Working with Bronze Clay

Firing PMC silver clay is relatively goof-proof, but bronze and copper clay can send some artists over a cliff.  There are more firing schedules and opinions regarding how to fire this medium than there are rehabs that have rejected Charlie Sheen!  At first, I got semi-consistent results with the standard steel firing pan and charcoal, but with lots of early pieces, the binder did not completely burn out, and I broke many more pieces than I want to count.  Then, I discovered Hadar Jacobson — the most amazing woman who keeps learning and experimenting with base metal clays, and willingly shares her knowledge in her own blog .  I think every budding metal clay artist should buy her books and thoroughly read her blog and visit her website .  Since finding her site, I have exclusively used her fast fire bronze and copper clays.  I also gave up the steel boxes and now use the fiber boxes she told us about on her blog.  Below is a pic of a bronze focal piece I made a few weeks ago, and just recently fired.  The first pic shows the piece fresh out of the kiln, and the second shows it after I brushed a section of it slightly so you can start to see the bronze peeking out.  In the next few days, I will put it in a pickling solution in my little tiny hot pot to get rid of any leftover carbon residue and oxidation, then I will polish it with a flex shaft and add a patina to accent the textures.    Then comes the difficult part – deciding how to turn it into a necklace — I’ll keep everybody up to date on that process as well.  Don’t forget to check out my etsy site — I am adding pieces almost every day.

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