Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year with a New Bronze

Happy New Year!!!

I've been away from my blog but not sitting idle. In my last post I talked about my firing issues with Bronzclay.  Since finding a firing schedule that works I've been hard at work testing the clay with my new designs.

I'd like to report that some things work and some don't.

These small pendants were quick and easy and fired nicely.  Only the pendant on the far left had to be fired a second time.  I found when layering or attaching elements water is not enough to keep them together in the kiln.  Most attachments need a loose mixture of clay and water covering the entire surface of the adhesion.  If there are any spaces the piece will begin to separate.

I like to add flowers and curly snakes to some of my pieces.  But sometimes the little particles of carbon that the bronze is immersed in get stuck in all the spaces my style provides.  Sometimes that just means digging these particles out  but occasionally they interfere with the shrinkage.  This bronze clay shrinks a lot, about 20%, so the carbon particles immersed in a design will cause it to crack.  To solve that problem I've purchased some stainless steel wire mesh to cover the delicate pieces and keep the carbon particles out.

This high rate of shrinkage also makes it impossible to embed a bezel setting for even a small stone.   Because the setting doesn't shrink it causes clay around it to crack.  Bezels need to be attached to fired clay and the whole piece fired a second time.

It's been a learning process but all in all I'm happy with the finished products that have survived the kiln.  My new inventory for 2014 has some new designs I hope people will like.  Bronzclay is a joy to work with and the finished product sands to a lovely shine that I protect with clear coat.

Here's a sneak peak at more of my new jewelry soon available at Jansjems--

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