Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

How much to polish?

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/06/15

How much to polish is a recurrent question with my work, one that has been reappearing even more often since I started doing more work with different bronze formulas of metal clay.

I’ve been using that photo to promote some workshops I’ll be teaching later this summer (at both Mars Beads and Zelda’s for sure, but I can schedule a session in my studio too if you’d like). You may have noticed that I polished the “sandy border” around the circular one, but not on the rectangle.

In many cases with metal clay, and the various bronze formulas in particular, polishing is something that one can’t always decide for certain at the design stage. Sometimes you have to wait until a piece comes out of the kiln. So far, I have polished that one border the round piece in both the first and last photos with this post. (I also polished its “other” side.) And that decision was an easy one: it emerged from the kiln simply looking dark, so the polishing brightened it up, whereas the rectangular one just showed up with more interesting colors.

But the choice is not always that stark. I’ve made even more than those two. Here are a couple others I have on hand:

With those, I’m still debating: will I polish any other borders? Will I polish some of the interior sections? Should I let them age naturally, or put some sort of protective coating on them (knowing that any coating will not be permanent anyway, though some do last longer than others…)?

In the end, I’m sure I’ll end up doing some mix of all that. I just need to decide which area gets what treatment. (On, and, of course, all these pieces are my usual reversible designs, so the questions arise with the very different designs on their “other” sides too!)

But it’s part of why there is often no simple answer to the question, “How long did it take you to make that?”

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