Monday, August 30, 2010

Surprise !!!!

I celebrated my birthday this past Saturday and my wonderful husband SURPRISED me when I woke up and  I went to check my email at my studio.
He cleaned up my studio while I was sleeping !!!
I had been complaining about my HUGE mess in my studio for a while and even thought I tried to clean up, I was overwhelm by my mess that I did not know where to start.
The last time I tried to clean up, end up being a party time for me ;-). I decided to put some Latin Music and instead of cleaning I was dancing and singing! ;-)

I did not have any space(almost) in these tables before! 
Now I am ready to MESS IT UP AGAIN !!

THANK YOU my love !!!! You are the best !!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Victory !!!

Yesterday I took the challenge to fire two big and heavy rings made with FastFire BRONZclay.
Because of past experiences and testings with this clay, my firing schedule this time was different.

I programed my kiln for fast ramp up to 1550F and hold it there for 3 hours.
As you can see in the picture, the total firing time was 3:27.
I let the kiln cool down to 250F and took the pieces out of the pot.
I always do this part of the process very carefully because I do not want to break any pieces that may not have sintered. 

As I suspected, only the small pieces (faces) sintered perfectly and my two big rings did not. I noticed the difference in the shrinkage.
I was not disappointed because I was expecting this to happen. 
Sometimes when I put big pieces with smaller ones in the same pot, the bigger ones do not sinter. I always question why this was happening and Yesterday the wonderful artist Hadar Jacobson talked about this issue in her blog. I will do what she suggested and see how that works for me.

For the second firing of the rings I decided to change the holding time only for 2:30 instead of three hours. 
The firing time was 2:57 minutes in total.

This time the two rings were perfectly sintered, with no problems at all.

 This ring was the one that I thought will have a bigger risk of not being a successful firing, because the top part of the ring has a lot of clay and it is very heavy.  

 I am happy with this ring, but next time I will think of a better way to use less clay on the top.
It is a heavy ring to wear, but I can manage it !!! ;-)

 This ring was very fun to make and I love the way it ended up looking. 

The band is very wide but it is comfortable to wear.

One thing I noticed too is that I do not need to go 3 numbers up in the size of the ring. 
If I add only 2.5 sizes up it will be a good fit after the shrinkage.

 "The most essential factor is persistence- the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by discouragement that must inevitable come."  
~ James Whitcomb Riley

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is a TEST

This is only a TEST !! ;-)

I have been playing a lot with the new FastFire BRONZclay and Yesterday I got the crazy idea to create rings with this clay.

I know I could have made some simple designs for my test but I just can not go simple!! ;-) I love big, detail pieces and that is what I did.

The shrinkage in this type of clay is bigger than the silver clay, because of this I made the rings 3 sizes bigger instead of 2 that I usually do with silver. 

During the construction of this ring, I had a few challenges.
This type of clay is very smooth and when I work with it in its fresh stage, it is very difficult to build walls. I managed to work with it and at the end the structure of the ring was good.

Hand sculpting the flowers was very easy. 
I really enjoyed this part of the creation because everything went very smooth.
The ring end up being heavier than I usually do when I make rings, and I think this can be a big challenge to get the whole piece to sinter completely.

For my second ring I went a little more simpler, well I think.
I used a mold I made with my original casting face I have in sterling. 
After the face was dry and I carved the crown around it, I attached it to my carved  ring band.

At this moment my rings are being fire in the kiln.
I am crossing my fingers that they will come out in good condition.
We will see........

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. 
Art is knowing which ones to keep."  
~ Scott Adams

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PMC Conference 2010 (photo collages)

This year I went to the PMC Conference 2010 for the first time. I was very lucky to have a great travel companion during this wonderful experience. Thank You Vickie Hallmark ! I enjoyed traveling with you.

Everything was wonderful but the best part was to be able to meet a lot of my cyber friends in person. 

I was so happy and I talked a lot with everybody that I always forgot to take pictures. Some of this images are mine but the majority are from other wonderful metal clay artist that shared them with us in Facebook.

Gifts from Purdue

During my trip to the PMC Conference in Purdue, I was fortunate to receive these beautiful pieces of jewelry from very amazing artists.

Thank you to Lora Hart, Lois Inman Engle and Trish A. Jeffers-Zeh for sharing your beautiful art with me.

Lora Hart

Lora Hart

Lois Inman Engle

Trish A. Jeffers-Zeh

Love all of them and I wear them with a lot of love!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

FastFire BRONZclay

Metal Adventures has a new metal clay called FastFire BRONZclay, as its name says, this new type of bronze clay fires faster than the original BRONZclay.

I am very happy about this new product because it will cut out more than 6 hours of firing time in the kiln.
As any new product, we all need to learn the way this beautiful clay works .

When I opened the package of this new clay I noticed that the color is lighter than the original BRONZclay.
The texture feels very grainy, like wet compacted sand. 
It is not as messy as the other clay, and does not dry very fast when you are working with it.
Making joins is faster and the clay is smoother, which I like a lot!

These are the pieces I made with this wonderful new clay:

My first piece is a heart, of course!! ;-).

The clay was very easy to roll and cut. When I put the piece to dry in my candle warmer, it dried very fast. I did notice I had to be more careful handling the dry piece, because it is more fragile than the original bronze clay when it is dry.

When my heart's base was dry, I started to carve it and the carving in this type of clay needs to be more gentle because it goes very smooth into the clay. 
I fired this piece full ramp up to 1525 F and hold it there for 2 and 1/2 hours. The piece was in a stainless steel pot with coconut charcoal.

When my piece came out it look very matte, and when I was burnishing the heart, I broke it!
Breaking the piece does not mean the clay is not good, what it means is that I may have to increase my temperature during the firing. Remember, this is a NEW product and we are all learning with it and it makes the process more interesting.
After repairing my heart I fired it in the kiln again but this time I increased the temperature up to 1550 F and hold it there for 2 hours. This time, as you can see in the photo, my heart did sinter perfectly, and my repair worked very good.

This Heart Nicho was fired two times because I wanted to see if the fired piece could handle another firing without blistering. The piece was fine after the two rounds of firing.
First firing
Second firing

With my last piece, I wanted to see how a more sculptural form will behave during the firing, I also added a CZ garnet and two bronze eyelets. 
This piece was fired at full ramp up to 1550 F and hold it there for 2 hours.

My "Virgen de Guadalupe" fired perfecly.

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