Daily Archives: June 4, 2009

Playing with Patina

I finally got some Baldwin’s Patina to try on my pieces of mixed bronze and copper clay. I learned about it from Hadar’s blog, and was happy to see that Rio Grande carried it. It makes quite a difference. The copper turns to a rich color that contrasts better with the bronze. I wish it did not color the bronze at all, but it does, slightly.

The piece on the left has been oxidized with Baldwin’s Patina. 



To try another patina, I took the untreated piece on the right and suspended it in a sealable container over a shallow layer of ammonia with a little vinegar added. I then sprinkled the piece with salt. I left it covered for about 6 hours. Love the color! There seemed to be no difference in how it colored the bronze or copper. I will definitely try this again, in a more controlled way.  (I wonder if there could be any kind of “resist” used to control where the blue color goes.) I also applied Renaissance Wax to this to see if it affected the color. It didn’t seem to change it much. Below is the piece, with the Renaissance Wax applied.


Next, I took another piece and tried a mixture of oatmeal, cranberry, and chocolate, and applied heat for about 10 minutes. 



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Dumb day

“Mama said there’d be days like this…”  

It was just one of those frustrating days in the studio. Several of the pieces of copper clay I was finishing (sanding), before firing, broke when I was almost done…. AFTER I’d put the time into sanding down the inlayed copper or brass clay. It may have been a “dumb day” but I learned something from it. I am rolling the copper and bronze clay too thin. This happens the most with pieces I want to inlay.  

After all the time spent with silver PMC+, I have learned to make  pieces fairly thin to cut down on the cost of material. I’ve gotten pretty good at making beads that are 2 cards thick,  still having enough thickness to prefinish the piece, with those spongy 3M sanding pads, before firing. This ends up being too thin, for me, with copper or bronze clay.

I’ve rolled out copper and bronze clay to 4 cards thick, then stamped or pressed stuff into it to make a depression for clay inlay. The depression ends up being only about 2 cards thick. It does not take the stress of my handling it, before it is fired. The pieces keep breaking before I get to fire them. This happens more with flat pieces than hollow forms. 

After breakage, I fire the pieces anyway, so they can used as test pieces. I have so much to learn about this base metal clay!

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