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Fired Clay Mini Demo

 

Start with a 12 inch tall galvanized pipe wrapped loosely with newspaper. A paper lunch sack is filled tightly with shredded paper and placed over the top - twisting and taping the bottom portion around the pipe.  Clay is added in sheets and smacked with a flat piece of wood to get rid of any air bubbles. The piece will NOT be cut in half and hollowed out later.

 

Next, add the remaining features. You can keep the head workable for several weeks by misting it from time to time with a spray bottle of water. Keep the head wrapped with a damp towel then tightly sealed with a plastic bag while you're not working on it. Check proportions and rework until the rough in is complete, then refine to your satisfaction. When the piece is leather hard, you can continue to carve more precise details into the piece, but you should not add any additional fresh clay.

The head is then steam dried in an oven bag with a few holes poked in it. This can either be done by placing it in an oven at 170 degrees for several days, or place it (in the bag) outside in the direct sun for a week or two, depending on the temperature.

When completely dry, the piece is slowly fired in an electric kiln to about 2000 degrees and allowed to cool completely before removal. This process takes about 3 days. If the piece were to be glazed, I would spray the glaze with an air gun and fire the bust a second time. I'll be applying a metallic bronze finish on this one.

Just out of the kiln without a single crack. My helper is in the background.  

For this patina, I have added two coats of Ron Young patina, bronze liquid metal. This is bronze, but I could also have used pewter, brass, copper, mauve, iron, or silver.

Next, several coats of mahogany and light green acid patinas are applied to the wet metal coating. 

Optionally, the piece is buffed to a sheen with a dremmel tool to give the appearance of real bronze.

 

 

A layer of clear wax (you can use colored wax instead) is applied to seal the patina and then buffed with a soft cloth. It is then mounted on its base and there you have it...

 

 

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