Saturday, October 30, 2010

an interesting proposal.....

one day a fellow artist in our building walked in with a pair of sandals with these little metal bees on them.  the sandals were much loved and worn out, but my friend wanted to keep the bees and was curious if i could design a piece of jewelry around them.  her first thought was just to put them on tie tack posts, and use them as scatter pins, but i proposed a copper leaf pin for the bumblers to sit on. i could bore tiny holes in the leaf so that the bees could be attached with the tie tac pins and worn as a broach with the leaf, or singly as scatter pins.  what do you think?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the end of a long journey

those of you who have been following the loooooong saga of the double dog portrait will be interested to know it is finally complete!  i thought for a while that i would have to abandon the copper altogether, and my client really wanted it in copper.  i don't have as much experience in copper, but i think i finally figured out what was causing it to pull itself apart during firing.  at first it pulled apart at the chins.  i fixed that by embedding a copper wire in the wet clay there, and that worked, but the image cracked elsewhere.  i researched online and experimented with making sure the clay was very dry before firing.  i fired it vertically in the charcoal, then horizontally.  then i tried higher and lower in the firing pan.  it made no difference.  after many tries.....and i mean many, i landed on the idea that perhaps it was the shape of the design.....that with so much clay at the bottom, and the ends barely touching at the top, it could be that the piece was pulling itself apart because the natural shrinkage would be more in one area than another.  so this time when i pushed the clay into the mold, i left the center filled.  low and behold...... that worked!  all i had to do was cut away the copper to restore it to my original design.  praise the lord and pass the whiskey!