Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Firing in the New Kiln

I did my first firing this evening in my new kiln!  I fired a silver metal clay piece that I worked for hours refining.  I first made the piece by rolling @ 10 grams of silver metal clay into a long snake.  Make sure you cover your work surface (I use a craft sheet by Ranger), your tools and your hands with olive oil first.  This will keep the clay from sticking to everything.  Once I had the snake rolled, I created the pattern and used a wet brush to smooth any cracks.  I used a slow dry Art Clay, but it will still dry so quick that it could crack as you bend it.  I allowed this to dry over night.  Then the tedious part starts…sanding.  I used mini files and 600 grit sand paper to refine the shape…which broke in 2 places!!!  So, I had to wet those areas and use clay paste to repair the pendant and let it dry for another 4 hours!!!  Then the sanding started again.  I estimate that I spent at least 2 hours just sanding this piece. 

This kiln is awesome!  I used a chart from Art Jewelry Magazine to set my firing and hold times.  I set the firing rate at Full since metal clay is not really sensitive to temperature changes like glass.  I set the temperature at 1292 degrees F. and the hold time at 15 minutes.  The raw piece is set on a fiber shelf  and put in the kiln.  I did not use 1” stilts under the shelf  to add in an even temp as this was one small piece.  Once the kiln started, I set an alarm temp of 1250 degrees to check the piece.  It fired perfectly.  The kiln showed the current temp as it heated and the alarm sounded at the correct temp.  Once the programmed temp was reached, the kiln began to display a count down of the hold time.  When it was complete, an alarm sounded and it began a display of the current temperature…very helpful especially since I opened the door to vent.  This prevented me from sticking my hand in there to test the temp and getting burn. 

The piece will be white once fired.  Once the piece cooled, I used a wire brush to clean the white powder.  This gives is a brushed look.  I then took a burnisher and shined up the piece before polishing with a jewelry polishing cloth.


1 comment:

di from di-did-it said...

That's one heckuva first piece ~ very impressive! After reading your post, I have an extra appreciation for this art medium. I don't think I have the patience for it, despite the beautiful results.