While I love working with Art Clay Silver, there are several other types of metal clay on the market that I have been anxious to try. I like the look of bronze but previously bronze clay products were either too yellow or too pink for my taste. Just recently Goldie Bronze became available in the U.S. Developed by Waldo Ilowiecki of Poland, Goldie Bronze is a dream to work with, has a short firing time, and finishes to a nice soft golden color.
When I say it became available recently, I mean within the last month. And there's only 1 US distributor and she was out when I placed my order. So I had to wait.
Goldie Bronze, like several other base metal clays on the market, comes in powdered form and has to be mixed with water. This is actually a great idea since it gives unused clay a longer shelf life.
My first reaction was that the clay has a totally different feel from the silver clay--softer and more silky. It dries less quickly so I have a lot of time to change my mind if I don't like something and want a "do over".
While silver clay fires for 2 hours at 1650 degrees, bronze fires at a lower temp. But the process for firing bronze clay is a bit more complicated. I needed to purchase a metal pan and coconut carbon. The dried pieces are fired on top of the carbon at 662 degrees for 30 minutes. Then you bury it in about 1/2" of more carbon and fire it for 40 minutes at 1508 degrees. You can take it out of the kiln hot if you don't want to wait for it to completely cool down.
My first surprise was after the first firing. The pieces were completely black. Then after the 2nd firing they came out these lovely colors but gritty to the touch.
But after cleaning and polishing the end result is a lovely golden color.
I've only had time to make a few pieces but we'll be showing them off for the first time at the Mattoon Street Festival this weekend in Springfield. Stop by for the arts and crafts and take a tour of the brownstones or their gardens.
More news about Jansjems--
Jansjems jewelry is now also available at the Red Lion Inn Gift Shop in Stockbridge, MA. If you're from the Berkshires or visiting the area, stop by and check out this wonderful gift shop. Jayne Church has filled it with a wonderful variety of locally made artisan products.
There is also a small selection of jewelry at Sawmill River Arts, a gift shop you can find next to the Bookmill in Montague, MA.
And, of course, The Daylily in the center of South Deerfeld still carries our work.
The fall craft fair season starts in earnest for us this weekend. Visit our website for a complete list of upcoming shows.