Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Creative Bronze Clay

Being out of the loop a bit with Metal Clay has meant that I haven't really experimented with all the new clays that have been appearing. So I decided to try and fit in a bit of time with them to see which ones I could add to my regular stash!
Before Christmas I'd ordered some Creative Bronze Clay and Creative Copper Clay from Cookson Gold.  Its taken me until now to break it open!  I decided to just make some really simple cut out pieces that I could use as earring pieces.

The bronze clay feels really nice out of the pack, and to me feels much more like working with silver clay, it's smoother and less grainy than others I've tried.  

It took the texture really nicely, and when it started to dry out a bit, adding a drop of water instantly made a big difference and returned it back to a nice workable state.

One of the issues for me in the past has been the way that bronze clays react when you try joining pieces together.  I regularly make hollow bead shapes when it's crucial that the clay joins nicely.  I've had joins split apart during firing and while i can repair and refire, I'd rather it worked first time!  With this in mind I made a hollow lentil bead as well.

Apologies for the not great camera phone picture!  But here are the sample pieces before going into the kiln.

I fired as per the instructions in the pack which was 800oC for 30 minutes.

Did the pieces fire correctly - NO!!!!

One of the pod shaped pieces is now in half where I snapped it to test whether the clay had sintered.

I had actually decided before the kiln firing not to fire the lentil as it needed a bit more refining, so I'm quite glad about that!  I've been researching a bit online today and have found a couple of alternative firing schedules, so I'm going to give those a go - nothing to lose really.

I have to say I am increasingly frustrated by products that are put out into the marketplace and don't work as the instructions say!  If the instructions are 800oC for 30 mins then that is what I expect to work - I don't think that's unreasonable!

The next time I get over to the studio, I'll re-fire and keep my fingers crossed!  Next on my list of things to order are Hadar's clays and Goldie Bronze - fingers crossed I can get successful firings for these

Monday, 14 January 2013

2013 - will it be a good one?!

I know we are nearly halfway through the month, but this has been my first chance to blog and I WILL be better at it - that's a promise :)

The last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least. I'm not one to make New Years Resolutions - I beat myself up when I break them! However I have made myself a little promise to make this a year where I tackle whatever comes my way, good or bad. At the end of this year I will be celebrating a milestone birthday so I want to achieve certain things that will mark it as a good year in my life.

I moved into a new studio space before Christmas so I've been busy trying to make it look respectable and also trying to organise the chaos that I've let build up. I've given myself the rest of the week to finish that so I can move onto more exciting things next week!

And, here is the thing I'm relying on to help me achieve my goals this year! This book is for me to use as my to-do, business plan and ideas book. Sometimes you just need to be able to jot something down!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

PMC Sterling

After playing with this for the first time the other day, I have to say that I love it!

I fired my first samples and had a successful firing, first time, no problems! This is unlike the base metal clays which still keep me on my toes!

The pieces I made aren't exactly intricate or complicated but I really just wanted to get a feel for the product. The most surprising thing is how flexible the clay is when dry. I had a long strip which I managed to bend to about 90 degrees, maybe a bit more before it snapped.

The other really big plus is the strength when fired. The pair of earrings I made were rolled out at 0.5mm thick! That's half the thickness needed for fine silver clays.

I still have half a pack left so more playing to be done. I'll report back and get some photos taken.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

I'm back!

If any of you are still here then - hi!!

This blog has been dormant for a while but I'm resurrecting it and will be a lot more active here - promise!

Such a lot has happened to me since I was last here but the main thing is that I'm now back on my creative journey.

I'm firing ahead with new workshops and classes.

I'm also working on lots of new stock and hope to have a nicely stocked Etsy shop soon.

I'm also hoping to get more involved with my local events.

I've been working with PMC Sterling today for the first time. I'll get some work in progress piccies for you but so far I really love this product - lets just hope I can get it to fire!!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Exciting New Products

So this week I have had to cope with the jealousy of seeing the metal clay part of my Facebook friends list reporting back from the PMC Conference in Purdue.

The first exciting peice of news was the launch of Bronzclay Fast Fire.  I can't wait to try this out.  I need to use quite a substantial amount of bronze for one of my Masters Registry Projects, but I had allowed for multiple firings as it would probably need cracks to be repaired.  Well, the Fast Fire forumla apparently addresses the issue of joints cracking, so that is a real bonus for me!  It's a lovely consistency to work with as well reportedly so I really am looking forward to having a play with it.

The next exciting piece of news is the launch of PMC Pro.  There isn't much information available on this at the moment, but it launches in October and is 90% silver.  The feedback has been that it is STRONG! I've heard a story of one tester hitting their finished pieces with a hammer and they haven't broken!  So this really is an exciting development.

The one concern I have at the moment is the hallmarking issue, but I'm sure there will be some ideas over the coming months about that.  Its just a shame we have to wait until October!!

So all in all, I am very jealous of the lovely time everyone seems to be having - and even more jealous when I think of all the shopping going on in the Vendors Hall!!!!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Masters Registry - I've finally started!

I've been registered since April 2009 and finally I've cut out my first pieces for a Masters Registry project!!

I decided quite a while ago that I wanted to theme each of my levels, so the theme for Level 1 is "wings".  I've decided on my first 10 projects, although I'm being fairly open minded about that and if inspiration hits for a different project I'll change it around!

So I've started working on A3 Syringe Project.  The idea for this project hit me quite quickly, so thought I'd go with that and strike while the iron is hot!  I need to "Make a pendant and matching earrings that demonstrate design and application skills that take advantage of syringe clay".

I'm going to keep my actual design a secret for now I think!  But so far, it seems to be going well, but thats probably because I haven't started the syringe detail yet!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

New Classes

I've been busy working on the new class schedule from September to December.  I don't particularly like this job!  I'd rather be teaching, than planning!!

I'm quite pleased with the way its come together though, and as well as having Fi carrying on with the chainmaille classes, I also have Louise joining me to teach tiara and fascinator making classes.  Here's a peek at the tiara she'll be teaching

I've also added a beginners PMC evening class.  It'll run over 6 weeks and we'll cover all the basics, make pendants, earrings and we'll also cover ring making. You can see more info and the dates on the website HERE