Sunday, 10 January 2010

Count your Blesties!

I was commenting on a beautiful necklace on Joy Funnells blog when this came up in word verification...
Isn't it great when sometimes life has it's own rewards.....
Give a Little, Get a Little
& remember to notice when life sends you its little Blesties ;^)
Nic x

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Art Clay Copper - Firing & Polishing

Copper pieces all laid out ready for firing. The kiln needs to get to 970 degrees C. I used my enamelling fork to lift the pieces into the hot kiln. The temperature is held for 30 mins & you take them out HOT!
The pieces are dropped hot from the kiln into cold water. This was difficult as many of them were trying to stick to the fibre shelf. (Prying red hot bits of copper off a fibre shelf is not fun!)
Once pickled (which has left my pickle pot in a right mess) the pieces were tumbled in shot for 45mins. Very easy to see the copper in the steel shot (a pleasant change from trying to spot bits of silver).Dried & separated from the shot you can see a few bits of scale which I plan to take off with a burr. The scale seems to stick to straight pieces more than any other shape. The strips were very bendy, dead soft copper (the ones I rolled 4 cards and 6 cards thick).
I plan to hammer these to work harden them.
Some of the Finished pieces - Five Art Clay Rings (hmmm maybe I should make some calling birds next!). I've done a little smashing on my ring mandrel but plan to do some more ~ these definitely have possibilities...maybe the centre of some spinner rings?
The sizes they ended up were:
9 ended up an 8 (size P)
10- ended up a little over 9 (R1/4)
10 ended up 8 3/4 (almost R)
11 ended up 9 3/4 (approx S 1/2)
12 ended up 10 1/2 (little over U)
The 12 was done with the Red, 6 card, Rio slats and I prefer the result so would suggest using 6 card minimum.
Hope that helps & the end result is Art Clay Copper is well worth giving a try!
Nic xx

Friday, 1 January 2010

Art Clay Copper - Cutting, Ring Making & Finishing

Art Clay Copper cuts beautifully and doesn't stick to cutters. It's less sticky than the previous Bronze and Copper clays which combined with the easy texturing and quick firing makes it an ideal prospect for classes.For this testing process I've made five rings on sized mandrels. 12,11,10,10-,9
The clay stuck together well with an angled cut and water join but to be extra sure I gave it a smoosh (technical term there, lol) with the texture plate. This applied extra pressure to seal the join and helped disguise where it was.Hopefully if ACC becomes popular Aida will bring out an Art Clay Copper Syringe type.
When measured after drying the rings are about 1/2 size bigger (I use paper wraps) measuring
I shall measure them again after firing.
These some of the pieces made from a 50g pack. The pieces used a mix of the blue slats from Rio, 4 cards thick and the red, 6 cards thick slats.
Once dry I sanded and baby wiped the edges of the pieces. Art Clay Copper sands relatively easily & I found it less "dusty" in comparison to bronze clay. I made sure I wore a mask though as breathing in metal isn't clever!

Art Clay Copper - First Experiences!

Set everything up...1) Tools texture mats, board etc all clean, no silver clay to contaminate the copper clay
2) Cling Film and zip lock bag ready (to store clay while I'm using the bit I need)
3) Water to moisten and Baby Wipes
(Turns out you use LOTS of baby wipes as the stuffs messy)
4) Gloves in a bottle or barrier cream. (Just in case as you might be sensitive to copper and it likes to really coat your hands)
First ImpressionsIt's Orange!! A real orangutan, cuddles the monkey orange! (The picture above doesn't show quite how orange it is, but for someone who prefers the silver metals it's a bit of a shock!)
Straight out of the packet it splits at the edge when squished. I decided this meant it needed conditioning. So I flattened it, smeared a little water on and worked it in (much better).
Be careful when adding water as it goes into the sticky smooshy stage very quickly.
Using the Clay Once ConditionedArt Clay Copper is fabulous to roll and (once conditioned) not at all sticky. It also doesn't seem to dry as fast as silver clay does. I had plenty of time to roll the clay out with not a cracking edge in sight.
It also takes texture very well. I used cool slip on the texture mat and wiped off any excess prior to impressing the texture (the Orange on this pic is closer to true colour - did I mention how Orange it is yet? lol).
I moistened and worked any clay I wasn't using, wrapped it in cling film and put it in the zip lock bag.
Nic x
P.S More to follow ~ cutting, making rings and firing ACC pics soon ;)

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