Friday, November 21, 2014

More Cicadas

Last year's cicada 'invasion' left me inspired to use the wings for unique pieces of jewelry.
Since the invasion on my property was an army of one, the wings that I keep in a jar at my workbench are from northern New Jersey cicadas which were collected by the 5 year old neighbor of one of my sister's clients.
How's that for team work?
I found it interesting that the northern New Jersey cicadas were very different from the cicada that expired on my patio.
I didn't have the opportunity to see the actual bugs, but based on the wings, the New Jersey variety is significantly smaller than the eastern Pennsylvania variety.
My workbench wings are very fragile and have minimal dimension to the veining that creates the beautiful stained glass appearance.
My first attempt at roll printing the wings was not very successful.
I sandwiched a few wings between two pieces of annealed copper and cranked the layers through my rolling mill.
The result was meh...the impression was a bit too subtle.
I was already using a relatively thin gauge of copper sheet, so the only adjustment I could make was with the rolling mill setting.
I set the rollers as close as I could and cranked that thing which was not easy.
I don't have one of those top-of-the-line rolling mills and cranking my cheapo mill at a close setting means two hands on the crank and feet braced.
The impression is still subtle, but this is as good as it's going to get.
To help guide me, I outlined each wing impression with a Sharpie and then cut them out with metal shears.
The wings were flattened with a plastic mallet...
then filed and sanded to smooth all edges.
My plan is to turn the wings into pendants, so they need more substance.
Each wing is getting riveted with segments of sterling wire to a base of metal that I previously etched.
They then get a treatment with liver of sulfur to highlight the veining...
and are now ready for drilling.

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