Metal Clay and Enamel Gallery and Blog

January - Present 2010

January 1, 2010 Matt got me an enameling kit for my birthday. I can't wait to try it. I'm going to enamel the little curly q's on the copper lentil pendant that broke in half a month or so ago. 
January 2, 2010 I put the metal clay, enamel and pyrometer instruction booklets and leaflets in a binder. Now all that information is in one place where I can easily find it. 

I was very excited to fire my first batch of steel clay but when I tried to use my new thermocouple for the first time it did not work. The pyrometer flashed -25 degrees Celsius. It was cold outside where I fire the kiln but not that cold. I was very disappointed that I couldn't fire the steel. If I can't fire it tonight I won't be able to fire it until next weekend. After a while Matt put down his project (writing an article about our Alaska trip for the Horseless Carriage Gazette) and fixed the connection between the thermocouple and pyrometer. 

11:01 pm - Now that my kiln control is working, I have the first batch of steel clay in the kiln. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I also tried to program the kiln control so it can be set above 876 degrees Celsius. I know that control is capable of being set higher than that but I can't for the life of me make that happen. 

I also can't wait to fire the first enamel piece. This one won't be a brilliant work of art, it's more just an experiment.

3:30 am - I'm so tired. I can barely stay awake. Fortunately, the kiln is almost done firing. Then I'm off to bed.

January 3, 2010 12:30 pm - The steel clay pieces are out of the kiln. They held together. That is good news of course. Now there are copper pieces in the kiln. One of them is my thimble. When the kiln reaches the right temp I'll hold it for a couple minutes to fire my first enamel piece. When that is fired I'll continue ramping the temp for the copper. Crossing my fingers.

1:30 pm - The first enamel piece is out of the kiln. I have to wait for it to cool enough to polish it before I know if it turned out.

2:00 pm - The enameled piece cooled so I polished it. The colors are "muddy". I can see that one has red in it but it's not what I wanted. I can apply more color. I might have cooked it too long or it just might be the way the enamel appears on the copper. I don't know. I'll keep experimenting.

9:30 pm - The copper pieces finished firing and cooled off so I took them out of the kiln and sifted them out of the charcoal. The three discs turned out well but shrank way more than the steel disks they are going to be attached to. The thimble cracked all over. I may try to fix it or I may just start over. Also, the thimble didn't shrink nearly as much as the disks. The ring cracked all over. I'm nearly positive I'll just start that one all over again. 

When I tried to bend the large steel disk so it was slightly curved, it cracked and broke. This steel disk is also supposed to be attached to a copper disk. I think I can make this work still. 

We'll see what I end up with when I'm done salvaging this batch of stuff. 


May-December 2009 Metal Clay Gallery     Projects