Archive for August, 2007

And the Winner Is!

Friday, August 10th, 2007


After sorting through Phyllis’ posting and the emails, the winner is Phyllis!  Phyllis, your answer came the closest to being the correct answer.  If you look at the picture on the far left, at the very bottom edge (click the picture to enlarge), you will see some of the screen impressions.  Even though it is just a small spot that left the screen impression, it is there, so Phyllis wins the prize!  If you missed the previous post, reading it help you understand what this post is all about.

The pictures above show the beautiful, vivid blue patina that results from the chemical reactions of the metal, the ammonia, and the salt.  I love the abstract, unpredictable patterns.

Picture on the far left:  This is the top side of a piece of copper that was damp and had salt sprinkled on it.

Picture in the middle:  This is the bottom side of a piece of copper that was toward the ammonia.

Picture on the right:  This is the top side of a very wet piece of copper that had salt sprinkled on it.

The pictures show the metal in it’s natural state.  I am in the process of testing different coatings to help seal the surface so that it can be used to make a piece of jewelry.  The patina can chip off if it is not coated.  I have had success coating the metal with clear nail lacquer.  It really brings out the colors.  Other things that I inend to test include paste wax, a mixture of beeswax and turpentine, and a wax named Renaissance.  I will post the results in the coming weeks.  If any of you have ideas or have tried other products, please share you ideas.  We would love to hear about them.

Cute little experiment–cute little contest!!!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007


Want to try to win a little prize while having a little fun? This little project reminds me of the science experiments that we did in school and is something that you just might want to try. Just make sure to handle the ammonia safely, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

1. Get a small piece of 24- or 26- gauge copper or brass (about 1.5 inches square is good). Sand it lightly with fine sandpaper, then clean it with alcohol.

2. Dip the piece of metal in a solution of salt water, then sprinkle salt over the damp metal (regular salt works fine, but I love using a coarser salt like Margharita salt for some interesting texture).

3. Place the metal on a piece of screen to suspend it over a small plastic container that has some ammonia in it. A scrap of synthetic window screen works great.

4. Quickly enclose the small plastic container inside a larger plastic container to limit your exposure to the ammonia fumes.

5. Allow this to sit for two days.

6. Observe the magic results!

Anyone care to guess what happens to the metal? Students who have taken my metal texturing workshop, please don’t tell! I will have another little contest for you to enter in the future.

If anyone who has not taken the metal texturing class wants to venture a guess, the first person who has the right answer will win his or her very own Scoop-Eez (listed in the “Cool Tools” section–can you see me making a Vanna move?). It is a great little tool that can be used for scooping beads or glass frit. You can enter your guess in the comments of this post.

After someone guesses the right answer, I will post more about what to do with this experimental little piece of metal.

Have a great day filled with oodles of fun and surprises!

Craving a Little Creative Kind of Fun?

Sunday, August 5th, 2007


If so, you might want to check out the August and September calendars.  You can find the calendar link right at the top of this page.

One of my favorite classes to teach is the Lah-Te-Dah bracelet pictured above.  It is scheduled for September 29th.  In the morning session, students will learn to make s-links and assemble them into a bracelet .  The afternoon will be spent learning to make and design your own charms and wrapping the beads to complete your masterpiece.  A bonus that I like to include in this seminar is a session on how to make heart links.

There have been a number of requests for the Mixed Metals/Metal Texturing Workshop.  We have expanded it across two days and it is scheduled for September 26th and 27th.  The first day will be spent exploring patina recipes and learning to chemical etch.  We will learn to use a rolling mill and a corrugator.  We will also flame-color metal and do some hammering.  We will be working in brass, bronze, copper, and nickel silver.  The second day will be devoted to assembling our textured pieces into jewelry.  A variety of methods will be used included cold connections and soldering.  This class is loads of fun and brings out the adventuresome and creative side of us all!


I’m no pickle expert, but…

Saturday, August 4th, 2007


A number of my students have asked if there is a safer alternative than Sparex for cleaning the oxides off metal after it is heated during the soldering process.  I have been doing some pickle research, and here is what I have learned:

You can put pickling salt (just got mine at Wal Mart tonight) and vinegar in a pan on the stove and heat it.  Put your piece of metal in it and let the pickle solution do its thing.  It is slower than Sparex, but will clean off the black residue.  Supposedly, you don’t have to worry about the exact amounts,  just pour in some salt and vinegar.  This would be a great alternative for homes that have children or other settings where it would be unsafe to use Sparex.  I will try it out and let you know what I think of this little recipe.

Have a sweet gherkin kind of Saturday!  No sour pickles for me!