Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb 7, 2010
Trial & Error and Lessons Learned

As I continue to try Art Clay Copper in the hopes of one day (soon) finishing the "problem child" project - aka Copper Canyons & Silver Heart - I worked on a piece this weekend I call "Pug Paws".

I created Polymer Clay clay "pug paw prints" one significantly smaller than the other and then made molds of these from 2-part molding compound. My goal was to make a small copper paw and attach it on a larger silver paw to signify two pugs.

I successfully made two of each. One (B in the pics) I partially dried (about 3/4 dry) the silver paw and then used thicker silver paste as a paste and "rivet" under and through the copper pug paw. (I had made a hole in the center of the copper paw before firing just for this purpose.) The other (A in the pics) I "smooshed" (technical term) the copper pug paw (also with a hole in the center) into the silver pug paw. I made sure that the silver came up through the hole in the copper paw and that it formed it's own rivet.

The only other difference between the two was that I put a rectangular 'artist mark' on the back of (B).

If I had been a betting person I would have put 90% of my money on the 'smooshed' (A) version and only 10% on the other (B). GOOD THING I DON'T BET!

(A) had a couple of issues... 1) the silver warped and cracked on the back and while writing this I now know why... as the silver shrank the copper kept it from shrinking evenly because of the copper being smooshed into it - DAH! Why didnt I think of that before RIGHT NOW? (Seriously I just thought of it now!!) My initial thought was that the rectangular 'artist mark' saved (B)... but now just seeing the picture of it firing in my head while I type I know that wasn't the case.

When (A) was put immediately into water to reduce the black fire scale on the copper the piece split apart - the silver rivet broke.

(B) had no issues that I could see. The rivet held, the silver shrunk perfectly because it wasn't impeded by the copper paw, and I just took it out of Silver Prep to remove the rest of the fire scale on the copper and it looks darn pretty!

I was going to ask my "Art Clay Friends" on Facebook to look at the pics and tell me why (A) had issues but I'm excited to say thanks to describing this to "all y'all" on the blog I know why.

Once (B) is dry, it will be polished - MAYBE tumbled - attached to a sterling silver chain and sent off to an unsuspecting recipient! I will post pics when completed!

Ta-Ta for now! :o)

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