Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mishaps, Experiments, and Semi Failures

Last weekend I did not have the kiln set up but I was anxious to play with fire and see how my leaves would turn out.  While getting ready and setting up my torch tripod, I knocked one of my leaves off and it shattered.  So, instead of trying to repair it's delicate form I decided to use the small pieces later, for embellishments.  Nothing goes to waste with silver clay!  The other leaf turned out fine!  I need to repair some cracks and bolster it up with some paste but I think it will do just fine after some tumbling.  I plan to melt down the bits of the broken leaf with a torch on a charcoal block.

The leaf looks pretty good!  It's scented geranium as I mentioned earlier.  It has a lot of detail!  You can see the hairline cracks that I will fix with some slip and refire.  It's a little over a half inch wide.

<--Pieces before sanding and finishing greenware.

Later that week, I decided to boldly go ahead with the kiln firing once it was installed in my studio and  I had 4 hours plus of undivided time to give it.  I monitored the heat with its dial. I didn't have a pyrometer to measure if the heat was accurate.  The results allowed me to conclude that the thermocouple on the borrowed kiln is faulty because the copprclay pieces turned to tiny little molten blobs.  Sure maybe a couple of them were too small, there is 20% shrinkage.  But they were ridiculously small and misshapen.  My reasoning is that the stuff is not too expensive to experiment with.  My bronze clay pieces are awaiting a trip to pouncing rain or a kiln with a digital timer.  I have also bought a package of art clay copper which is less risky but still has it idiosyncrasies.  I will also be using these for accent pieces!

Look at those sad little deformed creatures!!  I cleaned off a piece of the copper and a piece of the bronze.  Well, I'll say one thing, they sintered!!  There isn't any resemblance at all to their unfired selves!

The good news is that in the meantime I invested in a small programable Evenheat kiln.  A Studio Pro STP, I have made 4 pairs of copper disks for earrings.  I'll get those pictures posted in the next few days. I am very excited!!!!

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