Friday, February 21, 2014

Metal Texture Friday

The last few weeks have yielded some excellent thrift store finds.
My most recent find....this morning's purchase of a $1.00 baking dish holder.
The dish and lid were not present, but that didn't matter.
I was interested in the pattern of the cutouts.
I had some ideas that I was itching to try out, so I put my jeweler's saw to use when I got home.
With a section removed, I had to cut off the top and bottom rims so that I could work with a flat piece of metal.
Part of the serving dish was sandwiched between two pieces of annealed copper, and the 3 layers were fed through my rolling mill.
I like the resulting imprint, but it was a bit more subtle that I was hoping for.
I decided to try another tactic.
I placed another part of the serving dish on top of annealed copper and slammed it with my all purpose hammer.
This technique resulted in a more dimensional imprint.
Even the back side of the hammered copper has a great look.
And for another effect....
I sandwiched pieces of cut cardstock between two pieces of annealed brass.
A run through the rolling mill left a beautiful texture.
Now the challenge is figuring out how to use these great pieces of textured metal.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last Night's Soldering

In the few hours before the big snowstorm moved into the region last night, I worked on some soldering projects in the great, new jewelry studio at Main Line Art Center.
Strips of brass that I had cut from a thrift store platter were paired up with strips of copper.
The metal guillotine made the cutting of these strips an easy task.
I don't have a photo, but after soldering, these pieces were blackened and  kind of dreadful looking as is often the case post soldering.
But...that's what the pickle pot is for.
Unless your pickle pot is not doing it's job....probably because of too much suspended copper in the solution.
I had checked my pieces after being in the pickle for around 20 minutes and saw that they looked no different.
I wasn't going to get some of my projects clean enough for a second stage of soldering.
When I got home, I made my own pickling mix with vinegar and salt...a good pickle for when you're in a pickle.
A 10 minute soak later, the pieces came out relatively clean (top photo).
A little more cleaning with a sanding block, and the great, Egyptian patterning on the brass pieces can be seen.
More cleaning is needed to eliminate the pinkish haze.
I was also working on more rings, but couldn't solder bezels in place.
The concave contour that I had made with the etched silver nickel made it difficult to properly clean it without a good pickle soak.
Next time.
And....maybe next time I'll do a better job with my soldering.
This is what happened with one of my other ring attempts.
I paused a moment too long in one spot and.....arrrrghhh!
Melting your metal is rarely a good thing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Inspiration Behind the Pin

I’m often asked where I find inspiration for different things that I create. Usually, I don’t really feel like answering because the whole evolution of an idea to an actual, finished product is often a very intimate and personal journey.
But….there is always a rationale behind what I’m doing, and sometimes, I don’t mind sharing.
I’m frequently percolating a whole cluster of ideas that are in their own little orbits (yeah…it gets a little noisy and crowded in my brain), seemingly unconnected when all of the sudden…BAM…some of those ideas collide and I realize, “Yes…of course they belong together.”
This project began with three orbits.  
Over a year ago, I found this great album of black & white photographs at a flea market. I am slightly obsessed with old photos and felt like I hit the jackpot.
 Some photos have already been put to use in completed projects, some are in projects that are in a seemingly perpetual state of “hmmmm…I have to figure out just the right way to complete this.”
The rest sit, waiting for the right idea to surface.
Last month, I found this great metal dish at a local thrift store.
The pattern of cut-outs makes this an unusual find for me, and I immediately started planning how I would make my own cut-outs for different projects.
The lovely woman who was at the register said, “Oh, how pretty. You can get this replated and it will look like new!”
I said that I thought that was a great idea, but what I was thinking was, “Great idea….not for me, though.”

When I made my initial cut, I couldn’t help but imagine the section as bars, as in a prison.
  That made me think, “I have to think about this.”

A few weeks ago, I listened to an NPR radio program about rape on college campuses. Hearing that 20% of female college students are sexually assaulted left me feeling pretty heartbroken. A statistic like that exists only because those who have the power and influence to demand change choose not to.
The behavior of some students, even at respected colleges and universities, is alarming.
You can go here (Huffington Post article) to understand how's very disturbing.

I am very impressed by the courage that some other students have displayed in their commitment to speak up and use their voices in a loud, determined way, demanding more from their administrators in spite of becoming targets of vicious verbal attacks.

Those different topics came together, and I realized I had to make the pin that I was imagining…a photo of women from an earlier generation behind bars that are breaking down.
 A section of the plate was cut out with metal shears and all edges were filed and sanded.  A strip of copper was stamped and riveted in place.
 Using the section of the metal dish as a template, I cut a second piece of metal from a sheet of copper that I had etched last year and riveted a bar pin in place.
After I secured the photo, the two layers of metal were riveted together.  

Change will only happen when change is demanded.
Silence is not an option.