Silver coloured bronze (or white bronze) is particularly difficult to fire, or my kiln has problems and the temperature is not even. Besides, this bronze does not have a very wide firing temperature range
When it overheats , the bronze starts to melt and the result is mostly a ball of metal . But every now and then some of the metal starts to bead up which gives a very interesting look. These near misses become really unique pieces that I keep and sell of course.
I have tried in vain to reproduce the phenomenon but it depends on the space in the kiln, the number of pieces firing, the location high up in the charcoal containers and I have had dozens of pieces lost for 1 or 2 such pieces.Besides, impossible to get this effect with yellow bronze or copper. 😀
This technique of metallurgy by sintering. has been used since the 19th century (perhaps earlier but I have not found anything about it) to make titanium wire. The yellow bronze, bronze gold color, is made of 90% copper and 10% tin, the white bronze, silver color, is made of 80% copper and 20% tin. It all starts with metal dust ……. to 90 parts of this bronze or copper powder we add 10 parts of a cellulose binder (in the 19th century maizena. I add distilled water and I obtain a malleable paste resembling pottery clay and which can be worked in the same way. I can then model it, stamp it, mold it…
Then I let it dry gently, 1 to 2 days to avoid cracking , the pieces become very hard. I can then sculpt them, engrave them, sand them, chisel them, pre-polish them,
Then a first firing takes place at 350°C in an oxidizing atmosphere, that is, in the presence of oxygen (from the air) in order to burn the binder that would prevent sintering. The parts then become anthracite gray and are very fragile
The metal pieces are placed in containers , buried in charcoal. This creates an atmosphere known as “reducing” and the metal is fired away from oxygen , at 830°C for yellow bronze, 740°C for white bronze and 930°C for copper
When the parts come out of the furnace, the metal grains have welded together. The parts have shrunk by 10 to 20% and are oxidized, they must then be sanded, polished . Then I encaustic with a wax that I make myself composed of essence of orange peel and beeswax diluted with medical kerosene oil .I just have to mount them in bracelets, necklaces, earrings …
;”> Wikipedia gives us a very good explanation of the steampunk movement. Too long to copy it here but do some research and you’ll see. When I try to popularize the style (not the philosophy) I say that my steampunk jewelry is what the punk of the steam engine era would have liked to wear. Steampunk always has an air of 19th century science fiction/fantasy. Jules Verne is a perfect example, it is an Edwardian and even Victorian universe.
In contrast with the computerization, and the “cybertization” (:-D) of our time with its printed circuits and its chips, the steampunk universe is a universe of cogs, leather and steam machins .
My steampunk jewels are created from old mechanical watches t I buy on flea markets and dismantle to recycle their parts. It is always a pleasure to discover what a case hides and I really admire the work of the old watchmakers
To see the jewels that I created, click on Steampunk shop in the top menu