Friday, April 18, 2014

Oh the beautiful patina

The next project and demonstrations focused on techniques used to add a patina to copper. A patina is the coloration that occurs on metals, and in this case on copper, when it is exposed to various chemicals processes and oxidation.

Harlan introduced us to a number of ways to add a patina to metal.  There is even a book, Patina:300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelrs & Metalsmiths, housing a whole bunch of formulas that can be used to produce different effects.

Above are two of my patina samples.  As you can see I continued on with foldforming leaves and turned them into my samples.  The bottom sample was produced easily by applying a light layer of salt to the copper leaf and then suspending the piece in a jar in which I had placed some ammonia.  It is important that the copper piece not actually be submerged in the ammonia, but suspended above it. Then I closed the jar and left it for 24 hours.  Finally, I washed the salt off, dried the leaf and coated it with a layer of clear coat.

The top leaf was produced by a chemical formula from the above mentioned book.  I did not actually mix the chemicals and cannot remember what went into it.  However, once the chemicals were mixed, they made a thick paste which was applied to the hot copper leaf (it had been boiled in hot water) and allowed to sit for 24 hours before washing the paste off and sealing.

Another patina which turns copper truly beautiful, is a heat patina in which the copper is rubbed with peanut oil and is then heated to create varying orange hues.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prismacolor and Paint

The next class on my list was Color and Surface taught by renown enamel artist Harlan W Butt.  If you are not familiar with his work, please take a minute to check out his website and be prepared to be amazed by his breathtaking cloisonne vessels.  He is truly a master and I was thrilled at the chance to learn from him.

The Color and Surface class was focused on learning different techniques for treating metal.  The techniques covered were applying Prismacolor and Paints, Enamelling including cloisonne & champleve as well as discussion of plique a jour, Etching, Patinas, Keumbo and Reticulation.

The first project was to produce a set of 18 samples using prismacolor pencils, prismacolor crayons, and various paints including acrylics and metal paints.

I started with 18 copper squares of the same size. I thought that it might be nice if all of the samples were unique and so I played around with the squares before adding the color pigments.  I ran some through the rolling mill with pieces of twisted wire in between to create patterns.  I dapped, hammered and patterned some of the others.  I also drilled holes in some so that they might be used in jewelry pieces. Before I began applying color, I sandblasted all of the base pieces so that the colors would have a better chance of adhering.

Above you can see the various designs I came up with. I was most pleased with the look, feel and finish of the prismacolor pencil.  I especially like the center, top piece, as something about the movement throughout is pleasing to me.  I also love the way the two space vistas came out.  As could have been expected, the acrylic paint that I used, was easily peeled off of the metal. I was too impatient for the metal paints to get overly creative with them, although being specifically made for metals they adhered well.

Although they are not the best images, above you can see two necklaces created with primacolor sample components.