Saturday, 30 June 2012

Instant satisfaction and slow patinas

Being a seasonal worker and hourly means I don't really know when or how long I will work until the day before the work is needed. Good thing about the job in the potato fields is that it's just a limited time -- and I desperately need the money. Bad thing is it's hard to really plan things in advance. Things like starting a new, big jewellery project (especially things where you want to be able to work without interruptions). But one thing you can do, though, is to prepare those things that take time but little work. In other words: buried and fumed patinas.

I tend to forget, but last weekend I actually chucked some components in my sawdust-and-vinegar jar. While I do enjoy such slow media as embroidery and prefer hand tools to fast and effective power tools, I -- like most people -- want instant satisfaction. So patinas that takes days to develop and boringly slow processes like stone tumbling sometimes feels too slow, too time-consuming to bother starting up. But not having as much time to work as usual, but lots of time between jewellery-making sessions, throwing some brass and bronze in the jar seemed like a good idea: the vinegar and brass would do all the work while I was away. No waiting arond impatiently, seeing the jar before you all the time but knowing it wouldn't be ready in ages yet. Just getting home from work one day and it'd be finished. Perfect. Sort of (it's easy to forget that you put something in that jar or that container when you don't see it all day long).

This is one of my latest examples. The idea was to let the vinegar eat away the lacquer and antiquing (paint) on this brass ox stamping, etching the metal which I'd then scrub to get a shiny, textured surface like in this example. But after washing of the verdigris, I kind of liked the colours. Uneven and your can still se the paint used for the original antiquing, but there was still something I liked about the matte, mottled surface. Something that was hard to capture with the camera, but hopefully some of it shines through the lens.

Now I'm not sure what to do. Stick to the original plan or keep it like this. Or perhaps even add some heat patina like in this one. Or add some colour using e.g. paints or inks? I'm running out of stampings or I'd try something more structured and do several pieces at the time (to get the same texture/patina to work from) and try the different ideas, one on each piece. With one piece you just can't always go back if you regret the decision to add another patina, colour or finish (polish, sanded matte, hammering etc). There's no ctrl+Z in real life. At least not always -- some things can be remedied, but other simply can't and it's exactly those things that can't be undone that I'm wondering whether to do or not in this case.

Decisions, decisions...


  1. I really like the result you acheived - keep it!

    And thanks for leaving me the wonderful comment - I really appreciate your kind thoughts

  2. I agree with Sweet Freedom. The result is amazingly beautiful. Milka

  3. Wouldn't it be super nice if we could ctrl+z in our real-time lives? Especially, as you say, for things like testing patina. I think the way it is here is quite lovely, but understand the temptation to fiddle with it some more.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments about my book-writing-publishing posts.

  4. Tahnks, everyone! I have decided -- or think I have decided to keep this one the way it is now and find some other pieces to dabble more with. Hopefully I'll find something in the stash or find some room in the bead budget to buy some new metal (stampings or sheet/tags? Might be the latter this time -- Beaducation's single clad could be interesting for example and I want some more pewter/tin sheet).


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