Bronze Split Pea Soup

During our recent vacation week at the beach, I chose to, lazily, experiment with a couple of projects for the metal clay Masters Registry program even though I haven’t registered yet.  I’m now thinking a few more classes and experiences under the belt should be required.  It seems everything I made last week has flopped when it hit the kiln.  So, last week I made lentils; bronze lentils, copper lentils, silver lentils, round lentils, oval lentils, enough lentils  for lentil soup.  Although, I have made beautiful lentil beads and focal pieces in the past, it seems this project, with a thousand graduated lentils, wasn’t meant to happen right now.  My, oh so beautiful, copper lentils pancaked out after being fired.  The shape was nice, the texture beautiful, but no hollow lentil bead.  And these were a challenge because they were ovals.  I’m thinking that they collapsed because they were laying flat on the charcoal.  I just wish I had fired only one to begin with…two lessons learned!   So what can I do with flat, hollow, copper beads?   Push aside and move on.

Last night I fired my bronze lentils and tried only two in the first firing. (FFB, SC2, Fired @ 1550 for 2 hours.)  They kept their shape but one came out with a small crack.  They were quenched in water but not put in the pickle because I could tell by the “table thud” that they were not fully sintered.   Having worked a lot with bronze, I will often fire it two times.  Don’t know why but that works better and I get a lovely heat patina which I sometimes keep.   It also helps remove some of the oxidation.   So back into the fire box with a couple of new lentils.  The second load was fired using the same schedule, and when I took this load out and the beads being fired for the second time were lovely and sintered.  The new ones looked fine until I quenched them and they exploded!  Of course, I couldn’t believe that happened with the first one so I quenched the second one and it exploded, also.  My lentil saga!  I’m going back to the bench with more bronze, because they are ver lovely.  But first, I’m doing a little research to see what happened with the FF Bronze.

On a positive note, here are some success stories, I just can’t get more than one at a time!

Dragonfly Lentil

Dragonfly Bronze Lentil


Fine Silver Clay Lentil pendant, texture plates

Fine Silver lentil focal bead.

Deviled eggs?

While relaxing by the beach during our spring break, I’ve started to develop some of my ideas/designs that I’ve been planning for the Masters Registry project.  Even with my notebook full of plans, details all drawn out, I’m reminded of the snags and uh ohs you run into when you actually start a project. When details really matters, I prefer to start with a mockup version.  My first project is very time consuming but will be quite lovely if all goes well.  The mock up project will be in copper and the final project in fine silver.  Maybe, depends on how this turns out, copper can be gorgeous.  The project is a necklace made with graduated hollow beads, A7.  My first snag was not being prepared, I am not at home, with proper oval shapes for drying the beads.  I’ve picked up a deviled egg dish, it is Easter and they are everywhere.  This worked fine for the super large beads.  I tried  a grapefruit spoon, a teaspoon, and a soup spoon.  I have confidence they will turn out fine.  Today was roll and shape, tomorrow, form, file and carve and then pack away until I get home for firing.  In between, I’m trying out an idea for a sleeve container pendant,  A5.  Love being at the beach!image