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


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