01 October 2011

the further evolution of a new collection

Well, it's been a week of experimenting and learning with sore fingers, some near misses, some great successes and a disappointing failure.

I've figured out a fair amount in the steel metal clay world.  Interesting that the only pieces that didn't sinter properly were from my first traditional method firing ...

I was pretty excited about my raw ruby and sapphire focal pieces.  I thought they had fired just fine until I was really pressing down on them with my steel brush and then ... pop!  The ruby piece had already broken in half during the firing, but then it broke again while pressing down on it.  It's really interesting ... the outside is fired and polished, but you can easily see the core is not sintered at all.  Turns out the sapphire piece was the same.  Needless to say, after seeing this, I did some serious reefing on everything to make sure the pieces were fully sintered.

After that first firing, I found out about Hadar's updated faster firing schedule ... worked like a charm for all the other firings ... and there were at least 4 or 5.  I was also taking some liberties in how I loaded the fire box - no problems at all.  Big caveat here - I'm pretty sure this works because my kiln is larger and the fire box sits well within the kiln elements, back from the cooler front of the kiln.

My week's work - 150 grams of steel metal clay plus some regular BronzClay .......

Some of my favorite pieces are those cubes.  Unfortunately, there were problems with some of them.  I got the sides a bit thin and during the firing, they cracked and separated a bit.  I could have fixed them with more steel clay, but by then I'd used it all.  But necessity is a great source of creativity and  I remembered I had some first generation BronzClay in the refrigerator.  Okay, so I'm pretty sure I bought this clay before we left Port Townsend ... 3 years ago.  I brought it across the country, tightly wound in plastic wrap, in the cooler with Zoe's food, and it's been in the refrigerator ever since.  One little bit was kind of dried out, but the bigger chunk was in pretty good shape.  I took some small bits and filled in the cracks and reinforced the back sides and, lo and behold, if these aren't just some of my favorite pieces ...

I was really doubting the whole steel clay decision, but after seeing it with the bronze ... I don't know, there may be more steel clay in my future.  BTW, I fired this batch using the kitchen oven burnout phase - perfecto!  And that's the old bronze that is supposed to be nursed along through the firing.  You can see the other pieces I made at the same time in the terra cotta dish on the right.

Here's a couple of my favorite focal pieces of the steel ...

This is the biggest piece I made.  It's about 48 x 23mm.  The texture is from a fossilized turtle shell and a lot of smushing ... that's the technical term.

The pendant on the left is textured with that same turtle shell fossil and is about 34 x 20mm.

I've taken apart most of the fossil pieces I'd made a couple of weeks ago.  One thing I've found through my years of designing ... when I start working in a new direction, I'll make a bunch of pieces and then leave them be for a bit.  When I come back to them, more times than not, I end up taking them apart, starting over, re-working the concepts.

For me, that's the key to developing a cohesive collection ... edit, edit, edit ... re-think, re-work, re-configure.  Turn it sideways, what if I flipped it over, how would these components work this way rather than that way.  I'm really looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow ... a brand new day, a brand new  perspective, a brand new batch of exceptionally delicious components.  Oooh, boy howdy, fun fun fun!

And here's some musical icing on the cake ... today I was listening to a little bit of Fever Ray ... alternative, kind of punk, kind of like the direction of the new work ...

Back with more as the collection evolves ...

l i g a - kvk


  1. You're right, the steel cubes with the bronze are incredible! So longing to try Hadar's various clays.

  2. Thanks Claire! I'm still undecided about Hadar's clay. I think I'll see what sort of response I get to the steel pieces and go from there.


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