Saturday, September 4, 2010

taxing technology

yesterday, i spent quite a bit of time writing lots of informative stuff illustratined with  "8 x 10" glossies with circles and arrows" explaining my processes in attempting to do mixed metal inlay, only to post and find that 2/3 of what i had written had disappeared!.  lost in the ether.  arrrrgggghh!  at least i know, now, what i did, and won't do it again, but......X#?&X###!!!#@!!!!   oh, well!

to continue:  so far i've only been about 50% or 60% successful in my inlay efforts, but the process has been very interesting. while the 'termite run' inlays i previously posted, worked just fine fired at the schedule for bronze clay, the bigger pieces i tried next did not. in the picture in the post immediately preceeding this one, are two earring parts that were fired at the same time and constructed by rolling metal clay adventures bronze in to 2 card thicknesses, and cutting into cushion shape.  then roling again 2 cards thick cutting cushion shapes and cutting out a leaf pattern.  i spritzed the first set with water and lined up the second set on top, leaving me with a leaf shaped hole, backed with a two card thickness of bronze.  then i rolled out copper (metal clay adventures) two cards thick and rolled my leaf into the clay, cut around it and dropped it into my leaf shaped hole.  dried and fired both according to the bronze schedule and when i took them out of the charcoal, i realized that the bronze had fired, and the copper had not.  hmmmmmm......i said to myself, having just read hadar jacobson's blog on torch firing copper.....i wonder....i did not wonder for long as i got out my trusty torch and heated the first shape to red hot and held for six minutes, quenched, and viola!  perfect.  this is the leaf inlay you see in the front in the picture below.  success must have me giddy, as i immediately embarked on the second, did what i thought was the same thing and bubbled the bronze.  poop!  this is the less that perfect leaf inlay that you see behind the first,  in the picture below. it was an interesting lesson, however.  there was only one edge of the copper leaf that was blurred, and my conclusion was that if i filed off the bubbled bronze, i would have another perfect leaf .  wrongo!  the farther down i filed, the less of the original leaf showed.  the rest had obviously alloyed with the bronze.   never leaving well enough alone has been one of my major character flaws since childhood.    this is the results of my efforts:    
.....should have left well enough alone.   you can still see just a little of the copper at the top edge of the leaf and the stem, also a pretty big dent where i tried to file out a bubble.   once again, my favorite phrase has become...oh well.  BUT, now i know about alloying metals at high temperatures. 

No comments: