Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My continuing love affair with copper

(Click to enlarge)
I got my hands on a bunch of copper rings and decided to offer some to members of Lampwork Etc. The only catch was they had to use the rings to create a piece or pieces of jewelry. They could use as many or as little of the rings as they wanted to.
I had a few certain members in mind that I knew I wanted to participate in the challenge. I was so happy that they signed up for my challenge. These are members whos work I admire a great deal. I love how they design. I love how they utilize their materials. I love their concepts.
The results of my challenge are just beginning to trickle in. The photo above is one of the pieces I designed with the copper rings. I hammered the rings flat and then textured them with the ball pien end of my chasing hammer.
I had decided I was going to antique this piece as well. I had never used Liver of Sulphur before. I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know how to use it! All I knew was that it could antique the copper components of my bracelet. So, I dissolved a chunk of this stuff in warm water and dropped my bracelet in. There were several things that I wasn't expecting that happened all at once here.
First of all, I used way too big a piece of LOS for this one bracelet. I don't know if I can use it at a later time, but I saved the container full of water and LOS.
The second thing that took place that I wasn't expecting was the speed at which my piece would turn color. I had no idea that it would be immediate. I figured I would have to let the bracelet sit in the solution for an hour or so. Not the case....this thing turned black immediately!
The third thing I wasn't prepared for was the smell of LOS. My whole house instantly smelled like rotten eggs. Even after two hours when I decided to go to bed, I could still smell it! It reminded me of the sulphur water that my mother used to have at her house in the country, before the town put water lines in. Peeeeee Ewwwww!
Now, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to "buff" the excess coloring off my bracelet so it would give it an antique look. All I knew is that I had to do something to remove most of what was there. I decided that I would try a steel wool pad and to my delight....it worked like a charm! I removed as much of the black color as I like and was quite pleased with the look it left when I was finished.
I really like the look of antiqued metal. I am thinking that I may just have to use this method more often. Maybe I have created a monster here! LOL! All I know is that it was super easy to do, I am very pleased with the results and knowing how to do this will certainly be very useful in the future.
So, what I have discovered since I began using copper in my designs is this. I love the look of shiny copper. Shiny copper always catches my eye. Heck, who am I kidding? Shiny anything always catches my eye!
I really like the look of antiqued copper. It gives the piece what I call a "historic" look. Makes it look vintage. I guess it stirs some buried feelings of nostolgia in me or something.
But....and maybe it will grow on me, or maybe I will learn to love it, but for right now.....I DON'T like the look of natural patinaed copper. To me, it has no depth. It's dull.....it's boring. I cannot find anything that I like about natural patinaed copper. I know that I do like the greenish blue type of patina on copper. That's not what I am talking about here. I'm talking about when the copper loses it's shine and is just dull.....and brown. Blech.
Like I said...maybe one day I will love it as much too. Who knows. I'm still pretty new into this copper adventure with my jewelry. I'm pretty sure there is still lots for me to learn and discover the more I use it.