Signs of Spring in Northern New York
I have been enjoying the change in light and since my last Inside the Studio post. I love Daylight Savings time because it makes my studio day longer. Thanks to our cats, I am up earlier every day and because afternoons are so nice and long, we have put our dinner hour 1 1/2 hours later. All that extra time is just great for making art beads. I am totally enjoying all the transformations to the earth that Spring brings like melted snow, green leaves and warmer weather.
I thought this visit I would share some transformations in my work and show you some pieces I have been making in copper clay and sheet metal recently. Sometimes I think I like the process of making as much as the product. It is such a thrill to see the changes materials go through on the way to the finished bead, bracelet bar or toggle clasp. Take these toggle bars for example. They start off as wire on a roll
Then the wire is cut into pieces
Then they get annealed and formed into the toggle bar
And then they are patinaed with Liver of Sulfur
And rubbed with steel wool and tumbled and polished
And finally get paired up with a toggle clasp which also was transformed by patina.
Copper Clay also goes through many changes before the final art bead goes into the shop or into a piece of jewelry. I find each of these stages exciting and an important part of the creative process that continues to drive me back to the studio with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. Copper clay starts off as a lump of copper brown clay like material. After it is conditioned and formed into a shape it needs to be dried at which point it is a light reddish brown.
When copper clay is in this stage, it is very flexible and can be cut into a more desirable shape with scissors or an exacto knife. The edges can be smoothed with a wet sponge. Once it re-dries it is fired in a brick lined ceramic kiln (for best results) in a stainless steel container buried in a bed of coconut carbon. During the firing process the binder that is mixed in with the copper burns off and the pure copper metal remains.
These pieces are just out of the kiln and some of the carbon they are fired in is still sticking to them. Notice their dull surface. It takes a good spin in the tumbler to get that off.
Tumbled copper clay pendants Mary Harding
Tumbling can be the final step or a further transformation occurs when a liver of sulfur patina or a flame patina is used. I think this is my favorite transformation. But sadly, it is not always possible to get a good flame patina. Below, as my last example of transformations for this post, I have included a few pendants that were flamed with my torch with varying results.
Lilac Bloom Pendant Flame Patina Mary Harding
Rosemary Donut Flame Patina Mary Harding
Cedar Bough Donut Flame Patina Mary Harding
Carrots Liver of Sulfur Patina Mary Harding
Thank you for visiting with me in my studio today. I have enjoyed showing you some of the transformations that occur in my work space. Now comes my question for you:
What is one of the most rewarding/exciting transformations you find in the creating you do?
Tell us by leaving a comment below and you will be entered in a random draw to win one of my copper clay nature pendants from my Etsy store.