Thursday, March 28, 2013

Working By the Batch

Today started out slow and I was sure I would get very little done. With Rick out of town (he reached California safely yesterday), Jet has been very needy and I've been indulging him. By this afternoon, we had just about enough of each other and I got serious about making some necklaces.

This collection of pendants were all made within a few hours -- I was on a roll! I always make the pendant part of the necklace in batches like this. Once I'm in Wrapping Mode, I figure I better just keep going. Tomorrow I will make the chains and add any other embellishments. That part isn't nearly as fun as working with the stones, so I'll probably procrastinate a bit. And I'll blame Jet for that.

In no particular order: bronzite, rutilated quartz with chrysoprase (also with peridot, ruby & kyanite), huge ruby, a couple of whiskey quartzes, hypersthene, garnet with labradorite,London blue topaz with turquoise, ruby in zoisite with an emerald rondelle, 2 moonstones with Botswana agate, prehnite/chrome diopside/tourmaline trio and prehnite/tourmaline/moss aquamarine trio.

If any of these combos appeal to you. let me know and I'll make the necklace especially for you! Just tell me which one and what length! If you click on the photo, you'll get to see it enlarged.

As a treat, here's JetMan in the snow. He had a haircut last week and looks like a totally different dog!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Etching Some Metals

In preparation of making some layered mixed metal pendants, I decided to etch some metal. I have sheets of copper and brass that are perfect for large images that can be cut up into smaller pieces later.

This is the set-up I purchased from Volcano Arts a couple of years ago. Previously, I used a small container. This larger vessel allows me to etch much larger pieces of metal. Click HERE to go directly to the etching page on Christine's website.

The "tank" contains ferric chloride, which is used to etch copper, brass and nickel. The gizmo attached to it is like a fish tank bubble unit. Aerating the etchant gives a more even and result to the etching process and it speeds the whole thing up. It can take anywhere from 1 - 2 hours. The plain container method can take 5-6 hours.

Because I'm working in my kitchen and ferric chloride stains everything it touches, I but the whole set-up on a plastic lunch tray over newspaper -- just in case something splatters or I drop a piece. Don't ask.

This is a sheet of brass on which I used a rubber stamp and solvent ink (specifically for non-porous surfaces). The stamp has very fine lines and I was hoping I would get a good etch.

And I did!

This is a very detailed rubber stamp image that turned out better than I could have hoped. There are lots of little elements that I can saw out and use on the pendants.

Here is another great image on another piece of copper, also with lots of usable elements.

I also etched some small pre-cut copper shapes for earrings. You may recognize the shape from this post on enameling.

I've neutralized the etchant with a baking soda & water slurry and removed some of the residual etchant with denatured alcohol. I still need to polish it to prepare it for a liver of sulfur patina.

Yes, etching metal is a long process with many steps, but the results can be so wonderful. They help make your work unique, especially if you draw your own patterns onto the metal. Other things (besides Stazon ink) that work as an etch-resist are sharpie marker, nail polish, press-on letters, rubber cement.

Feel free to ask questions!

Almost Spring Sale!

It's time for some spring cleaning, don't you think? How about 25% off your entire order? Sounds good to me!

Use coupon code SPRING to get that discount on everything in my etsy shop!

Be sure to check out my newest pair of earrings. They feature beautiful golden rutilated quartz briolettes hanging from a length of chain. From each link of that chain, I added alternating dangles of crystal quartz and small gold filled beads. Click on the photo to go directly to the listing.

Happy shopping!!