Friday, July 10, 2009

Bronze Metal Clay - The Journey continues - Clean and Tumble

The bronze metal clay journey continues. Today I'm posting a picture of the bronze charms after they've been tumble polished.

I just put them into a Lortone tumbler with some plastic pony beads (to bring the container up to at least a 1/4 full), stainless steel shot, a 1/2 cap of Woolite and water. The liquid should just be touching the bottom of the contents of the container - if it goes over, the contents won't polish.

If I want to finish the bronze now, it's alot harder than before it's been fired (sintered). So it's really really really important to take the time to clean and smooth your pieces before you fire them. I took alot of time smoothing these with a nail file. They're ready for a patina to highlight the stamp.

A few comments have said the readers might be trying out the bronze metal clay. Here are a few of the resources I read/watched before I put my hands in the mud so to speak:

I read Laura Bracken's exploits on bronze and copper metal clay. Go to her archives and read May's postings. I found her comments honest and open. Many of the blogs only show pieces after the blogger has perfected the techniques and say how much fun they've had. Bronze clay wasn't fun at first, it was frustrating and Laura's blog is a nice journey from frustration to success.

Laura took classes from Hadar. Although I had the already mixed bronze metal clay, I ended up kneading and wedging my clay wrapped in plastic wrap similiar to how she shows to mix her dry clay. After I use up the supply I have, I think I'm going to try Hadar's clay.

One thing I wanted but didn't find was a video I could play and follow along while I was first preparing the clay and working with it. There are videos but there is so much talking (sorry, no insult intended to anyone) and pausing that you can't work along with any of them.

So, I'm off to work on patina today and a few other things. Leave me a comment about the tips and/or your own experience with the bronze metal clay.


SummersStudio said...

The continuing adventure! Yep that bronze is tuff stuff coming out. I burnished my pieces before going into the kiln the second time I fired. It definitely improved the surface. Things actually came out quite shiny. Also Cool Tools has got some videos in their resource library. Thanks for keeping us posted. I'll let you know when I do another run of bronze.

angelinabeadalina said...

Thanks for sharing your tips, and for pointing out Laura's blog as a resource. It's great to see warts and all as someone tries a new thing. That kind of sharing is extremely helpful when starting something new-- kind of like experience in a bottle :)

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Yeah, it's crazy-makin'! Smile! "Burnish" that's the word I needed! I'm so used to not being able to touch my medium (hot glass) that I forget I can actually touch the clay! LOL! That's probably why I'm not very good at it!

I think I watched a CoolTools video and it was very chatty for me - good but I wanted a video for following along instead of watching.

Please keep us posted!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

You're welcome, Angela! That's what I loved about Laura's blog - it was a great straightforward commentary on how she was coming along with it.

Thanks for the comment!

TesoriTrovati said...

I am fascinated by all this metal clay business and wish I were set up (and had the time) to play with it. Thanks for being so transparent about your successes and your failures! They look very successful to me!
Enjoy the day!

rosebud101 said...

Cindy, thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us. Your final product is great!

Jennifer Cameron said...

I still have a package of bronze clay in the fridge that I have been too lazy to open. It means cleaning all my silver clay tools. I hate cleaning! But I really want to try this stuff. Yours turned out awesome!

Janey said...

I started following your blog lately, and this bronze metal clay is really fascinating... I hadn't seen this type of stuff before. Thanks for sharing!