A (somewhat) daily rambling on the life of a polymer Clay metal clay and Fused Glass artist/teacher/author.

Very soon my blog will move to my website...as soon as it is done that is. This blog will be my Theatrical life of directing The Secret Garden

Friday, March 19, 2010

Patina Tips and Tricks

It is CARNIVAL time again!

We are a group of jewelry artists working in various mediums who have chosen different topics to write on as a group. This event takes place about the same time each month. Why not visit the other artists listed below the following blog.

This Friday's topic is: Patina Tips & Tricks!

Well, I must start this blog off by being completely honest. Patina's are not my 'thing'. So, if you are looking for some amazing techniques.... look at the other blogs at the end of this missive. You will find some amazing artists' teachings on how they get their incredible colors on their work AND how they play with the color levels to achieve their glorious works unique look.

I must confess, though, to being a silver snob. Pure fine silver is the whitest of all the precious metals. Whitest and brightest. Just set a piece of polished fine silver next to a polished platinum work. KaPOW!!!! Hmmm? Amazing. I think this 'elitist' attitude comes from my classical training as a goldsmith/metalsmith. I love the beauty of the materials... so:

WHY HIDE THE INCREDIBLE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE SILVER? Oops! Sorry! I just HATE it when somebody shouts at me... did you hear the passion tho?

I love the shine, the reflectiveness and the brilliance of this noble metal... Period. But, there are pieces that need, no, call out for patina. And that is when the artist in me runs and grabs the torch or liver of sulfur or silver black and plays with the work with an 'intuitive paint brush'.

That said, let me tell you what I do like about the patina effect and share how I achieve the look I like. First off, I love the way patinas can be altered with a simple polishing cloth. After the patina has been applied, I gently rub off the color on the raised areas of the work. This gives a great depth to the jewelry that cannot be achieved with texture alone.

So, I generally use liver of sulfur (LOS) and keep it warm on my warming dish. A coffee warmer pad works well too. I sometimes add a bit of ammonia to the mix too, oh and some table salt. Close by is some ice water and some sodium bicarbonate (Arm and Hammer) diluted in water.First, though, I make sure that my work is finished enough that I could place it in a gallery as is. In other words, it is textured, polished and all stone setting is completed. Then I dip the work into the LOS and pull it out several times until the color has just reached the level of my choosing. Then I quickly dip the work into the Sodium Bicarbonate and then into the ice water. This stoppes the patina process. After it is dry, I then use the polishing cloth to achieve my final look.

Silver Black is just that. One paints it into the areas of choice. Those areas become pitch black.

Torching is also just that. I use a bushy flame on my copper and titanium work to create waves of color.

All in all, I am truly a maker of Shiny work. My ancestors must have kept crows as pets.
Silly me!


Do click on the blogs listed below. These artists have incredible work and wonderful tips to share today..

Tonya Davidson
Tamra Gentry
Vickie Hallmark
Elaine Luther
Lora Hart