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.

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