Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bronze urn-lessons learned

bronze urn
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
I was thrilled to learn about bronze clay, I immediately thought about making little vessels. I LOVE making silver urns. And just figured bronze urns would be so much more appropriate, especially when I do all sorts of greek design elements.

The more I learned about bronzclay and having to fire it embedded in carbon the more intimidated by the process I became. A two step firing process? yikes.

And then to add to that the fragile state the pieces would be in during transfer to the carbon.

And then all of my failed attempts at making good quality slip.

Well I just didn't go there. Until this past week.

I got ballsy with my bronze!
I put some in a syringe.
I made slip.
I did a burn out firing.

I completely messed it up, and learned soooo much!

Lessons learned:

• don't bother with essential oils and clay, to make slip just use water and a truly air tight container. The oil goes funky--I have a small pot of almost slip, and its funky smelling, and its oxidized, the slip in the water, no oxidation.

• the syringe is a b*0tch if there is too much air in it. It doesnt flow as easily as clay in a syringe. Make it goey-er and more slip like for the syringe.

• two phase burn out, not so intimidating. It needs to burn out at 900° for about an hour. In my case I still had to scoop out the cork, so next time Im going for a longer burn. And dont freak out by all the black on the piece, it fully sinters to a lovely color.

• Steel mesh is a must for open vessels. I think one of the reasons my urn broke so much was how much carbon got into it before it shrank.

• and Bronzclay really wants to be thicker. This urn would have been fine in silver form, but it was too delicate for the bronze, broken vines and such would be better if thicker.

I can't wait to make some more and try again!


Dawn DiGesare of DaVoria Jewelry said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure! I love saving myself aggravation. I've just started using bronze clay and actually switched to Hadar Jacobson's bronze clay. I found it to be much more workable and her firing schedules are pretty right on. One tip I learned from her was to definitely use distilled water. Tap water has metals in it and contaminates your clay. It really made a big difference for me. By the way, I just loved your fairy door! I hope you make it over again.

YorkAvenueStudio said...

Great post! Your urn looks like a phoenix with a wing extended, cool colors!

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