Monthly Archives: May 2009

Another ???



Since it’s hard to come up with a jewelry related photo every day……


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Parts 2 and 3

Stringing area before and after:




The collage, resin, and paperwork area gets tidied up:




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Studio before and after (part 1)

The more time I spend in the studio the messier it gets. Here’s a glimpse of my work space and sign of how much time I have spent working with bronze and copper clay in the last few days:


Fellow jeweler, (and my son’s girlfriend) Meghan Quinn is coming for the weekend, and I want her to try some bronze and copper clay. My studio is small, about 10′ by 10′. Finding room for a second person to work with me was a great incentive to clean up the mess and reorganize. 



Part two will be the other work areas in my studio. I just don’t have those “after” photos to post yet…


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Admiring the sky….

…during dinner Friday night at the Dudman’s home on Islesford. 


While at home the bread dough had more time to rise than it needed…


 I punched it down and shaped 4 loaves. They rose so quickly, I cut each loaf in half.


8 loaves of tomato cheese bread for the Islesford Library bake sale on Saturday.                                                                         Memorial Day weekend begins.


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Putting some of the beads together.



Fine silver PMC and freshwater pearls.



Copper clay beads with glass, f.w. pearls, gold filled beads.



Islesford beach stones with “stone” beads of silver, bronze and copper metal clay.


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Bowl of beads.


Copper, bronze and silver. Polished and ready to string.


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Looks like I’ll be spending some time at the buffer soon…..


 Good thing it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. The 15th is also my deadline for the June “Cranberry Report.” A morning of writing, an afternoon of polishing, and an evening of stringing necklaces and putting earrings together. Busy day.


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More copper/silver experimentation

Copper clay pieces after firing,  brass brushed. The round pieces are hollow forms, not solid.


PMC3 smeared into recessed areas. 2 pieces are sanded down to show the copper surface. 


Finished earrings. PMC3 has been torch fired. Some shrinkage. Have not yet tried filling the cracks and refiring. Maybe I don’t mind the slight openings between some of the silver and copper. It would be good to know what happens if I were to fill in and refire….


Soldering sterling silver posts on copper clay. Hmmmm…. The one on the left worked well the first time. The one on the right took three tries and a lot of solder. Soldering on copper clay feels very similar to soldering on PMC original. The fired clay is still quite porous. I tried burnishing the area where I was going to put the post. Still tricky soldering. Has anyone else had trouble with this?


The hole that is distant from the post is a vent hole in the hollow form. The hole right next to the post is where the copper started to pit when I tried to solder.


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Combining metal clays

My first attempt at firing combined bronze and copper clays. Photo shows placement of the pieces in the first layer of charcoal. The copper/bronze combined pieces are at the top. I placed more charcoal on top with a second layer of copper and bronze beads. Placed another inch of  charcoal on that and fired the first phase with the lid off. Those are 20 gauge bronze wire loops in the larger pieces. 


In my enthusiasm to find out how the combined pieces would fire, I took the container out after the first stage of firing, let it cool, then put it back in the kiln to ramp up to 1550ºf and hold for three hours. After the first hour, I remembered that I had not filled the container to the top with charcoal, nor placed the lid on, as I have done with other firings. Yikes! I opened the kiln and while everything was glowing orange, I pulled the pan out with a kiln fork, placed it carefully on the concrete floor, filled the container with charcoal, (on top of the glowing orange charcoal in the pan) and placed the lid on and put it all back in the kiln and shut the door.  The kiln went back up to temperature and continued to fire for two more hours. I was pretty nervous when I took the pieces out. I was sure they would have melted or something from the first hour at 1550º without any extra charcoal or the lid. They turned out fine. No bad surprises.


Three pieces have been brushed slightly with a brass brush. The piece in the upper right has been buffed with Fabulustre on a wheel. The contrast gets lost. Even more so in bright light with a shiny piece. Baldwin’s Patina is recommended to darken the copper for more of a contrast between the copper and bronze when it is polished. I noticed that Rio Grande carries it.

I have not had much experience with torch firing silver PMC, but I really like the contrast I’ve seen between copper and silver, or bronze and silver in the pieces on Hadar’s blog. I tried some test pieces of each by filling the recessed lines with PMC3, letting them dry on a cup warmer, then sanding them until the silver clay surface was smooth and even with the fired base metal clay pieces. I used a butane torch to heat the PMC3 to a dull red glow, kept the flame moving and held the color for 2 minutes and then quenched the piece in water. The results look a little rough, but it worked. If I were making pieces to sell, I might try filling in some of the spots and lines with more PMC, and refire it with the torch to get a more even inlay.




(I knew there was a reason to save these bronze beads that came apart. They made good test pieces.)



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More bronze and copper clay rock beads

Today was the 5th time I’ve fired  copper and bronze clay. All rocks beads in this batch, and all seemed to have fired well. The clay is Hadar Jacobson’s bronze and copper clay powder, and I fired using the directions from her blog. The combination of two metals in the same load did not have any effect on each other.  Its easy to tell the bronze and copper clay from each other in the pre-fired beads.


After firing, they almost look the same. But the bronze clay shows some of the patina from firing. This will polish away when I buff the beads. I will try to recreate it by applying heat with the torch, after the bronze is polished.


It was a good rainy day, so it was easy to stay put in the studio to finish a second batch of copper and bronze to fire in the kiln tomorrow.


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