I began filing, sanding and smoothing the commission pieces I created yesterday, and fixed the anti-glare shields in place:
They were thoroughly dry by early evening. Sanding is tedious, if not outright onerous, but there is one uncommon benefit for me. I use several different mediums (sanding boards, sanding sticks, sanding paper, sanding swabs, etc.) to prepare the surface for firing. My favorite sanding boards are called “Smoothies” and they look a bit like emery boards (more specifically those used for acrylic nails), but of course they aren’t. Just like sand paper, though, my Smoothies (which I have in Coarse, Medium and Fine) get choked with the dry clay I am removing. Smoothies come with a hog bristle brush you use to clean the boards and recover all that dry, recyclable clay. Some people would say this is even more tedious, but I love to do it because of the visible results. I take a clay colored sanding board and scrape away at it until the original color of the board returns. I’m reminded of an old roommate who was a dental hygienist. When she was in school, she used to practice cleaning my teeth, and for about 3 months I had the cleanest mouth in Newport, RI. She used to say the more horrible a person’s teeth were, the happier she was because she could see hard evidence of progress along the way. Many of her patients had apparently never seen a toothbrush, and she lived for the instant gratification of scraping all the crud off of their teeth and making them look presentable. That’s how I feel about cleaning my Smoothies!
Here are the earrings fresh from the kiln, getting ready to go into the tumbler after a quick brush up with a brass brush:
After firing, PMC looks powdery because the grains of silver on the surface are standing on end and they need to be compressed. I’m not a fan of tumbling items with stones (depending on the MOS hardness of the gemstone, you can end up smoothing all the hard planes of a faceted gem, and soft gemstones could just crumble), so I’m really happy that this design allows me to tumble the pieces before setting the stones, which I will do tomorrow.
Although the anti-glare shields were as challenging as I knew they would be, but having confronted them once before gave me the confidence to get through the tricky process quickly, and I’m really starting to enjoy myself. If we keep our fingers crossed, these may be finished tomorrow for shipping on Monday!