Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The bearded lady

As I've said before, patina experiments don't always turn out the way you want them to. When using vinegar, the acid will eat into the metal if left long enough -- and it doesn't etch evenly as an etching fluid would, but createds a pitted surface, which can be great (see e.g. this post). But sometimes it goes plain wrong.

In this case I sacrificed a plated stamping. I'd bought it ages ago, but never really liked it once I got it. Didn't like how she puts her chin out, which made it feel like she had the mumps or something. So I wasn't worried about putting it in the baker's ammonia and vinegar sawdust: a good patina would just improve it, a failed patina wouldn't damage a piece of any particular value to me. So in the jar it went. I waited. And waited. Even forgot it for some time. And very little happened. Often, the vinegar will eat through sealants and even plating, but not this time. In the end, I put it in another jar with just salt and vinegar to see if that would speed up any patina. Eventually, this is what I ended up with.

More rust than verdigris and the edges had corroded badly. That distressed, rustic surface might be a great loook on many stampings, but perhaps not one with a human face because that protruding chin had become more etched and pitted than any other area.

I had ended up with a one-eyed bearded lady!


  1. Looks like a stamping from hell. With a knitted cap on her head. WHAT is she?

    1. In her defense, she looked a bit better before my "acid attack" on her. Not a lot better, but I hoped it'd be more flattering IRL than on a photo. *off googling* Ah, got a pic of what it looks unpatina'd:

      The stampings' some sort of fairy, but not really the delicate kind. It's a Gibson Girl head -- with that typical volumnious hair -- on top of two butterfly wings. No idea why the artisan thought it was a good idea to have her put the chin out like that.

      If nothing else, maybe I could flatten the middle or cut it out and use only the wings. Save the craft fail that way.

    2. The wings could look exciting in a special piece. Just get rid of the face. I like the rusty parts on the wings. Could be nice in a collage.


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