Sunday, 16 November 2008

BRONZClay class

Wow. I've had a really fun weekend. I just held my first BronzClay class, and it was great!

I had a really productive and extremely creative group of students - wait until you see what they did. 3 of the students hadn't worked with metal clay at all before the class. I must admit, when I discovered this I was slightly concerned, but they proved my worries completely wrong, and did so well.
BronzClay is slightly different from silver clay, whilst still very similar. It is still pure metal, in clay form. So you work with soft clay, it then dries to a plaster like material. Then you fire it and it becomes pure metal.
You work with the same tools as for silver clay, and shape it in the same way, so you can use moulds, textures, rubber stamps and so on. But, you need to be more careful with joins and cracks. If not done properly, or in the case of cracks, removed before firing, there is a big chance they'll break and open up during the firing.
And, it oxidises (slowly) when exposed to air and water, which will inhibit sintering (where the metal particles fuse together and become solid). So you don't really want to do lots of pasted leaves with BronzClay. As it oxidises when in contact with oxygen, we also need to fire it in special way - buried in charcoal, and only in a kiln.

We worked with the BronzClay all of Saturday, making large pieces which we then fired overnight. On Sunday we made a few more pieces in the morning, which were then fired using the quick-fire schedule (full ramp, 2 hours hold at about 800C).

Some pieces were tumbled, and other were left as they come out of the kiln - with a lovely patina.

Here are a few of pieces whilst drying.

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