Saturday, December 19, 2009

Revising Metal Clay Mistakes

So what do you do when you make something that doesn't quite turn out the way you wanted? Do you sell it off at a discount? Sell the metal back for scrap? Just bury it somewhere?

This Garden Window Pendant fell into that last category for a while. There were multiple issues with the piece. I had a notion about flowers cascading that sounded good but looked off balance. Then the enamel reacted badly with the silver, making the red and yellow flowers muddy. This was the last Garden Window that I reverse painted; all the newer ones have the enamel on the top surface of the glass to protect it from the silver. Also, a large bubble formed under the glass on one side that was rather distracting. As well, this was rather plain, with a commercial clip-art tear-away texture and no further decoration. That little cluster of balls at the bottom, added to balance the offset flowers, looked like the after thought it was. The whole thing just left me cold.

When I was playing with resin and sketching recently, it occurred to me that I didn't have to live with things the way they were. So I popped the piece into the kiln for a fast ramp up to 1500 degrees. The glass started to draw up due to surface tension, the enamels burned to unattractive black, the metal took on interesting colors from the liver of sulfur burning off. Plunged hot into a container of water, the glass crackled all over. I thought the glass would just crack right out of the recess, but that didn't happen. After a couple of iterations, including hitting the glass strongly with my Little Torch, I took a tool to the glass, and dug out all the frit.

Then I did a quick watercolor sketch of a hummingbird with fuchsias on a scrap of heavy paper, cut it to fit, and sealed it with gel medium. Of course, there were other issues. Since the box is bigger than the opening, I could see the edges of the paper. Ah, I was wondering why the muses insisted that I buy two vials of aqua and turquoise micro beads this week! They're for masking the edges, of course, as I set the original painting into resin. Voila! Saved from obscurity!

Guess I shouldn't mention the recess that wasn't resin-tight, so resin leaked through to the back, nor the bubble that crept out after I wandered off during the long set up. More solutions are in order. ;-) Still, it's an improvement.

Now I'm thinking about how to resurrect some other pieces that didn't quite meet my expectations. Don't you have some needed revisions?

In case you were wondering, I've been missing in action for a week because my mother has been very ill. She is finally on the uphill, so I've returned home to catch up.