Well, it's that time of year for me, the time of year when I crunch to have enough stock for the Berks Bead Bazaar in 6 weeks. As of last weekend, I had nothing to sell. I still don't have anything sell ready, but my beads are underway. So I thought I'd give you a peek into the madness, I mean, production.
I also have lots of new designs, including some toggle clasps!!! I made my Moon Babies smaller this year, and shrank down some other designs as well, because sometimes they need to be the accent and not the focal. So without further ado, here is the photo journey of bronze beads.
Bronze clay freshly molded, still damp
Then they go onto the hot plates....when I go into high production, two is not enough! (I am not patient at all)
Next they get sanded with a soft sanding pad to smooth the edges, and holes get drilled at this point
Then they go onto a tray .
After that, they are fired in the kiln.
This is what they look like out of the kiln, with a light brass brushing under water to clean the carbon off.
You can see the finish is kinda matte- that's because the particles are not compressed yet. The bronze is very porous at this stage. To make it shiny and add strength, I put it into the tumbler with steel shot for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the finish I want.
Looking into the tumbler when they are done polishing.
All shined up and ready for patina or a liver of sulfur bath.
The bunnies are new- and I plan to use ball head pins, balled on both sides, to rivet them to a backing. I will hopefully have that to show one of these Mondays!
Here are some more of my new designs before they are cleaned up.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into the process of bronze mass production. I really enjoy working this way- in batches! I get into a nice groove and just go with it.
What about you? Do like to work in big batches, or small / single projects?