Fired Metal Clay

In my  March 27 post, I showed you how fine silver metal clay looks in the “greenware” state after the clay has dried and is ready to fire.  Yesterday I did a firing and this is how silver metal clay looks straight out of the kiln.  The pieces in the bowl show the  reflection of studio  lighting and look brighter than they really are, but if you look at the pieces that are directly on the kiln shelf, you’ll see that they are really quite white.  I’ll be hand forming some of the flat pieces with a hammer while they are still very malleable.  Then I will polish them in a tumbler which will give then a nice shine and work harden them.  If I wish a less shiny finish later on, I can  use  a hand-held brass or steel brush and go over the surface to give the finish a more subtle glow.  Some pieces will be colored with a patina of liver of sulphur which gives a colored finish…gold, copper, reddish purple, blue, or black depending on how long you leave the metal in the bath.  For a  longer lasting black finish I can use a chemical called “Black Max” which will give the piece an antique finish.  The beauty of fine silver is that it can be brought back to this original color by simply heating the metal with a torch.  It’s very versatile!

~ by BarbaraBriggsDesigns on April 7, 2010.

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