The kiln gods have favored me…
Every time I unload the kiln, I am amazed with the shrinkage factor. For these sea-themed metal clay bead/buttons, I’ve used BronzClay, which has a shrinkage rate of 17% – 20% and must be factored in if one desires a finished piece to be an exact size. I am even more amazed with the myriad of colors produced during the firing process! I always wonder how one piece positioned one-half inch from its neighbor can have a completely different color. Where the piece is situated in the firing chamber and the temperatures that are reached in the micro-climates of the kiln (heat flow and cold spots) affect the color. Satin finishes in gold, copper, and deep bronzy hues contrast with flat finishes in shades of verdigris, rust, and ochre all within a 14cm x 12cm x 6cm stainless steel box filled with activated charcoal! After firing bronze metal clay, my process is to first poke out charcoal particles that have been trapped in bead holes during the shrinkage phase of firing. Then I sort through and match finishes that are stunningly beautiful on their own.
The less desirable finishes will go into the jewelry tumbler to be transformed from “ugly duckling to beautiful swan” glorious shiny shades of cool to warm gold!
I’ve just listed this group of bronze metal clay ammonites in my Etsy shop…have a look!
~ by BarbaraBriggsDesigns on April 22, 2014.
Posted in An Aside, Beads and Materials, Components, Embellishments, Handmade, Inspiration, Materials and Supplies, Metal Clay, Mixed Media, One-of-a-Kind, Tutorials
Tags: Barbara Briggs, Barbara Briggs Designs, Bronzclay, kiln, metal clay