My First Huge Piece in Bronze and Copper Clay

This piece is approximately 4″ x 4″ and weighs 8 ounces. I wanted to make a pieces as big as I can fit in the firing box. My purpose was to see if it’s possible to fire big sculptural pieces form base metal clay, and also to put my firing schedule to a test.

It is constructed out of five layers of bronze and copper clay. The stone – a natural sapphire – was fired in place.

I laid the piece high in the box and covered it with carbon. Did not use a lid for the first phase.

This is how it looked straight out of the box, after the second phase:

It was a shame to clean it up, but I did it anyway. It took about 6 hours to sand the front, and I still haven’t touched the back. That is a project for another day.


19 Responses to “My First Huge Piece in Bronze and Copper Clay”

  • Fired Silver Says:

    LOVE IT! Had been thinking about doing some artwork with the bronze and copper, so this has inspired me – although I’m always inspired when I read your blog! Rebecca x

  • Catherine Witherell Says:

    Wow! That IS BIG! It really turned out nicely too.

  • Lynda Says:

    Wow, this is absolutely gorgeous!! I love your work!!

  • Maggie Bergman Says:

    Fantastic Hadar! 6 Hours sanding…. one side!!!
    What an effort! Thank you for all your advice and sharing, it is much appreciated!

  • maureen Says:

    That patina right out of the kiln was beautiful. It would have looked lovely just the way it was.

  • Sarah Triton Says:

    Simply fabulous,Hadar!Am I understanding correctly that you sanded AFTER the 1st firing?The only area I can tell something changed was the joint line between the wall and ceiling. Did you have to sand with power tools or emery?

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    I never touch it after the first firing. I just let it cool, added carbon, closed the box and went on to the second firing. The walls, ceiling and floor had to be sanded smooth, otherwise the contrast between the copper and bronze would’t show. I sanded with the flexshat, starting with 80 grit, then 120, 220, and 400. It took so long because the metal was so hard. Then I applied Baldwin’s Patina, which brought up the contrast.

  • Julie Sang Says:

    Your work is always so inspirational. This piece is just amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and time.

  • Nancy Roeters Says:

    Wow Hadar, really awesome as always . Thank you for sharing .

  • Angela Says:

    That would make some pendant ;o) Gorgeous, as usual ! And *very* big, wow ! Interesting about its size and the space it takes up in the box, too. Love those colors out of the box.

  • Donna Lewis Says:

    Hadar, this is great! I did try the bronze clay to add to a stainless martini glass for art of the martini to give it a kind of colorful burlap wrap effect. It is close to 6 inches tall and had to be fired in two pieces, but in the same sink. Turned out great! Im so happy to see you working with larger sizes.
    Again thank you so much for sharing so much information with all of us.

    The “out of the box” patina on this piece gives me a couple ideas on some artwork.

  • Tamara Culp Says:

    Hadar how thick is the piece? I have always wanted to do a series of pendants and rings that sit in sculptural bases but the cost of the silver was prohibitive. I’m excited to try the copper and bronze for my bases. Looks like I need to buy some power tools!

  • Marsha Melone Says:

    How much did the piece warp during drying? during firing? Did you dry each layer before adding a new one? or did you add them while they were wet? I ask because I am having trouble with warping.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    With bronze and copper clay, unlike with silver clay, you need to dry each layer before adding the next. If you don’t, after firing there will be cracking on the back layer.

    The clay warps a lot while drying, even if you let it dry in the air. This is because most of the shrinkage occurs while drying. I watch it as it starts drying, and as soon as it starts to warp I flip it over. It soon starts warping in the other direction and I flip it over again. It all happens very fast and at a certain point it stops warping. If you don’t want to watch it just tape it to the surface as soon as it starts drying.

  • Judy Pagnusat Says:

    Hadar your piece is beautiful as your work always is. I loved the patina right out of the firing. Could you have saved it if you weren’t trying the gain the contrast between the copper & bronze? Thanks for you curiosity and sharing.

  • Kenji Says:

    Great work Hadar! I’m always so inspired by your artwork pieces. And this is a big one! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • kim Says:

    WOW!!!

    Did your ‘usual’ firing schedule work? I notice that ‘regular’ bronze clay has firing times that differ by thickness.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Hi Kim,

    I used the firing schedule that is posted on my blog and instructions manual. I don’t have different firing times for different thicknesses. I did extend the first phase by 30 minutes to make sure the binder is all burnt.

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