Sunday, November 28, 2010

Finished Bronze and Copper Clay Cane Beads

In this photo you can see me cutting my cane into beads. This cane was made with bronze and copper clay. I began with a copper snake in the center. Then I rolled out flat (3 cards thick) rectangles and wrapped it in bronze, copper, bronze, and ended with copper. To choose the size of the rectangles I eyeballed it and then cut strips to fix any mistakes; you can also stretch it a bit to make a bit too small piece work. I wet the out of my cane slightly with a paintbrush of tap water before applying each new layer to assure sintering.
Next I cut the cane, which I had gently shaped into a "rectangle" I cut it with the very thin blade I broke out of my husbands old razor (worked great!). I cut my beads a bit thick and then I smoosh them on the glass you see in the photo with my finger. To make rectangles I used another regular razor blade to accentuate the shape after I smooshed them (its all very scientific).

The above photo shows my  bone dry finished rectangular cane beads on the plate I took them to the kiln in. I fired them in a firing pan full of coconut shell carbon in my Paragon SC2 kiln (which I love).

Here are my round swirl cane beads. These are easier to make. Roll out two large rectangles (one of copper clay and one of bronze) at 3 cards thick, then take the card away from one side and gently thin your rectangles down at a gradual incline until it is as thin on one end as possible. Lightly wet one rectangle with a paintbrush and put the other exactly on top (it is nice if they are exactly the same size-but you can squish and add more as needed to make up for it). Then roll from the thin side and close with your top layer and a  bit more water. Your cane is ready to slice. See slicing directions above. These require less shaping as the cane is round and round is such a natural shape.

The two photos above are my finished work. I drilled the holes I wanted before I fired (easier!) and then I tumbled my finished beads. Some beads are put together with sterling silver rivets (I used my acetylene torch to melt the ends to create these. I got a lot of finished pieces out of the two 2-3 inch canes I made-this is a fun technique for making unique beads.