Saturday, June 4, 2011

Production mode

Someone recently contacted me with the request to make about 25 of my willow rings. My first reaction was, I think, some weird combination between 'eek!' and 'yay!'. Yay reflected obviously that a whole group of people apparently liked my rings well enough to order one each, and eek was 'I hope I can do this in time' and 'I hope I don't need to make three rings until I get one ring that is the right size'.

The way I did these rings before is described by me in an earlier blog post. I then started firing them in my kiln, where the rings shrunk more than when torch firing (and became stronger, hence the kiln firing). The sizing was always a big difficult. I roughly knew what size a ring was going to be, but not entirely. And yes, that is annoying when you have to make 25!

So this is what I do now. I still cut out the leaves from the clay as before. But instead of letting them dry as rings, I dry them flat, and fire them flat.
Four willow leaves baking in the kiln
Afterwards I shape them on my ring mandrel until they are the right size, solder, add patina and tumble them. And here is the result:

Now I just need to keep track of which ring is whose...