It's about time for a little update on my copper and bronze experiments. I've been focusing primarily on copper, as I much prefer the colour. I'm sure most of you know by now my love for all things copper ;-)
Turns out the problems we were having with firing were primarily due to the kiln. I'm now firing with a Paragon Firefly, and a Paragon SC2 - both are dream kilns! I've had no problems at all using either kiln.
The ash in the kiln is still an issue - see pics below. That said, it really isn't all that hard to clean, but beadmakers - make sure it's cleaned thoroughly before sticking your beads in there.
You'll notice that the lid of the firing chamber is warped, which is most likely why the charcoal is flying out. However, the heat from the kiln will cause the stainless container to warp. I doubt there is anything at all you can do about that.
Also, I just found out that charcoal is only good for about 12 firings, after which you'll need to replace it. Of course, those of you who read directions unlike myself, probably know this already :-)
I thought I'd show you a picture of the shrinkage - which is really quite substantial!
The bigger piece has not yet been fired, and the smaller one has been fired, and gently tumbled (only about 20 minutes before I decided to take the pics). Also, the fired heart has a second smaller heart fused on top - ignore that. It's the base heart we want to compare.
I've mainly been focusing on making components out of the copper (simple components that will be assembled into more complex pieces). The raised hearts, along with dog tags, and other shapes are going to be used as a base for collage and resin. You can buy premade pieces like this, but they all seemed a little boring - and having something completely handmade is a lot more fun!
I've also been playing with making little beads, and weights for chains and necklaces. More worry beads, and the like:
I'll be sure to post more once I start on some more complex pieces. Next up, I'm going to experiment with making nice big, chunky, copper chain.