Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's on the Desk 8/31/2011

I'm working on more etching projects, this time a bunch of "pumpkin faces" for a series of Halloween jewelry. They are etched and turned out great! and I'm working on cleaning them up right this minute... more pics to come.

The odd shaped piece of metal is another stab at using scrapbook stamps. I'm trying a different ink this time, and it turned out pretty darn good, so I think I can make etched patterns using stamps. WOOT!

I'm also working on a woolly worm bracelet. No clue what I"m saying? here is an example here. One I'm working on is multi-colored and hopefully I'll have pics some other time.

I'm also packing projects for this weekend's Mage-Con convention. I get to see my best buddies from South Dakota, we set up our booths together and laugh, eat, and make jewelry and occasionally actually sell something.

and Hey, to prove I actually finish MOST of my projects, here is the key bracelet, finally all done.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Etching part IV: an actual, honest to Gawds finished piece!

Yep, finally got something made all the way through. Let's recap the steps:
1/ cut metal out or use blanks ( a mix here)

2/ draw designs in sharpie on metal

3/ tape backs to protect from etching

4/ etch in acid for 30-50 minutes

5/ neutralize the acid with a dip in vinegar, salt and water mixture, and then baking soda

6/ clean and wash

7/ assemble in a pleasing configuration. In this case I punch holes in the pieces and used copper 18GA jump rings

8/ use liver of sulfur to darken recessed areas of the design

9/ clean again

10/use Renaissance Wax to help protect and shine the metal

11/ take a deep breath, and I'm done!

I really love how the clasp looks!

I'm working on more etching.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Odds and ends....

can you believe I still hasn't finished this bracelet?? this weekend for sure!!!!

While in Dubuque this weekend, we hit one of the closing Border stores. While it's sad to see a book seller go away, (other than the thought maybe a smaller indie one can step in the market) I cannot resist a sale on books. Among the books I bought is Surface Treatment workshop by artist Darlene Olivia McElroy. Now this is not strictly a jewelry book, it's more of a mix media / painting book, but I'm fascinated by the results from the techniques presented. Just a casual browse I'm convinced I can apply at least some of these to jewelry making. I wouldn't have ever seen this book except it was misfiled in the yarn section, directly overhead the few remaining jewelry books, and the colorful cover just stood out. I anticipate many happy experiments once I'm through with show season..... which isn't very far away at all. In fact I have no shows this weekend. I'm already planning to work on some etching projects, it's possible I can squeeze a surface treatment or 2 in....

I'm also planning on doing, * something * with new key blanks I just got in. These are wonderful Vintaj natural brass in 25 GA. I'm thinking I might actually etch a couple ... I've made a couple of bracelets using brass stamped keys, how much fun would it be with designs and words on them?

I also got another order of aluminum jump rings from Blue Buddha . I've been making some lovely chainmail with rainbow color schemes, and I ran out of orange in 2 different sizes, if you can believe it. Hopefully I'm orange-enabled for some time to come with this order... more rainbows are coming on line soon!

I love Thursdays right now. It's Project Runway and we watch it as a family. It's hard to believe this show has been going on for 9 years now!! We started to watch together as of Season 4, still the best one IMHO. Last year really sucked, the judges so picked the wrong winner. This year the judging seem much more on track, but whether we agree with the judges or not, is so nice to have a regular show to watch as a family every week.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Kirk and Cindy.....

Happy Anniversary To my Bro and Sis, Kirk & Cindy!! 25 years ago they got married at the Four Mounds Mansion in Dubuque, IA. Then, they were renting it from the city and actually lived in it for 3+ years. Now, 25 years later, is a lovely bed and breakfast with period furniture and knockout views of the river. The foundation that runs it has done a remarkable job of restoring it to it's original 1908 glamor.To celebrate, we took over the whole Inn for the weekend.

Part of the fun -- Kirk got to jam with his old band. I really think Kirk is happiest banging on the drums. Here is a crappy pic of him, check out the very kewl hat.
Grandma and Grandpa ( my folks) surrounded by all the grand kids. (my baby is the 4Th one) Check out the view of the river!

Great weekend, great party, and I can't wait to attend their 50Th!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Etching III: second batch

OK, the first batch was all about experimenting with resists.

This 2ND batch has an actual goal: I want to make 2 bracelets. The first bracelet I want to make is based on 2 of the squares that turned out great from the first batch (see the picture above) These were made with sharpie markers and it's free hand drawing. Now I'm not much for drawing, but I love doodling abstract spirals and lines, so I wanted to make more squares and a toggle with the same abstract styling.

The other bracelet I wanted in a thicker GA all in copper, based off the lovely paisley stamp that turned out so well in batch one:
My though on this one is I would stamp a large rectangle of copper, etch it and then cut out the shapes for my bracelet. That way each piece would have a unique but harmonious pattern.

