each item.

One of the hardest parts was digging everything out afterwards. The carbon is very small particles and dusty. I pulled the container out when everything was still 400 degrees (I really should have waited!) and the container started to spray a fine spray of carbon out one side, through a small gap in lid. (a very small gap!)

I had used a mask through all of the handling of the carbon , thankfully. I also used a mask while burnishing, filing, and sanding the leather hard bronzeclay. One of the things I have discovered about the difference between the bronze clay and silver clay - bronze clay has a distinct metallic odor.

The Bronze clay handles very much the same as silver clay - I think it is a great option for practicing techniques and ideas, before commiting them to the more expensive silver clay. However, my love for silver will still have me using the silver clay for the final pieces.

It's important to note, I have gained more confidence already from using the Bronzclay - I don't have quite the same fear of "messing up all that money!" as I would when using the silver clay. I got several pieces made - 17 good sized pendants from about 150 gm of clay. I have more waiting to do a second batch, but wanted to test the things I had made already.

4 comments:

kitt said...

The Twig you made, was it made with slik?
Nice tags by the way.

Gertieanne said...

Cool Beans!!!

Gertieanne said...

Cool Beans!!!

G Leigh said...

Kitt: I took a piece of twig, pressed it into sculpy. I baked the sculpy. Then I used the sculpy as a mold for the clay. I used corn starch as a release.

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