Mistakes, Art and Learning

Inevitably, working with any media in art you will always make mistakes . . for that matter, we make mistakes whenever we are doing things because we are human.  While some mistakes in my field can be costly (silver clay fired incorrectly, copper didn’t melt, shattered glass in the kiln) it can also be a new direction in the process of the creation.  Just this week, I’ve been trying out some new techniques–adding dichroic glass to my silver work, melding white copper with regular copper and working with sheet metal clay.  So, out of the new techniques I was successful with 2 out of 3.  The melding of the two coppers didn’t go as well as planned.

Both copper clays can be combined and fired simultaneously, which opens up lots of creative ideas.  My shaping and sanding when well, however, I made a rookie mistake–one copper cuff I rolled out too thin–when working with metal clay, it is best to keep your bracelets or cuffs between 5-7 cards thick.  Otherwise, you invite cracks and splits when the firing happens–I lost one of the cuffs due to this very reason.  The second cuff was certainly thick enough however, my design was too deep into the clay and allowed natural cracks after the clay dried which I tried to repair.  Most of the time, I have success by shaping the cuffs before firing.  But, you can also shape the cuff after the firing.  This time I shaped the cuff and discovered that the imprint lines of my design caused cracks.

The good news . . I can still salvage parts of this thicker cuff.  Sawing off the cracks and doing some extra sanding with my dremel will create two new pendents that will display the two types of copper.  Due to my other pieces needing my attention these will wait till later.

Here is another failed attempt at blending coppers.  My mistake here was making the base too thin to support the white copper on top.  While this one didn’t turn into anything, it was still a lesson learned!

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