Turning Cooked Copper into Autumn Leaf EarringsIn this post, I will finish making that pair of earrings.
This is Not What's For Dinner Tonight
First, I am posting a photo of the pot in which I cook copper sheet to create those lovely colors. It sure doesn't look very appetizing and, having cooked up quite a few copper projects, it doesn't smell all that great, either. A touch of Eau de Old Campfire.
What is does do is produce wonderful shades of red, green and gold on super clear pieces of copper. If this is something you are anxious to try, load the pot with the most resinous plant material you can get your hands on. The resins make the colors.
Bending the Metal For StrengthI do not want these long dangles to bend across their width while someone is putting them on or taking them off. Of course no jewelry item will last long if you step on it or mash it under the door to the bathroom (my grandmother did that to an amethyst earring once).
To add some stability to these leaves, I positioned each one along its center, lengthwise, in my bench vise and gently hammered a vertical bend. This vise has a pair of removable rubber jaw covers. It is a super useful tool and let's me manipulate metal without marring the surface. Of course, if I was really smart, I would have forged the bend before I cooked the copper but, you know....
If I was really smart, I probably wouldn't have cut my finger with my saw today, either.
Another Terrific Tool
For years, I struggled to drill holes with precision. I had a Dremel tool which would accept the tiny bits I use but trying to hold it steady enough to drill a hole exactly where I wanted it was a challenge. To be honest, I had to scrap and replace more than one item when my hand slipped. ARGH.
A couple of years ago, I finally treated myself to the drill press version of the Dremel. It has made life much easier. Here, I am preparing to drill one of the leaves to accept the shepherd hook. Quick note: I keep an old drill bit somewhat larger than any I use for drilling on my bench. Somewhere I learned the trick of hand twisting it a few turns to ream out the rough edges of freshly drilled holes. Way quicker than trying to smooth with a tiny round file.
One Finished, One to Go
When this one was finished, I hung it on the vise while I added the shepherd hook to its mate. Both are now in my ArtYah shop: SterlingByDix.