Bracelet with COPPRclay™ and BRONZclay™
-- Designer --
Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Designer and Educator, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®To learn more about Tammy Honaman, read her jewelry artist success story here
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The design of the bracelet is based off of simple links. Rolling out clay and then forming the links is a little tricky as the clay doesn't like to be told what to do. Take your time, practice and soon you will have more links than you'll know what to do with.
Squiggle Chain Links and Charms
Combining Bronze and CopperWhen combining bronze and copper, there are a few guidelines which are best to follow for successful designs.
When creating designs like the "giraffe charm," it is best to use bronze as the base and fill in recesses or design areas with copper. This is due to the higher shrinkage rate of the bronze clay.
In this case, the shrinkage tends to equalize even though copper has a lower shrinkage rate than bronze.
When creating a design with a backing layer where the two different clays are stacked on top of each other, it is best to start with copper as bronze has a tendency to warp, which would cause the design to not turn out well.
Circles and Waves Charm
View instructions on creating drum beads.
Firing Bronze and CopperBronze and copper metal clays must be fired in an oxygen-free environment in a kiln to achieve a proper sinter. Things to note:
- Everyone's kiln will yield different results. Results from firing to firing within your own kiln may vary.
- It is best to test your kiln by firing copper and bronze test pieces, prior to firing the work you have spent time on, to determine what firing schedule works for your kiln.
- It is advisable to place a test piece in each firing. Try to bend and break the test pieces after firing. If they do bend or break, refire the whole pan then test the test pieces again once the cycle is complete.
- It is best to fire the copper and bronze metal clay pieces as high up in the chamber of the kiln as possible.
- Raise the pan inside the kiln by placing it onto stacks of pieces of kiln shelves or kiln feet.
- There are various firing schedules being used. Hadar Jacobson's firing schedule has worked well with my kiln, which is a front loader with a thermocouple located in the back wall, like the Paragon kiln, and has a programmable controller.
- A stainless steel pan and carbon or coconut charcoal are ideal tools for creating an oxygen-free environment. You should wear a mask when working with the charcoal to avoid inhaling the fine particles and dust.
Place the lid on top.
Ramp up at full speed to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit and hold for 3 hours. (If bronze clay blisters at this temperature, lower the kiln to around 1520 degrees.)
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads is proud to feature your artwork, and we invite you to submit images of your favorite projects to the Customer photographs section. Here's how you can be included:
- Email your name and attached image to email@example.com
- Please describe your project (ie: necklace, bracelet, home décor) and include the main components of your design, if known.
- If you've named your piece, please let us know!
- Photos should be a minimum of 500x500 pixels (or 6.94 inches)
- To best showcase your artwork, place dark designs on a light background and light artwork on a dark background.
- For additional photography tips, click here.