Leap day

I felt like I was finally bouncing back from a wicked cold today with more energy than I’ve had in a week. It was good to have the extra day to get back on my feet. I finished firing the last bit of my bronze and copper pieces, testing the limits on my third batch, with more pieces closer together in the stainless steel bowl. I increased both the binder burn off time and the sintering time and crossed my fingers. It all worked.

It took 3 different kiln loads, and a total of 12 hours (with some extra hours in between for required cool down times) to fire this many pieces of copper/bronze clay in my little kiln.

It took only 1 kiln load and 2 hours of firing for this many pieces of silver clay:

If I had to pick just one metal clay to work with it would be silver every time. But, the good news is I don’t have to choose; I just have to learn some time management. And when the bronze and copper pieces are fired and cleaned up, I wonder why I don’t work with the base metal clays more often.

What excites me about the bronze and copper clay pieces is that I have a whole selection of  patinas to use that I purchased from Shannon at  Miss Ficklemedia. I already know from some patinas I tried last summer that the combo pieces, made with both base metals, take on the patina as if they were just one type of metal.  The little two tone earring components will be used as they are. But the beads! I can’t wait to try Shannon’s russet red on some of the copper and bronze lentil beads. Picture the red color from the leaves below in the background of the raised letters and spirals in the 2 middle beads below:

(If you can’t picture it, just check back in a few days.)

The fun part about working with patina solutions is that you don’t know right away how the color  will develop. The russet red was the first heat applied patina I tried, and I really didn’t like it. (You can tell by how few red pieces there are in the batch below.) But after 2 days I really loved it.

So did one of my customers.

Before I even think of getting out the patina solutions, I have a necklace to finish with some of the silver rock beads I polished today:

Jan, if you’re reading this, thank you for your patience!

It was a tremendously successful leap day back to health. I got a whole lot done in the studio, I took a long walk, I read for an hour, I started on a piece of writing, and I’m actually going to bed before 10:30. I have been, for me, incredibly focused all day, which I attribute to enjoying the kind of alone time I get when Bruce goes to the Fishermen’s Forum in Rockland. In a few days, I’ll be relaxed, energized, caught up with creative work, and I’ll be missing my sweetie. And then he’ll come home. It’s all good!


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8 responses to “Leap day

  1. So glad you’re feeling better!


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks. What a relief! It was “just a cold” but it knocked me into bed for 3 days. (3 days of feeling to sick to do anything feels like 10 days! ) I never get a cold like that.
      I hope everyone at your house is finished with this crud. It looks like the rabbit had a bad case, too. Maybe a sinus infection blew his ears right off his head?


  2. Alone time is great sometimes! I love your bronze and copper clay – wow! Didn’t realize how long it took. I haven’t worked with any yet, and would like to, but I guess I should take a class!


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Susan. Yeah, there is such a thing as too much alone time, but I crave a few days being totally alone in my house. It only happens once or twice a year.
      I’m sure there are ways to work with copper and bronze clay that take less time. I don’t do it very often, so I end up using the old firing schedules that worked for me the first time. There are so many newer options and discussions about firing containers, “fast fire” clay, etc. I know I would benefit from taking a class too!


  3. holly

    beautiful…all of it! can’t wait to see jan’s necklace!
    i especially love the indented domes with the 3 spheres in the dents….


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Holly! The matching dented domes with three spheres are for clip on earrings. The two other domes, that don’t match, that I turned into weird flat lentil beads. Still waiting for the snow to arrive here. All the schools on the mainland are closed. Good old Islesford School never gets a snow day!


  4. So glad that you are feeling better! And I love the patinas. Those colors are gorgeous. I must say that I am beginning to like the bronze clays better than silver. They just seem so rich! One of these days I will have to try working with some. Silver is so much easier though….


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Roberta! The bronze and copper clays are always going to be a challenge for me with their complicated firing times and all that charcoal. Give me nice clean silver any day! But the price of base metals is so much more reasonable…


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