I earlier discussed making a penannular brooch of silver. A client saw my work, and asked for a similar one of bronze. While the process is similar, it is not identical. Here, I am going to discuss making such a brooch of bronze.
Like the silver, the brooch started out by making the pieces. Laid out, they appear below.
The brooch itself is made by texturing metal clay, cutting out a circle, and then cutting out another circle, leaving a small edge. The cat face was made from a mold. The biggest differences are the pin and the pivot that holds the pin. While silver is soft, bronze is hard. Therefore, I made the silver pin somewhat broad, so it would not bend. The bronze pin is quite narrow. Since it is so narrow, I made the hinge longer, so I could blend it into the back of the pin and have a stronger attachment. Also, since untextured bronze is not as interesting as untextured silver, I put a texture on the bronze pin, while I left the silver one plain.
The pieces were assembled as before, with paper between the hinge and the pin. A sharp-eyed reader might recognize that this is not the same brooch, and they would be right. This is one that I made before I realized that bronze would allow a narrower pin.
I fired the clay in coconut activated charcoal, according to package directions. I folded the pin to one side so it would not touch the brooch while firing. The paper burned away in the kiln, and left only a few ashes to be swept away.
I then tumbled the brooch and patinaed it. The beginning of this post showed the finished brooch with the pin in place. The picture below shows it swung to one side.
Metal clay penannular brooches are not common. However, there is no reason to avoid them. Just remember — if two pieces of greenware touch and you don’t want them to fuse, separate them with a bit of paper. It will burn away in the kiln, and your piece will emerge as you wish it to be.