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!