Introduction to Goldie Bronze Clay and Metal Clay Artist Lorena Angulo
Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is coming up and all the hearts in Lorena Angulo’s work caught my eye. Or maybe it’s because I love the symbolism in butterflies, and Lorena’s work has plenty of them, too. It could be the passionate, spiritual feel behind her pin/pendants, or the warm glow of the metal they’re made from, Goldie Bronze. Maybe it’s because Goldie Bronze is such a sassy name, like a slightly mischievous showgirl from the 1950s . . . No matter what the reason, I’m captivated by Lorena’s work and couldn’t wait to share it with you. Most of Lorena’s pieces are hand built, sculpted and carved, without the use of molds–such talented hands!–and the back of each piece is just as pretty and detailed as the front.
Here’s a brief intro to using Goldie Bronze metal clay and some examples of Lorena’s gorgeous work. Enjoy! —Tammy
Goldie Bronze Metal Clay Jewelry
By Lorena Angulo
I have been working with metal clay for a couple of years, and since I was introduced to this wonderful material, I have not been able to stop playing and creating with it. Most of my work is done with silver metal clay, but I also use copper and bronze; bronze is the one I use the most. The first bronze clay I played with was Bronzclay from Metal Adventures. It’s still one of my favorites, but now I have another bronze clay in my top list to use, Goldie Bronze.
Goldie Bronze is a wonderful powdered metal clay that offers us various colors in bronze and also copper, in hard and soft forms. The clay I use the most is Goldie Bronze Hard. What I love about this clay is the ability to fire at a very short time without having problems with sintering.
Preparing Goldie Bronze Metal Clay
Pre-mixing: When you open the bottle of Goldie Bronze, you will notice the powder has some white dust; it is very important that you stir the powder very well to mix the white dust with the rest of the powder before you add the water into it.
Adding Water: As with all the powder metal clays, you need to add water to create the clay. Do not be afraid if you end up adding too much water, the clay will still work if you just let it rest a little bit. I suggest you add the water little by little and stir every time you add some water. I use a small glass bowl to mix my clay with water. What you are looking for is to have a consistency of compacted wet sand.
Mixing and Rolling: The clay will still feel and look loose. Take it out of the container you mixed it in and Start rolling it out very thin. Roll the clay very thin and fold together to roll it again, more than 10 times; you will see how the clay begins to look more smooth and pliable. When you get the consistency of clay, put it inside a sealable plastic bag and it will be ready for you to use.
Working with Goldie Bronze Clay
The clay is easy to roll, cut, and carve. I prefer to work with Goldie Bronze Hard because is not as brittle when dry. The only challenge I have found in this clay is that it is not as easy to roll coils as with the other clays. This does not mean you cannot roll coils; you can do it, but it will be more challenging when you want very thin coils.
Joining pieces is easy using fresh clay to join two dry pieces together. I do not sand or file my pieces (I avoid as much as I can breathing metal clay dust), but if you do, you will not have a problem. It is easy to smooth rough edges of Goldie Bronze metal clay with just the use of water and a small brush or simply by smoothing the area with your wet finger.
As with all the metal clays, you need to let the pieces dry completely before putting them in the kiln to be fired. This clay dries faster than most, and you need to be careful when handling your dry pieces since they are fragile and can break.
Firing Goldie Bronze Metal Clay
Firing this type of clay has to be done in two stages: first to burn the binders and second for sintering the metal. In the first stage, you have to use a steel vessel with a coat of coconut charcoal at the bottom. Lay your dried clay pieces on top of the coconut charcoal and put the vessel inside the kiln without the lid. Do not cover the pieces with charcoal; they need to be uncovered for the first stage.
The firing schedule for the first step is full ramp up to 662°F and hold there for 30 minutes as the manufacturer suggests. I personally found it better to add some extra time and hold it for 40 minutes instead of 30. When this stage is finished, take your vessel out of the kiln and very carefully add a layer of coconut charcoal to cover your pieces and add the lid to the vessel. The clay pieces after the first firing will look very dark gray and are very brittle; I suggest not touching them or trying to move them because they can break easily.
For the second stage, fast ramp up to 1508°F and hold there for 40 minutes (as the manufacturer suggests). I also add extra time to this stage and hold my pieces for 1 hour and 30 minutes instead. I have never had a problem by firing my pieces with the extra time in both stages.
Finishing Goldie Bronze Metal Clay
To get a shiny finish after firing, you will have to use your Dremel or flex shaft with some polishing tools. This type of metal clay will not give you a bright shine with just the use of a brass brush and soapy water. If your piece is not too big, you can put it in a tumbler for 30 or 40 minutes, and it will give you a golden tone. I personally use my magnetic tumbler with the small pieces. After the use of the tumbler, I still polish them with my favorite polishing cream, Wenol. I either polish them by hand or by using a Dremel and a felt polishing disk. I also use a polishing wheel, one of my favorite accessories to use in my Dremel, which helps me highlight some areas to a more smooth finish.
Now we can add another kind of metal clay to our repertoire! Learn more about working with metal clay in our two video tutorials, Metalwork: Exploring Metal Clay Basics and Metalwork: Exploring Metal Clay Hollow Forms.
About the Artist: Lorena Angulo
“Since I can remember, art has been a strong influence in my life. I come from Mexico, a country that is so rich in traditions, culture, and arts. Everything that surrounded me when I was a child living in Southern Mexico (Chiapas) was very important in my formation. I think I felt more in love with my culture when I moved to live in the USA. I missed so many things. I enjoy every minute I spend creating and making work inspired in my big love for my heritage. This makes me create pieces with lots of soul.” Lorena is a PMC Guild and SNAG member and certified by Rio Rewards. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is part of the Metal Clay Artists in San Antonio (MCASA) group there. She has a line of metal clay templates through Metal Clay Supply. Learn more about Lorena Angulo on her blog and on the Lorena Angulo Jewelry Facebook page, and see more of her work on Flickr.
You can get Goldie Bronze metal clay from Metal Clay Supply.