On Sunday Ruth and I zipped down to The Shepherdess for an impromptu attendance of a ring class using Bronze Clay. We have both worked with PMC or silver metal clay but not the new bronze. We met the task with mixed results.
we left all our work there for our sweet teacher to fire and return to us. hopefully, i will get them later this week. i'll be sure to post them when they arrive.
there were a couple of differences in the bronze clay from the silver clay. first of all, the texture is a bit more plastic upon removal from the package. silver clay tends to feel more wet and soft than the bronze clay. ruth had a bum package that was incredibly dry. she suffered with rehydrating it for a good part of the class. it was a new package but something was up with it. i got lucky and had a nice bit of clay so it came along a little easier for me. of course, don't think bum clay stopped ruth. she made a couple of awesome bracelets and rings. i can't wait to see them finished.
the other odd thing about bronze clay is that in order to keep it soft and pliable it needs to remain cold. even the heat from your hands stiffens the clay. we had a container of ice in the refrigerator and would periodically put our packages of clay back in to soften up. i would find myself walking to the hot plate to see if a piece was dry all the while nonchalantly kneading a small piece of clay in my hand. by the time i got back to the table it was dried out and stiff.
i really liked the finished look of the pieces our teacher had produced. they have an ancient aesthetic to them that appeals to me (imagine an old roman coin). and they come out of the kiln ready to go without a lot of polishing.
speaking of the kiln, that is something else that is different from silver clay. to fire the bronze clay you have to put your pieces in a closed stainless steel container surrounded by carbon. they need to be starved of oxygen in order to sinter without oxidation. i was very happy to leave my pieces behind for an expert to fire.
while the class was relaxing and just what i needed, one of the best parts of the day was getting to meed old friends and new friends for dinner.
becci, julie, and kecia had spent the weekend making mermaids with suzi blu
photo courtesy of julie (and our cool waitress)
speaking of julie, she's got an awesome on-line class coming up.
check it out here. enrollment begins TODAY!