Convergent Series

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

Posts Tagged ‘color’

Who knew?! Colors, polishing, etc.

Posted by C Scheftic on 2013/11/12

Back in August, I wrote about one of a series of “pillow” beads I’d made using Hadar’s Quick Fire Bronze powder. In particular, I ended the post with a photo of the amazing colors the kiln provided that time, and a comment that I knew they were somewhat ephemeral.

Well, yes, after only a short time (and despite having tried to “protect” them with several layers of acryllic spray), they became rather dull. Still there, but no longer jump-out-at-you vivid. So I proceeded to do some polishing (moderately aggressively in the center-design area, and more gently around the edges) and then re-coated everything. This provided pieces with clearer bronze-yellow center-designs, while still maintaining a trace of the kiln-colors around the edges. I didn’t really think the vivid colors would last, but the subtle ones shown here have remained much more stable ever since. I’m pleased with these results.

The thing that did surprise me, however, was something that had not been at all obvious with the vivid coloring, but did jump out at me (peering closely through my bifocal safety glasses for magnification as I worked): my straight pencil-lead “registration” marks — ones that I’ve come to use often (to align parts or holes or … ) on silver clay that is fired in regular air — do not simply burn off when you bury bronze in activated carbon during firing. Who knew?! Did you? It was a surprise to me, so I thought I’d share it with y’all.

If you want to give your piece a bright, shiny polish, it’s very easy to grind (sand) the marks off. (I did that with another piece, just to be sure, though I didn’t think to grab a before-photo to use here.) But I didn’t want to do that with the pieces shown above, especially not to the one towards the right (on a brass chain). I liked its aged, colored look. So I’m just leaving the straight-line mark. I showed the piece to a number of people (metal clay artists and otherwise) and, in person, it didn’t seem to jump out to anyone (until I pointed it out to them). I’m now just calling it a part of this piece’s design.

These are now ready to go off for holiday-season sales. I hope they find good homes!

Posted in General Techniques, Technical Details | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Speaking of color, again….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/12/02

Several posts ago, I mentioned that I was thinking of polishing this piece up, more than anything to see just what color the “rose bronze” would turn out to be. As a quick reminder: that’s the only metal I used in the construction of this bead.

The other reason, of course, is that any such patina-color (whether produced by heat, chemicals, or any other method) is still somewhat ephemeral. Since I’d been undecided about polishing it, I hadn’t applied any sort of coating in an attempt to hold the coloring a while longer, and the colors on this rose bronze had darkened noticeably after only a very few weeks, until it was much darker than shown here.

So I had a go at it with some of my favorite little 3M radial bristle disks. I think it shined up nicely!

I should probably also note that one advantage of a nicely polished surface is the way that finish is relatively easy for anyone to maintain over time.

And, I admit, I didn’t go “all the way” with that polishing here either, because I was hoping to keep just a hint of the rainbow-colors that the kiln-firing had produced. And, so far at least, that hint is still there; along the edge of the folds of the layered side, and along the left edge of the side with the coils. Hooray!

Time to send it off to a holiday show, and hope it can find a happy new home with someone who will take delight in wearing it.

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Speaking of metal-colors

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/11/30

Writing my last post got me thinking about metal-colors, so I thought I’d post a few more pictures.

The first photo, at the right, shows a piece with alternating strips of copper and bronze. (In two places, there’s a mixed-metal layer sandwiched in there too, where I used clay containing small, leftover scraps of copper and bronze kneaded together: can you spot them? Click the photo if you want a larger image.) The piece was polished pretty well although, given the tools I have available, the only way I know to get it super-shiny would have also obliterated the slight waves between the layers, so I made a choice when to stop. I wanted to leave a bit of the natural variations between the alternating strips, and I’m happy with the slight satin finish overall.

After a good polishing, it’s almost impossible to distinguish the different metals. So I then used a product called Baldwin’s Patina to bring back the contrast between the polished metals. The copper should continue to darken, very slowly; the bronze may eventually age a bit too, but that should happen even more gradually.

The second photo, left, shows an all-copper piece I made several weeks later, another one of my “draped metal” designs. Can you tell I’m having fun with these?! It’s especially delightful when I work with Hadar’s copper clay, since that one has a texture that feels almost like silk: soft and luxurious to work with!

The draped portion has a very light, random, texture (from sandpaper). After being fired, it was given a light polishing (with those 3M radial bristle disks I’ve mentioned in some previous posts), and then left to age naturally (much as a copper penny will darken over time). At this point, the shiny ball elements do seem ever so slightly paler than the textured area. Overall, however, the piece has darkened more (more quickly) than has the smoother, patina-treated piece shown above. Go figure….

Posted in General Techniques | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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