Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Peek into Production

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?

19 comments:

Alice said...

Beautiful!!! This looks like a lot of fun, AND a lot of work. How clever that you use hotplated to dry them.

Kristi Bowman said...

yummy yummy!! I'm the same way, I rarely do just a few pieces at a time. Usually when I sit down and get on a roll my 2 little cup warmers are over flowing and at some point I have to start shifting things off of it to make room for more. I often do an entire kiln load in one sitting. I also have a show coming up YIKES!!!

Kristi Bowman said...

Oh and I totally covet your Trilobite, I've been looking one to use for a mold looks like you got it!!! I guess I need to search some more.

Erin Keane said...

Those are awesome! I've always wondered what metal clay looked like before it was fired (I'm a bookbinder, not a jewelry artist). Fun!

I like to work both in large batches and individual pieces. I like to alternate between the two because my batchwork tends to be more "craft" and my single pieces tend to be more "art" so it gives me a nice right brain left brain balance.

Lisa Peters Russ said...

everything looks so wonderful staci! you have such a fantastic style!

Tejae: Heart Shaped Art said...

loved seeing your process!

I usually work on one piece at a time working on the process to make it most efficient.

Then I work in big batches. It's much more productive to work this way (for me). Each time I make notes on how to improve the steps.
:)

Lottie said...

Thank you so very much for the insitght - what a wonderful hobby. I do so wish that I had a kiln and the 'where with all' to have such a rewarding hobby/career such as yours. I love following your blog and so look forward to you posting.

TesoriTrovati said...

Very cool to see your process. Makes me value your pieces all the more. I work in small batches as that is most efficient. Plus I can only fit so much in the small oven at one time. I am working on a few batches right now, some for custom orders, some for February and even some for future months on my journey. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the day. Erin

Genea said...

I sure did! I am always excited to see your post when you make new things! I LOVE the new pieces! I didn't know that you had to tumble bronze to get it to anneal more. So interesting! I love that you made some smaller pieces as well. I think these will be great for designing :D xo Genea

Stacie said...

Wow, this is really cool to see how you do your processing...that bronze clay is looking more and more alluring!! Great job!

Suzette said...

Very cool pieces...thanks for sharing your journey!

stacilouise said...

Thanks guys! I know I always love to see what people are up to in their studio, I should have added what a bear it is to sand these buggers- you can't wet them- and they are usually thin- since they will be metal, they don't need to be real thick, so they break easy. there is usually a repair pile to the side from sanding casualties.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Incredible!

Linda said...

I enjoyed seeing your process, Staci. Thanks for sharing!

Ann Schroeder said...

Than you so much for sharing this process with great pictures! I love learning about artists' processes.

gelfling50 said...

Thank you so much for your amazing post...I have always wanted to try my hand at this but never have due to the fact that I would need to be able to do it very economically...As I have so much already invested in beading and designing...I feel I need to use what I have before I venture into another realm of this craft...It is a mental thing with me I think...lol...But one day I hope to try it but alas I have no kiln or the little hot plates or even the know how on where to start but I totally admire your expertise and think your work is fabtabulous..ty for sharing , bye for now and Happy beading

LoriF said...

Wow, what absolutely beautiful pieces, Stacie! I had no idea there was that much work to the metal clay.
Good luck at your show!

Sharyl said...

Honestly, this is one of the best blog posts I've ever read! Between your photos and text, I learned so much about something I knew little about! I love your designs too! You obviously have a gift for writing and art!

Thanks so much, Staci! --Sharyl

Kelli said...

LOVE this! Your work is beautiful. Bronze clay is still on my "to do list". Now that I have a kiln, I can, it 's just a matter of finding time to fit it in.

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