Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010
New Year!


Sickness is about gone - at least I'm sleeping now. And I'm trying to make up for losing about 12 days at the end of 2009. Not a bad thing in 'life' but when it comes to 12 lost days for "real work" that's bad.

BUT as I attempt to do 'real' work on this gorgeous 46 degree, blue sky, Memphis Sunday I keep thinking about a problem child - no, not one of the boys... but a project I'm working on for loved ones.

Here are the problems...

~ Copper and Silver.
~ Prongs.
~ Shrinkage factor.
~ Possible sintering problems w/ copper.

I think the main part of my problem is jumping for joy that the copper was available for me to use w/ a torch. I thought I had thought out the process of putting this piece together but maybe only on paper.

I started with a polymer clay carving of the heart w/ mountains and created a mold from the 2-part molding material. Originally it was going to be all silver THEN copper clay came along. Ohhh the joy! The mountains in the piece I'm making were red rock and the copper would be stunning!

So I thought use the mountain part of the mold and fill w/ copper. Then add a "tack" with the copper to the back of the mountains and fire.

Once that was done I would make a mold "filler" w/ polymer clay to block the mountain space in the mold. Then fill it with silver to make the heart portion. I was going to make a hole in the silver heart, slice it and form it around the mountains and the "tack" so that when the silver was fired it would shrink down around the 'tack' (maybe I should just call it a post) thus attaching the copper to the silver.

Here's where the problem came in. I skipped steps - I know, I know! Don't skip steps til you know the steps work in the first place!

I was over excited by the copper - and had to make a mountain - it came out awesome - really, really pretty - but I didn't put the 'post/tack' on it. Then of course I had to try the silver... but because I didn't have the post I didn't make the hole. I thought hmmm I'll use bezel wire on the silver and hold the copper to it that way.

Well - that didn't work out - I forgot about the shrinkage factor. The heart shrunk away from the bezel. (I had put it around the base of the heart and it pulled away from the bezel as it fired.)

Then I put the two pieces - copper mountains and silver heart together and POOF the heart shrunk more than the mountain and now it's a whole lotta mountain.

OH and did I mention prongs above - well you won't see them in the silver piece (which actually looked better before I pulled the bezel off, in the pic above it's just setting at the bottom of the heart). In my frustration with the bezel issue I popped the prongs off figured they weren't on there right and ... hmmm that may have been correct. They snapped right off. (I had only done one set of prongs before and they were wires embedded in the piece, these were silver clay and may not have been secured down enough PLUS they were not yet hardened in the tumbler.) ANYWAY - the prongs were going to hold a piece of the red rock I picked up to go on the hearts.

Now, back to the copper canyons - because the mountains were not sitting correctly I tried to bend it down a little with plyers and PPPPPOOOOOOFFFF! It snapped off. Looking at the snapped area I think it didn't sinter 100% through.

But as I'm only partially sure I know that not being sintered correctly means in my terms - it wasn't cooked long enough. So, I'm posting pictures of what I think it's NOT supposed to look like in the hopes that one of my smart Art Clay Friends will tell me yes, indeed it is not sintered correctly and that they are good pictures of what not to do.

What to do?

Unfortunately I have to travel this week so I have a week to think about it and no time to do anything about it til the weekend.

Suggestions on what I did wrong? Or am I going it the right direction and need to follow the steps I originally laid out?

Things that make you go hmmmmmm....

(PS... it's now 37 degrees, overcast and I still have to do 'real' work.)

No comments:

Post a Comment