Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cold hearted orb that rules the night.....

That's a line from a Moody Blues song...Friday night was not kind to me....metal clay wise.  Everyting that I touched was a disaster.  Saturday wasn't much different.  Did you ever have a day...or two like that? 

I have been playing with bracelets and keep breaking them prior to getting them into the kiln.  And it's not because they are too thin.  I rolled out a bracelet at 11 cards thick but as it dried it started cracking.  This is what I think is happening...as it dries, the clay shrinks about 5% and because of the weight of an 11 card thick bracelet, the clay itself is having had a hard time physically moving so it cracks to relieve the stress and allow the clay to move.  Plus it seems to dry out very quickly on the edges and remains wet in the middle.

So out of two bracelets on Friday night, I balled one back up and am trying to recondition the clay to make it useable.  The other I total shattered trying to sand it.  I couldn't overcome the cracks.  On Saturday I tried another one. Again...cracks...but I was able to remove them and on the final sanding of the interior of the bracelet I broke it in three pieces. 

So I thought...lemons...lemonade.  I fired all three pieces thinking I would rivet them together but again the clay Gods would not be appeased.  The size of the pieces were so different that they shrunk at different rates.  Putting these pieces together will take some thinking. 

I did manage to make three pieces that didn't totally flop.  Two of those were from a mold.  Hard to screw those up.

Hmmm...I think I'll do some drawing this week.
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6 comments:

Katie Hanrahan said...

Oh, drat! So sorry you're having troubles. What about making two thinner bracelets and riveting them together? Maybe you could email Barbara Becker Simon and ask her how she was able to do her bracelets without cracking. There may be some secret to getting it all to dry more evenly. Good luck!

Sophia Georgiopoulou said...

Gail,
I am so sorry. We have all been through this in a variety of forms.
While you were struggling with your bracelets, I was struggling with the pictures of my Pod Series Rings. On Sunday and today, I took about 230-250 takes, only to salvage 7-8.
On some days, the Gods, as you so wisely put it, will not be appeased.
No more pictures for me unitl this weekend!

Cris Leonard said...

Must have been the Gods. On Sunday I had a piece that I had worked on for an entire day, tear it's self apart in the kiln. Things were said, feelings were hurt.

Judy Phillips said...

Just a thought. I come from a ceramic clay background. In clay, if you just let a piece dry in the air or rush it in any way, then the outside will dry but the inside will not dry as quickly. SO there is stress, and cracking occurs. The solution, cover it and let it dry slowly, so that the inside has a change to catch up with the outside. Really I know nothing about metal clay except that you can get away with a lot of tricks that ceramic clay will not allow. Just a thought. I love your work and your article in Metal Clay Artist magazine was just perfect. However, I flunked texture sheets. Thanks, Judy

Gail said...

Thanks for the tip Judy!! I will try it next time.

Joan Tucker said...

I was going to write you the same clay based suggestion, wrap in plastic or take a little plastic box
and use it like a mini damp box; let the items dry much more slowly Joan Tucker