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Prometheus, the Golden Boy of Clay

Prometheus Clay is manufactured in Turkey, and until just recently, wasn’t sold in the US, although it has been around for a few years.  The golden boy of clay has come home!

It comes in bronze and copper, both of which can be torch fired or kiln fired, with or without the charcoal.  I love bronze but I do not love the mess that comes with the charcoal needed to fire it so I am very excited to have a chance to test with Prometheus.

My first piece was a bronze oval medallion, rolled to a 4 card thickness and textured with a pretty deep texture sheet, making it closer to 3 or 2 cards thick in places.  The oval was then cut along with two smaller ovals on each end.

imageThis was kiln fired directly on a mesh wire at 1500°, a FULL ramp and HOLD for 20 minutes.  The piece came out of the kiln warped and a bit distorted, along with a break.  Immediately after firing, it was quenched in water which removed most of the fire scale.  The break was on the narrow strip between one of the smaller ovals and the outer edge.  I will assume, at this point, the break happened because it shrank and pulled apart at a weak place in the clay.  After quenching, it was still “pink” so before going in the pickle, I chose to use my brass brush.  It cleaned up beautifully, giving the piece a nice antique bronze color.  I put my leather mallet to it and was able to flatten out the piece.  Nice job!   With the exception of the break and warping, I am very pleased with this piece.   I know, the break ruined it, but it was the first firing.

The second attempt was the same oval shape, along with small holes on the ends and a little further in from the outer edge.  This piece was rolled to a 4 card thickness, thinking this would deter the warping.  After a bit of research, I discovered others had determined the high temperature could cause the warp.  Also, I wanted to experiment with another firing technique, the wrapped method.  I wrapped the piece three times in a paper towel, embedded it in a firing blanket and carefully pinched the edges together to prevent any air from hitting it.  I placed in a cold kiln,with a fast ramp to 1500, held for 30 minutes, this piece was bigger and thicker.  Once again, quenching as soon as it is removed from the kiln, and while it is very, very hot (be careful) and all of the fire scale popped off.  Still pink and a much smaller amount of warping, which straightened out with the leather mallet.  I think I’m on to something!  Of course, the brass brushing is a must if you expect to see that beautiful bronze, golden color.

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Oh,  and did I say that the price of Prometheus clay is a lot less than the cost of Fine Silver?  Yeah, I can afford to play and experiment with this.

This morning, I did a third firing with three different pieces.  Using the same firing technique, well,  it has worked so far, but used three difference thicknesses,  a lower temperature, and a longer fire time.  I fired these at 1450°, preheated, Full ramp and HOLD for 40 minutes.m

imageOK, call me dumb, but I decided to put a CZ in a quarter sized round disc which was very thin at a 3 card roll with added texture, so it was really 2 cards thick in places.  The second piece was a four card roll with a molded imprint of a sage leaf, yielding a pretty thick piece, and the third a smaller oval, 2 card rolled piece with a mold imprint.

The round disc ruffled from the heat and the CZ melted – pretty neat but not so pretty.  The small oval with the imprint, remained flat but blistered.

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And the larger piece, with a four card thickness was perfect!  Unfortunately, I fell asleep during the firing  and when I pulled the pieces from the kiln, they had cooled so the fire scale did not come off.  These had to be pickled, which did the trick but left the pink residue.  After, a bath in the Super Pickle, and a good brass brushing, the bronze color returned.

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