Okay so its a learning curve – mostly a getting to know my kiln type of learning curve. Dont get me wrong, I know my kiln pretty well – and I now know that it LIES!! The temperature it says it is isn’t REALLY the temperature it is! So my first test firing of the White Bronze wasn’t successful. It was fired ramping the kiln up to 676C at 222C an hour, and a 3 hour hold……….. the firing finished late last night and the carbon was still glowing in parts when I fished for the bits this morning!
So I was excited to get my dremel on them…… my 2 cards thick “bit” fell apart, the thicker piece just kind of sanded away as I tested it with the dremel. Another test firing you think ? NO – As they are not fully fired Ive taken the risk and am firing my combined Copper and White Bronze Piece right now, becuase I’m guessing that even with increasing the temperature to 686C it may need refiring. Here is a picture of the piece that I sanded into with the dremel…And now to the reason for the title of my post ………..
Really what I wanted to say was load of bad words………… but fiddlesticks will do!! The above piece was large and had a significant bend in it after firing. It was hiding under some papers on my desk…. I unknowingly leaned on it as I reached for something and heard a suspicious noise, looked under the papers – and there was my broken pendant! Ah well – you live and learn…. don’t let your work lurk under papers on your desk!!
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I’ve spent some time today bonding with my dremel as I set to work sanding all the components for my bracelet. A good few hours later I have tingly fingers and an irritated nose. I need a better mask!! I posted a picture of them out of the kiln a wee while ago. Here is a picture of some of them half way towards being finished ……..
Because I’m impatient, I decided to finish one link so I could add the Baldwins Patina, and see how its turned out. Here is a before and after picture of the finished link – the Baldwins stuff is amazing!! I cant wait to get them all finished and see how they all look together. Each link is a different pattern – some on a base of copper with bronze inlay and others on a bronze base with copper inlay. I think their variations in size are due to this fact, the smaller links having a base of bronze – I think…next time I shall take pictures and notes!!
I also mixed up some of my White Bronze today. During the course I used one my templates to make a pendant from the copper. The original idea was to fire the copper, inlay with fine silver and re-fire. However – I wanted the surface of my pendant to be flush – which would not have been possible using fine silver as it wouldn’t have been secure so I decided to use White Bronze instead. This new clay which after firing looks just like silver!! My pendant was fired on the course, and today I filled it with White Bronze by just pressing it into a thick slab of clay, and then sanding it back. There are 3 test pieces in my kiln, well more like test bits. Hadar’s Instructions say the Bronze can quickly go from not sintering at all to melting or deforming as it has a very narrow sintering range. I’m hoping the temperature is just right because I am so keen to get it fired! Its a long firing schedule at over 3 hours, so Ive a while to wait yet!
I REALLY like these clays. I love the possibilities available with all the colour combinations. The only downside is that I am out of Copper Clay…….. if you are in the UK and have some of Hadar’s that you don’t want then let me know!!!
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The latest Issue of Metal CLay Artist Magazine has arrived over here in the UK. Naturally I am always eager to see it – but this edition I was even more so as it includes my article about my trip to Japan in March!! I’m delighted to have written about the trip for such a great magazine!
The really great thing about the magazine is that this month its all about Copper Clay. There are articles on combining copper, bronze and silver clays, lots of copper clay tutorials and there is a profile on Hadar Jacobson too! Talk about coming at the perfect time for me!! Ive been doing test firings and playing with Hadar’s Clays ever since I got home a week ago. My first text firing was unsuccessful so I fired my second test piece for longer and it worked. I’m using my Paragon SC2 which has a bead door – which is probably why the first piece didnt fire fully. Ive made my own box to fire in and have been using coal carbon as I was too impatient to go to the studio and get coconut!!
I fired a large thick piece for 2 1/2 hours – when I took it out of the kiln ALL of the carbon had burned away. I was worried that this must mean the piece wasn’t fired properly, but I tested it with my dremel and its fine. I spent much of the 3 days with Hadar working on my bracelet – which Ive now fired. it needs alot of sanding and polishing and then the magic Baldwins patina solution that is on its way to me from the USA as I speak. Its not looking too hot at the moment ……….. also the components are different sizes despite using the same cutter…… but I quite like that effect.
Hopefully I can post a picture of a beautiful shiny bracelet some time soon
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Posted in Hadar Jacobson on July 2, 2010 |
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Seeing as I now know that somebody out there really reads my blog (see my previous post) I thought I’d tell you about my weekend with Hadar……So last Thursday I set off (with a silly amount of luggage and shoes) for three days Hadar Jacobson. The course was organised by Tracey Spurgin of Craftworx, whose studio is located near the picture postcard pretty village of Beverly.
The three day course kicked off on Friday morning at 9am. There were I think 12 excited participants in all eager to learn from the fantastic Hadar. After a demonstration on how to mix her clays and some of her pieces off we went to do it our selves. Hadar asked us to make one small piece to ensure we all had something fired so we could go through the finishing process with our dremels. Naturally for all of us the temptation to make either lots of pieces or larger pieces with around 400g of unmixed clay each was very big !! By the end of the first day there were a lot of pieces around!!!
Hadar demonstrated how she makes her own firing box and loads it with coconut carbon and where to place the pieces. This was really interesting as i’ve thus far fired my Copper & Bronze pieces in the stainless steel container which I HATE as it makes such a mess!! Its not the carbon but the stainless steel that just sheds off black mess!! Firing this way there is no mess in the kiln at all!! Also – she fires with out a lid.
I think the pieces above were fired in an open firing – but I could be wrong – I didnt have a piece in this firing load and was busy working on what has become a bit of an EPIC bracelet ………….(more on that later). We all tested to see if the pieces had fired fully with our dremel – by sanding the piece on the back. If its at all grainy then it needs to be repaired and refired. Some of the above pieces didn’t fire fully and a couple crumbled as a release agent other than olive oil had been used. All part of the learning curve….. I was lucky – my piece was fully fired so I was able to move onto sanding it with the dremel.
This picture above shows some of what was made – much of this wasnt fired so went home with its creators to be fired later. As I type my kiln is firing my second text piece – its a thin square of copper and bronze – and firing at an hour at 832 resulted in it not being fully fired. This second piece I’ll fire for 2 hours…. fingers crossed!! I’m super keen to fire my parts for the bracelet and also a large pendant with a super cute bird image on it (thanks to the lovely Debbie Carlton who let me use her great texture stamps). You can see it in the picture above – the large piece on the left.
We were also lucky enough to be shown Hadars Mokume -gane technique which I LOVE! I cant wait to have a go. Its versatile and very clever, and Ive had so many ideas floating around in my head since been shown this! If you get the chance to go on a course with Hadar then GO!!! She is a generous teacher, phenomenally talented and very very clever! Huge thanks to Tracey for organizing it!
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