Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Creating Color on Copper with Heat
Now, on to silver...
Reticulating Silver with Heat
This process is similar, but very different from working with copper. You can't shape your silver prior to reticulating. Heating the silver like this sometimes shrinks the metal, so you should actually start with a disc slightly larger than what you plan to end up with. It's very hard to reticulate small pieces of silver, they simply shrink away under heat, so start big. Remember, you can always cut and shape the piece when you are done.
First, clean your silver. Again, I use a medium sanding sponge, give both sides a good sanding, then rinse and dry. Place the disc on your ceramic fire-block and turn on your torch. Heat the metal evenly with the flame, moving the flame around the surface. What you are actually doing is heating the surface of the silver almost to its melting point. The silver usually turns dark first, keep moving the flame around, DON'T STOP. Don't leave your flame stationary either--if you point it too long in one spot you can burn a hole in the silver! The surface will begin to get really shiny and glow a bit red--you're getting close! When the silver is shiny everywhere it will actually go liquid on the surface--you will see the surface begin to "boil" in teeny-tiny bubbles. That's when the reticulation is beginning! Keep that flame moving and all sorts of things may happen. Bubbles may form that lift the metal in places, ridges and valleys may form. Bumps and lumps will appear everywhere depending on how you move your flame, etc. At this point stop, turn off your torch and quench the silver by picking it up WITH PLIERS and dropping it in your cup of water. When you take it out it will be an ugly, flat grey/black. That is the impurities in the silver coming to the surface. You have two choices here. You can "pickle" the metal chemically using a crock-pot (again, search this on Etsy--all questions will be answered) or you can do like I do (ever the impatient girl) and go at the silver with your sanding sponge. The black will come right off. Sand, rinse, sand, rinse, etc. till you can really see what you have. If you want more texture simply set the silver back on your fire-block, turn on your torch and get busy. Each time you quench, sand, and rinse, the silver it will heat easier and reticulate even quicker. You can do this several times till you get the effect you want. When I am totally done, I sand, clean and buff the silver with a dremel tool. Tarnex, yes, good old fashioned Tarnex, works really well as a final, super fast cleaning agent. Now you can shape the metal VERY CAREFULLY if you wish. Reticulating silver makes it brittle, so if you want to curve it be careful, hammer very lightly. You may find that the edges are especially brittle, bits may even break off, but that's part of the beauty of the effect--simply file your edges smooth.
Here is an example of a ring I just made with reticulated silver fused with sterling silver shot, set with an amethyst. YUMMY!!!!
Now it's your turn! Get online, get some tools, then start creating. I'd love to see what you make. Send me some photos and I'll post them here. If you have any questions about the processes described here, please contact me! Have fun playing with FIRE!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I live in South Florida, on the east coast. Since the day the DWH blew up I have been completely overwhelmed by the mind-boggling ecological disaster unfolding in the Gulf. This piece was created with this in mind. It's called "Spill, Baby, Spill" and I made it using an antique 3-inch porcelain doll body splattered with black paint. A tiny, sterling silver dolphin, colored black with patina is trying to escape the doll's head. I really like the result. Will be showing this in an upcoming art show in Sept called "Raging Art".
Friday, July 23, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So, Morgane is married (to a handsome young man I might add) and the ring is on her finger. Thank you, Morgane, for choosing me and for sharing these photos from your big day. I wish you both nothing but happiness wherever your nest may be!!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
THEN, I discovered reticulating silver. WOW! This is really fun, and really simple. I've seen reticulated silver before, and figured it was created through some incredibly difficult process that was far beyond my skill-set. WRONG. The look of rugged peaks, valleys, bumps and lumps I love so much are created with heat, and patience. With my little butane torch I can easily heat stering silver discs and sheet to red, then, with steady, even heat, start the reticulation process. You can see the bubbles begin to form on the nearly molten surface, then you have to stop, and clean the silver either by pickling or by hand with patina prep or whatever else you like to use to clean silver. This removes all the impurities that are in the silver, which come to the surface when heated. Then, back under the torch. Keep your flame even over the surface, don't focus the flame in one spot or you might burn right through the silver. Do this several times until you get the pattern or look that you like, cleaning between each torch session. The silver will deform, so start with a piece larger than what you want to end up with. I love the deformed look, and usually leave it at that. When you are happy with the results, clean thouroughly, and burnish either by hand or with a wire brush wheel/dremel. Be sure to look at both sides, sometimes the bottom side turns out even more interesting than the top! From here you can hammer (be a bit careful here, reticulating makes the silver somewhat brittle), cut, and patina to your heart's content. COOL!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
I still have three or four doll bodies left...I'm thinking of creating a botanical piece next....I'll keep you posted!!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wouldn't this be a great project for Earth Day? Hmmmm....wonder if I have any old light bulbs like this anywhere.
Hummingbird image etched in copper.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I created Cernunnos, a mythical God of the Forest, Protector of the Hunt. I wanted this piece to be an example of wearable art--I designed it to be displayed when not being worn. It is also my first multi-functional piece. The headdress, created from feathers and silver-over-copper antlers set in a silver cone, is a removable pendant that can be worn alone. The sterling silver ball chain is attached and fits inside the doll body with ease. Around his neck are silk fibers and a "necklace" made from a gorgeous rubilite garnet and fine brass wire. I hand-made as much of the componants as possible--the sterling silver "branch" arms, the brass "branch" and copper leaves are all made by me. I also included a removable hand-made sterling silver antler ring attached below the doll body, held in place with a sterling silver "T" bar. A manufactured brass leaf accents here. The entire piece is connected to 18-inches of antiqued brass chain with a hammered brass "S" closure. I even made the bamboo stand for display.
So, you can wear this complete as a truly amazing statement piece, or separately for every day. I especially like the ring--it's adjustable and really fun to wear.
It was a labor of love to make this--I can't wait to wear it out!!!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
More to come soon....
Monday, January 25, 2010
All of these designs are available in my Etsy shop...