Monday, 5 May 2014

Color, Color

Coloring Copper, Finding Color in Agate

I tried a different approach to color copper this time. First, I hammered and shaped this pair of copper semi-hoops, then soldered on posts. Next, I poured a small amount of household ammonia into a plastic tub, hung the earrings above it and put on the tightly-fitted cover. A few hours later, the copper had darkened — a lot.

Make It Bright

In this photo, the hoop on the left is how they looked after the fuming process. It is not very interesting, is it?

To achieve something worth looking at, I took a sanding stick and polished the edges and the face, just enough to brighten the high spots and leave the hammered hollows dark. Bingo: contrast.

I finished these with an archival wax to preserve the color but, since I have no idea how they will look in a month or two, I think I will keep them here. I'd hate to sell them and have them turn all dark and dull later this summer!

Pretty Blue-Grey Agate

I bought this agate months ago. The misty blue-grey tones appealed to me and I thought it would make a great pin.

Today, I started working with it. At this stage, I have cut out the shape of the brooch and cut an oval within it (under the stone). I'm also trying a new way to mount the stone. Instead of soldering posts to the backing to serve as claws, I cut four prongs from the backing sheet and raised them so I can press them onto the stone later. I also hammered a drifting pattern across the backing. Here, I've ensured the stone will fit inside the claws!

To do later this week: file and sand, file and sand. Also, solder a pin and catch to the back of the piece so it can be worn. Watch this space for more on this project.