Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's "Sayonara" to White Bronze Clay for Me!

As many of you know, I've spent countless hours...and money on a certain brand of metal clays. I love the ideas of working in steel and white bronze clays.

Yesterday, when firing some Metal Adventures bronze clay--I'd thought it was copper, it was so dark in color, but I was wrong--it was bronze--I threw in a piece of mixed metal clays (of the other brand--copper and bronze--and fired it with Judi Weers schedule.  It fired beautifully.  Thank you, again, Judi for all of your help.

So...I'm thinking, maybe fire in a metal container, covered and see how it goes.  Fired twice (with one prefire) and the first time out of the second firing I got, again, potato chips (break like unfired clay!)  So, I upped the temperature in my kiln and  waited another two hours.  Just took the first piece out and it looked scintered, so broke it in half with my fingers--just like a burned potato chip!

I've spent a LOT of time on my birdie and my cala lily, so, I am going to try ONE MORE TIME.  Following the suggested schedule for the white bronze clay--using the manufacturer's suggested fiber firing container (the one that goes through carbon like crazy!!!!)...before I throw these pieces, and this brand of clay out--for good!  Pray for me!


Monday, August 13, 2012 know that things don't always go smoothly for me...

I'm working on my metal clay pieces from my gravestone rubbings.  They'll both be made of a combination of copper and white bronze clay.  As copper fires at a higher temperature than white bronze, I fired the copper pieces first and will then attach them to the white bronze pieces and fire again.  Of course I'm having kiln problems, so I don't know when that will be!

My copper pieces I had in the kiln at 7 AM for their second phase of firing.  First firing was yesterday.  I figured it (2nd phase) should've taken about six hours or so.  About 1 o'clock my kiln was somewhere around 1600 degrees--firing temp for copper clay, but I got an error message.  I kept it going for awhile longer then decided to use a firing schedule for mixed metal clays, which is at a lower temperature.  I turned the kiln off at about 3:00 and decided that the copper would be at least mostly scintered and that I could attach it to the white bronze and refire at the lower temperature.

The twigs and leaves of copper seem to be scintered, but appear to be more bronze than copper.  Why?  I HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!  All's well, though, as the color can be corrected with enamels or prismacolors.  I've had issues with white bronze clay in the past, too, but that's another story.

Anyway...this is what I have so far.  The copper portions are fired but not polished and the white bronze is not yet fired:


The bird I'm seeing as a pendant and the cala lily as a pin.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monet and Van Gogh

I probably shouldn't link these two together, as their lives were so completely different, but I will.  Monet was not only an artist, but a highly successful one, and a businessman, as evidenced by his beautiful home and magnificent gardens.  Van Gogh, by contrast, failed at everything during his life, although his goal was not to sell paintings; he painted for his own pleasure.  He sold only one painting during his lifetime, and he scolded his brother, Theo, for selling it for too much money.  (This from our guide at Auvers-sur-Oise, although I've seen nothing in what I've read about Van Gogh to substantiate this.)  We were also told that, after Vincent's death, Theo gave a few of his paintings to friends who weren't thrilled to receive them.

Yes, I am finally thinking about actually making something.  Some of you may know that I carry two part modelling ompound with me on trips.  I made some molds from gravestones, one at the cemetery where Monet is buried and one where Van Gogh rests.  So far, this is the only artistic inspiration that I've had from this trip!  Below is a photo of the  inscription and bird from one of the gravestones.  It appeared to me that the grave housed the bodies of a father and four or five of his children.  Each had a very small marker, maybe 4 x 6 inches.
 I guess I didn't take a picture of the second one, in the cemetery where
Van Gogh is buried, but it has the image of a cala lily on it.

I believe that the inscription on the stone reads "time passes and memories stay".