Monday, June 08, 2009

Bronze Clay Rings at Bead and Button

The other bronze clay class that I took with Celie Fago was a primitive rings class. Primitive in this instance meant simple shapes cut from flat clay and then carved.

Once again, I just adored the carving process. We got to fire two rings each. My first ring was very "Celie-esque," with lots of tribal carving. It's lined with black polymer clay to prevent finger discoloration from the bronze and to deal with the issue of unreliable sizing due to inconsistent shrinkage in bronze clay firings.

For my second ring, I deviated from the prescribed process. I cut out my blank ring in a thick wedge shape, then quickly blocked out the mass for a bird carving. After drying in the dehydrator over lunch, I went to work removing clay with a scalpel. Since I had carved a bird bead earlier in the week, this was a simple extension. I left the carving marks all over the ring, as I was reluctant to invest more time with the unpredictable bronze clay until I saw some success.

Both rings had a beautiful patina coming out of the kiln. I polished the surface, leaving the patina in the depressions on both rings. That was more successful on the tribal ring than the bird ring. Torch patina didn't give me a particularly nice patina on the bird, probably because there was too much mass for the small portable torch. I'm going to do some patina experiments at home soon and have ordered chemicals.

Here are the class samples that Celie made, to compare.