A lot of "firsts" in this earring pair. They were a birthday present for a very close friend.
Do you see the bronze charms? This are my first ever made pieces out of bronze clay! I used one that I could fire (at least small pieces) with a torch. Okay, it takes some patience to torch bronze (7 to 9 minutes after the heated stage and believe me, the time is necessary... lost some pieces afterwards using less time).. but honestly, the silver clay is just way too expensive for me for playing and experimenting. The gold and silver market value is increasing in a crazy way since 2005. That is not real value anymore, just speculators...
Back to the topic: I already had two molds made (I use them for polymer clay usually). One with an ammonite and on with a tiny shell that I found on formentera (so this one is really personal to me). After torch firing (under non-reducing conditions because hey, there is a lot of free oxygen in the surrounding air) I got a lot of firescale and the copper in the bronze is sitting on top. I removed a lot but am still learning about the effetcs. Some of them could also be beautiful.
I used liver of sulphur for oxidizing and polished the raised surfaces again. Afterwards I sealed it with renaissance wax (also a first for me, just bought it with the metal clay!).
And the backside with my tiny signature: One time stamped, one time scratched. The backside is also more bronze than copper coloured because I fired it on a charcoal block so at this area there is a reducing surrounding. I already tried to put the top down but this provides other problems.
I really love how they turned out! I combined them with czech glass beads (the blue and the clear facetted beads) from The Curious Bead Shop and some really, really old glass beads.
This was the next first for me because I was anxious to use these tiny glass treasures. The glass beads on top in the different shades of green are old roman glass shaped as bicones found in Afghanistan / Pakistan (age: 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.) and the grey and mottled beads are about 600 years old excavation beads from Dejenne, Mali, africa. I bought them from the ethnic bead shop.
Yes, most people would never notice but for me there is something magical in holding beads in my hand that are centuries old or even older. They were made and touched by people long gone, you can see the time in the worn look. Still, they survived the time like only glass can and now they are telling a story combined together with old and new in these earrings.
My found objects like the shell from formentera (the island that is so important for me), my first experiments made with bronze clay combined with all the curiosity and excitement, the perfect facetted glass beads made in czech after a long tradition, the old roman glass travelled up so far and the trade beads part of everyday life hundreds of years ago. Some of the beads just went through my own hands while others may have gone through so many hands.