Bronze and copper cuffs

After the bread making, beach combing, and silicone mold making, we got out some bronze and copper clay. Below is a beautiful bronze cuff bracelet made by Angie Karst. We decided to try making more cuffs with copper and bronze.

I made my cuff from copper clay. We used Hadar’s powders, which I had used previously in the original form. The quick fire formula is much smoother and very nice to work with. Why have I been waiting so long to retry base metal clay?

Notice there’s a crack in the bracelet (near my thumb). This appeared as the bracelet was drying. I used bronze clay to patch it and to test how the bronze clay would react on top of the copper clay.

 

We had our fingers crossed that all three bracelets would sinter;  that they weren’t too crowded.

Post firing, everything seemed to have sintered successfully.

I can think of some new things to try next time. But for a first attempt, I’m happy that this cuff fired successfully and withstood the hammering I did to work harden it.

 

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

14 responses to “Bronze and copper cuffs

  1. holly

    OH. MY. GOSH! what an inspiration!!!! and you know it takes a LOT to inspire me with base metal! those are gorgeous cuffs! so, the bronze just STUCK right to the copper?! and what do you-all suspect happened to the one in the back with the cracks-THAT’S how everything i’ve ever made with bronze has turned out……
    xoxo

    Like

    • Barb Fernald

      Seeing Angie’s cuff really made me want to try the base metal clay again. The one that cracked was also hers. It was quite thin before firing, and it kept cracking as it dried. It was made from Rio fast fire bronze, while Marly and I used Hadar’s powders. It was so helpful to me to have A. and M. right there with their experience in teaching workshops in base metal clay. They are thinking of doing a cuff workshop, but are trying to work out the bugs. The frustration with this clay is that the firing is still slightly unpredictable.
      The cuff I made was 8 cards thick. I think Angie’s was maybe 4 cards, or started as 5 and then rolled with the tear away textures so it went to 4. She was confident about patching it with fresh clay and refiring it.
      I let the copper base of my cuff dry out, then rolled out thinner pieces of bronze, wet the copper areas with a brush, and applied the bronze. The thinner application on the front of the cuff cracked a little. I think I used slightly thicker pieces on the sides.
      We also fired a mix of lentil beads, a narrower copper cuff, and some flat bronze earring components. In my kiln, at 1550º, the flat bronze pieces bubbled. So, we turned it down to 1530º for the second firing of the second batch.
      Hey, this was a REALLY long response eh? How is the packing going for you?
      xoxoxo

      Like

      • holly

        GREAT long response…i’ll probably email with specific firing questions when i get back and am making a cuff of my own in july! packing? what packing?! i have a heap of stuff next to the couch (books, shampoo, battery chargers etc) and that’s it! tonight i’ll have to do it because i’m going out with my siblings for dinner tomorrow night and then we leave in the morning saturday!!!! yikes!
        xoxo

        Like

      • Barb Fernald

        Yikes! I knew it was soon, but not that soon. Have a wonderful time. Post lots of pics! We could Skype our cuff making experience when we get back. if we each have a cup of tea, it will be almost like you lived next door. Kinda…….

        Like

  2. LeAnn

    Wow! These are beautiful. Makes me want to use copper again. I think I may have to give Hadar’s clay a go. I haven’t been happy with the formulation of another brand of copper.

    Like

    • Barb Fernald

      Hi LeAnn,
      Hadar’s clay is really silky to work with. I think the powder in her quick fire formula is much finer than the original. Apparently the Rio Fast Fire clays are also much smoother than the original. The first time I tried bronze clay, before I tried Hadar’s clay, it was like working with a ball of you know what!

      Like

  3. Janelle Delicata

    Very nice! I have to get some fast fire bronze things made – I have the clay – just need the time to work…
    Janelle

    Like

    • Barb Fernald

      Hey Janelle, that class of Fred’s looked like it was a blast! I really liked the pieces you made. I wish I could have been there. Summer revs up overnight in Maine, doesn’t it? I want to do more with this clay, but finding the time among everything else will be hard for the next few months.

      Like

  4. Jackie Haines

    The cuffs are very cool! It looks like you guys have been having some fun…

    Like

    • Barb Fernald

      Hi Jackie,
      Thanks.I just over-worked my cuff and broke it. Hmmm… at least everything had sintered. But, back to the drawing board! We had fun!

      Like

  5. These are gorgeous! Sounds like you had a fun creating time as well as all the other things you did.

    Like

  6. Jane

    You were able to hammer Hadar’s quickfire copper?! I thought she says not to do that because they’re brittle and will break. Can you please tell me more about work hardening and how you did it? I have made a couple test pieces with Hadar’s quickfire copper, and they looked lovely and polished up all pretty. But I dropped one from about two or three feet onto a hard floor and it broke into several pieces! I’d filed about halfway through a tiny spot on the back, and it stayed shiny and not powdery at all, so I think it was fully sintered. It wasn’t the only piece I accidentally broke after an apparently successful firing either. Another wasn’t completely flat, but I had it on a flat surface and was rubbing down against it doing a final polish, and it split in half also. These were maybe 5 cards thick. They were fired in a kiln, not by torch or anything like that. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

    aliasjanedoe@hotmail.com

    Like

    • Barb Fernald

      Well, it seemed to hammer okay when I worked on it at the time. Then I wore the bracelet for a few days, tried to squeeze it to tighten it a little more and it broke. So…
      I haven’t tried making one since, and that one was made in June. But, Angie and Marly make cuffs with Hadar’s copper quite a bit. Their blog is: http://studio28waterloo.blogspot.com/2011/09/mary-allen-studio-tour-sale-this.html
      If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, you can see one of their bracelets.(It was during a visit from them that I made my bracelet.)
      I haven’t worked much with the copper clay, just a few beads and earring parts. I know when we made the cuff bracelets, I used a piece at least 8 cards thick. I’m sorry I don’t know more about it to give you a suggestion. (I didn’t even know Hadar said not to try work hardening it.) I’ll have to get out my broken bracelet and experiment with more hammering. I much prefer working with the silver clay, but it has become so expensive…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s