Coming Soon! Bronze XT – Part 2

Quite a few years ago a project of mine was published in Lapidary Journal showing how to make this quilt in silver clay.

Back then only silver clay was available, and things were simpler. The quilt was fired all assembled in one firing. In 2009, when copper and bronze clay became available, I published my third book, Mixed Metal Jewelry from Metal Clay, in which one of the projects (entitled “Quilt”) shows how to make a similar quilt in silver, copper, and bronze. The project involved firing the copper and bronze parts first, then adding the silver parts using a technique which I call “hot riveting,” then firing a second time. There was no way of firing silver and base metal clay all assembled in one firing.

Quilt

Even when steel clay became available, it was still impossible to make this quilt in 3 colors in just one firing, since bronze cannot be fired at the high temperature required for sintering steel clay.

Now that Bronze XT is almost available, it seems that things are starting to become simple again. I repeated the steps from the silver quilt with Quick-fire copper, Steel XT and Bronze XT.

Here are the steps:

1. Roll a layer of copper clay, 3 cards thick (copper should always be the backing layer). Cut it in the general shape of a square, about 2″ x 2″. To make it wavy, fill a plastic bag with carbon or rice, press it with your fingers to create “hills” and “valleys,” and lay the copper layer on top of it. Let it dry.

Copper on bag

2. Roll another layer of copper clay, 6 cards thick. Wet the backing layer only on the sides.

Backing layer wet

3. Lay the new copper layer on top of the backing layer.

New copper layer on backing

4. Cut the top layer to the shape of the backing layer, letting the dry clay lead your knife.

Cut to shape

5. Cut a smaller square inside the bigger one. Remove the smaller square. Since that part of the backing layer is dry, it should be easy to remove. Now you’ve created a frame for the quilt. Dry again.

Frame

6. With a pencil, divide the background layer into 9 more or less equal squares.

Background divided

7. Texture a layer of steel, 6 cards thick. Wet the top left square and lay the textured steel in it.

Top left

Steel in top left

8. Cut the steel into a square, following the pencil lines.

Cut steel

9. Use 2 more different textures for a steel square in the center of the circle and for one in the bottom right.

More squares

10. Fill 3 more squares with Bronze XT, squares all textured differently.

Bronze XT squares

11. Fill the rest of the squares with differently textured copper squares.

Copper squares

12. Dry the piece and sand smooth.

Dry and sand

13. Add a bail. I chose two vertical tubes on the right and left of the back of the piece.

Add bail

13. Pre-fire the piece on a stove top. Move it to the kiln and fire at 1700°F/926°C (brick); 1780°F/971°C muffle).

Quilt





The history of the “Collage Pendant” project

2007: Silver

Collage Pendant

2009: Copper and bronze

Collage, mixed metals

2012: Copper, Bronze XT, and steel

Collage


14 Responses to “Coming Soon! Bronze XT – Part 2”

  • Barbara Says:

    Very interesting to see the growth in the materials available and how the pieces differ. I’d like to read more about the finishing of the pieces when they come out from the kiln. Most authors seem to go light on that. Thank you for all your hard work, inspirations and now I realize thans to your good husband too! All the best wishes I can send your way!

  • Lucie Says:

    Really interesting!!! when will it be available? what a new world of possibilities !

  • Marlynda Says:

    What great results with the Bronze XT and the Steel. It is a great replacement for the silver. In the original Quilt, the various squares didn’t touch. You mentioned to us in Dallas that the new Bronze XT and the Copper would alloy more readily. Did you take care for the Bronze XT and the Copper not to have too much contact in the latest version of Quilt? Both metals look like they retained their identity.
    Thanks for this posting.
    Marlynda

  • Cindy Pope Says:

    Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I so appreciate this new product that gives us new options in combining metals.

    Warmest Regards,

    Cindy

  • Margaret Lakas Says:

    This is all so awsome! I am in awe of your ongoing research and dedication to new products. I am very new to metal clay and the history is so interesting. I can’t stop playing with it. I am having such fun. You are an inspiration for working through my “less than perfect outcomes”. Everything is a learning experience. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • Melody Pierson Says:

    Can’t wait for the bronze clay!

  • Tana Says:

    So excited to get this new bronze! I love the techniques I learned in your Tucson class this past January! I love being able to use different metals in the same piece and the contrast steel adds. I will for sure be making an order!

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Barbara, Anyone who has ever taken a class from me can tell you how much emphasis I put on finishing. It has been also published in videos and articles, but the most accessible sources would be my books. The first project in The handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms is the “Collage Pendant”, and it shows how to finish it from beginning to end.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Lucie, Hopefully within 2 weeks.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Marlynda, In the new version of the quilt I just arranged the colors the way I wanted. I didn’t deliberately avoid placing copper next to Bronze XT. The squares are very close, but they don’t really touch, so there is no alloying. The alloying happens in Married metals, where the transition from one metal to another is seamless.

  • Renee Lindquist Says:

    Thanks again Hadar for another great idea. I had an awsome time at the class in Dallas. Looking forword to the class after the first of the year.

  • Christy Miller Says:

    Hadar thanks so much for sharing this tutorial using your new xt clays I see PMC silver is going up too!

  • Thalia Says:

    Hi, Hadar: first of all, thank you SO much for being such a brilliant inspiration and for the phenomenal generosity you show by sharing all of your knowledge—without which, I could not be making the work I am making today! My question is: what kind of stone did you use in the 2009 version of the collage/quilt—& did you fire it in place? (I’m currently struggling to find natural stones that I can fire in place: they are so few are far between —is that the expression?—but that one is really lovely: almost like a wee paraiba!). Thanks!

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Thalia, What book do you refer to and what page number?

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