I also dug out copper washers and stamped them just for fun. You can never have enough kewl and interesting components on hand!

These pictures give you a good idea of what they look like before the etching process.

I used the same process as before. After the acid and the vinegar bath, I let them sit in baking soda for a few minutes before I washed them off.

The hand-drawn squares turned out great! I cannot wait to make them into a bracelet!

Unfortunately the stamped pieces didn't turn out near as well. I need to play more with stamping, its possible I just cannot etch them as long, or maybe I need to explore different inks on the pads. Also on the first batch, some of the stamp pieces sat for almost a week before I got around to etching, and these I etched the very next day. It's possible I just need to let the stamp images "cure" longer.....

you can see on the large rectangle the pattern is very very faint. I'm going to try to make the pattern pop more with a patina, but it's very light and I don't think it's going to work for my bracelet.

The washers are very faint also... very light texture.

Some of the washers didn't turn out at all, these 4 are the best of the lot. Earrings maybe?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Etching part II

I tried 3 different colored markers as resists, black, blue and pink. all three turned out very well. Here are 2 of them below.

I used sticker label paper with fancy designed cut out on them. They turned out pretty good ( though the paper started to disintegrate, so when using this as a resist I don't think I would leave it in the acid more than 50 minutes) I used the paper resists on Vintaj blanks, so I got this kewl effect of dark ( the vintaj finish) where the resist is... yummy! and I cannot wait to play more with this idea.

I used stamps and stamp pad ink on 3 and only one turned out well. The other two the ink must have come off and it was more or less just etched. The one that turned out though is wonderful!! Now I need to figure out why it worked and the other 2 didn't. It's possible I had the other 2 in the acid too long. I was experimenting with times ( 20 to 50 minutes) . the 20 minutes just wasn't really long enough for any of the batches.. 40-50 minutes seems optimum. I would suspect the thickness of the metal might play a part also... and how well the ink stuck to the metal..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Etching metals part I

I've wanted to try etching for a long while now, and I finally had my materials gathered 2 weekend's ago. The week before I started to prep copper and brass pieces for my first test.

Etching is both easier and harder than you think it will be. You are dealing with acid, so you should take appropriate precautions. Wear protective hand gear, work in a well ventilated place, and you should probably designate the containers you use for future acid use only. Also you need to be prepared to neutralize the acid you don't reuse. The idea of using acid is scary but it's really not bad, and the acid I'm using is pretty mild as acids go. It only works on copper/bronze/brass.

The first circle shaped container (all of these are plastic- recycled from frozen food products) has the acid in it. The oblong next to it is a neutralizing bath made from 1 part salt, 1 part white vinegar and 6 parts water. The 2ND oblong is baking soda. after I rinse the pieces off in the vinegar solution, I cover them with baking soda. Then I rinse them off in the sink.

So really if you are careful, the acid part is the cake walk. The resists are where things really get interesting.

Resists are what you put on the metal to keep the acid from working. The areas that are left exposed are eaten away by the acid, the areas "covered" remain, or "resist" the wearing away.

The acid only works certain types of materials, so in theory anything that the acid doesn't "eat" should work as a resist. In practice, not so much. I really want to get a good idea of what works and what doesn't, so I am trying a variety of resists.

For my first time out, I tried 3 different colored sharpie markers. I used pink, blue, and black. When I researched this , several places recommended a fancy, expensive permanent marker in red. I might break down and get that eventually, but for this I used what I've got around the house.

I also did 3 with ink and scrapbook stamps.

And finally I used label paper that stuck on the metal like a sticker. The heart design in the 3rd picture shows the label paper.

Part II coming soon......

What's on the Desk 8/10/2011

I'm working on 3 projects right now:

I'm making a bracelet using a brass stamping of a key, which I've flattened and textured with a hammer. I'm planing on adding at least 3 different chains, maybe crystals or pearls.. still mulling it over.

My etching pieces are now clean and I"m adding color to some of them. This one I've added alcohol inks to, and it's drying. Once it's dry, I'll punch a couple of holes in it and seal it and then it can be used in... something. Not knowing where you are going on a piece is just as fun as knowing what road you are taking!
I've prepped batch 2 of etching. As I type these words the acid is doing it's thing. I'm going to do series on etching next blog entry...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Whats on the Desk 08/02/11

What's on the desk #1: a mess. I've got several things going at once right now.. at least 4 different bits of projects are represented in this picture. Probably a as many projects where I just haven't put stuff away yet!! ugh! Seriously time to clean the desk....

What's on the desk #2: I'm working on what should be a lovely filigree necklace, featuring one of my handmade fused glass cabs.
What's on the Desk #3: etching!!! this is a sneak peak at my trial run of etching copper and brass... more to come!