Monday, December 3, 2018

Metal Patina Bracelets

I don't post often in my blog anymore, but I am very active on Instagram. You can find my current artwork on my art account (and I also have a personal account for pics of my kids and food and such). But sometimes you need more room to write, and I've been itching to post about a few projects on here lately. 

First I wanted to go back and bit and update on what I've been working on the last year or two. A long time ago I shared my idea to make some nerdy fan art necklaces, and talked about the metal supplies that I bought to make them. While I was researching metal work, the thing that actually appealed to me the most was playing with patinas, and so when I started working with the metal that is the first thing that I explored.

I created patinas on copper and brass cuffs with just salt and ammonia or vinegar. It was so fun to dry different combinations and techniques and see the results, which were always a surprise! 

Wrap the copper with ammonia soaked paper towels and a sprinkle of salt, and you can create swirling teals ~

Patina Bracelet - Sirene

Let it soak for a long time, and you get deep black with teal peaking through ~

Patina Bracelet - Bellatrix 1

Or, spray it on directly every few hours and the teals become intense!

Patina Bracelet - Alcyone 1

You can also coat brass in salt and then suspend it above the ammonia to let the fumes do the work. This creates some lovely spotting ~

Patina Bracelet - Cytherea

Using large, coarse salt gives you a completely different look ~

Patina Bracelet - Aurum

This one I fumed covered with fine and coarse salt, and added some vinegar in there for fun  ~

Patina Bracelet - Ferrogold

Fuming copper instead of brass brings out the teals again, as well as some flecks of white ~ 

Patina Bracelet - Phanerite

While I had a lot of fun experimenting with the patinas, my real thrill was in trying different combinations and methods to reveal something new. I did not really enjoy the actual metal work (cutting, polishing, coating), and just creating the same bracelets over & over would have gotten old for me quick. Going beyond the teals to new colors would have required the use of some potent, special-ordered chemicals, and I wasn't really ready to go down that route. The patinas can also be very frustrating themselves, because you often can't replicate something when you want to. I often tried to copy the swirling teals of the first bracelet, only to end up with the deep, black second bracelet. 

Once a had a large stock of bracelets, I figured I needed to move on and work on some of the fan art pendants - but they brought me nothing but frustration! Any design I wanted to work on seemed to need $50 of more supplies. There was one issue after another, like discovering my jump rings were spotted with tarnish. And *all* of the work was the cutting, polishing, and coating work that I did not enjoy. I quickly dropped that idea.

The bracelets turned out lovely, but in the end I moved on from the metal jewelry to a new project. While I may make more one day, I probably won't be making more soon. You can still find a few of the bracelets in my Etsy shop.

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