You have to start somewhere.
I have tentatively dabbled in silver clay twice. Once in a private class in San Diego over 10 years ago. The instructor was Jonna Faulkner; I was working at the Shepherdess. Then here in Delaware; my good friend Sara Teixido is a metal clay goddess, and I have used the medium under her guidance. But that’s as far as I went…
Why? Price? Fear that I would love it SO there would be no turning back? My magpie-like love of all things shiny silver? Then there is the bronze, and the copper. I have had so many gorgeous pieces from my colleagues and AJE team mates. Still I hesitated. Carbon? Firing? Learning curve? Sintering?
|Whee! Free rein to test out Karen’s stamps!|
This Labor Day weekend a few of us from the blog gathered together for a mini “Art Camp”. With both Karen and Lesley there – Jennifer & I had masterful support to dive into bronze. This post is in no means a how-to! Just my excitement at trying… and succeeding… in a medium that I had longed to try for years.
|One picture of me at work where my hands weren’t a blur… LOL|
First let me say – the stuff is HEAVY. you take a pinch of bronze clay, compared to a similar pinch of polymer or stoneware. Wow. Its dense and feels substantial. Working with it was as expected: lube up your hands and molds as needed. Don’t dilly dally as it dried out rather quickly.
|Layer after layer. Spacing things in the carbon/|
|Cannot wait to see!|
I’M SO EXCITED. Doing a Snoopy dance in my head right now.
|Freshly washed: Karen’s, Jennifer’s and mine all mixed together…|
Post firing? Lesley and great advice on sintering, how it sounds, how to test it… Its worth it to try to break a piece to see if the clay sintered properly. And the metallic “ring” of your newly fired piece on the sink is music to one’s ears! Again I was struck with the heft of the pieces. Sure, mine were a bit “sturdy” and could be thinner, but they feel “real”. The image above shows the natural patina resulting in the firing. These were washed off, that’s all!
|At home now – brush and tumble…|
To tumble or not to tumble? To sand to a satin finish? To burnish high points to a high shine? How do you decide!? The goddess ( top left, below) was burnished with an agate burnisher. The group on the right was tumbled – I loved the subtle satin sheen they have now. The last two ( bottom left) were scrubbed with a brass brush. I think this batch is complete – reminding me of different finishes and possibilities.
|The specifics… details and finishes.|
|A perfect partnership.|
And this one? Its mine! A wee bronze charm stamped with a eucalyptus pod from San Diego – and my thumbprint apparently! This stunning cab was from Lesley, and the bead work was completed after a great weekend of friends, creativity, techniques… and wine.