Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"OOOoooooo.....................What is this?"

By Staci L. Smith

I don’t know about you, but I am a real stickler about making sure the jewelry I make is good quality.  I give a guarantee, and if, for some reason, it breaks, or they are unhappy, I will fix or replace it.  Now, I don't mind doing that at all, because I want people to be happy, but I don’t really want to be fixing stuff all the time either.  Mostly, I don’t want my customers to be without their jewelry.
In order to avoid this, I test it.  When I create a new design, I make sure to wear it around the house, carrying diaper bags, and groceries.  Cleaning, playing, ect…..  Only then do I feel confident enough that my design can be worn and worn and worn, with no worries. 
Since I have been working in copper, I have been agonizing about how it wears over a long time.  I use patinas on my copper and bronze, and seal them.  I tell my customers NOT to wear them in the ocean, or pool in order to protect the color.
So, last Friday, we went to  Long Beach Island for a day trip, and I decided to see what would happen if I wore one of my necklaces to the beach.
before fun in the sun and surf

I picked this one.  It has some copper loops with a verdigris patina on them, sealed with permalac and wax.  It also has a copper bezel that is only waxed lightly.
I did not go into the water completely, but I did play in the surf with the kids. 
(Oh, it was such a nice day for it too!  Lots of stuff on the beach to salvage as well!)


On the way home, after a 12 hour day trip, I took off my necklace and looked at it.  “OOoooooo…………..What is this?”  There, on my lightly waxed copper, was verdigris beginning to develop.  It had patterns, as if it were splashed on.  Splashed……………like from water..........from the salt water!!!!!  (and yes, my mind was a tad slow to put this together.  I try not to think too much after a day in the sun)

After fun in the sun and surf

So I did what anyone would have done, and Googled “patina by salt water” from my phone.  Guess what?  It works.   It’s and it’s all natural.  I am totally trying this, and hope that when I do it on purpose, it looks as cool as when the ocean did it by accident. 
So this week I plan to Google more ways to naturally patina my metal.  I am always trying to keep my studio as green as possible.  I also may buy Tim McCreights DVD on patina. 

I hear he tells you all about using household products to color your metal surfaces. 
WOW!  I just love when something like this happens.  I really wanted to find out if my patina would hold up with the salt water (and it did, though I still don’t recommend wearing it in the ocean), but I found out something new and exciting too.
So, share with me……..have you had any happy accidents?  Discovered something totally different then you set out to?

14 comments:

SummersStudio said...

Nice outcome. Looking forward to seeing the results of your salt experiment.

rosebud101 said...

I have etched copper with salt. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the process was so messy. I have also added some beautiful patinas on copper with salt and, of all things, ammonia. It stinks a bit, but I do like the results.

Penny said...

Very cool, like your happy accident.

Izzy said...

I've got some patina experiments going on right now in my workshop (all natural of course). Love my Liver of Sulfur, but it's time to change things up a bit...

Debra said...

What a beautiful piece of jewelry. Thanks for sharing this. I've used potato chips to patina copper (with vinegar, I think...I'll have to search for the recipe)fun to experiment!

D'Arsie Manzella said...

I have never tried any patina or colorant with my pewter but your natural accident has got the wheels turning in my head. I need to look further into playing with finishes! Beautiful work! Did you sell this piece yet?

Patty said...

Potato chips? Salt? Vinegar? I'm getting hungry!

Those are really cool results, Staci. I've done the verdigris patina before by misting the piece with salt water (highly, highly concentrated) and putting it in a baggie where there's a cotton ball soaked in ammonia - instant gratification.

As far as happy accidents go, I can't think of any right now.

stacilouise said...

Potato chips! Thats great! we only treat ourselves to them once in a while here, not sure I'd be able to wrestle them from the kids to use on jewelry! LOL!
D'arsie-I didn't sell the piece yet, I have been wearing it! I guess I will list it eventually.....but for now, I am still, uh-hem, testing it;)

quiltingjewel39 said...

That necklace was absolutely gorgeous to begin with and even more so with the salt water patina. I don't think I would be able to part with it either.

MaCarroll Beads said...

Well.... first of all I am going to check into that book! Thanks for sharing that. I try to make anything I can from household products. Secondly.... accidents.... Many good ones with pottery! Bill will be including my beads in the Monday wood-firing and I'm hoping for some happy accidents to come from that. When you woodfire... part of the thrill is the accidents since it so unpredictable :o)
MaryAnn

urbandon (Don Pezzano) said...

Beautiful piece. Salt water in a spray bottle and left outside works wonders. Super- heating the copper can give a wonderful effect too. I hear you about quality. Built it to last is my motto- I would hate for a piece to break.

mairedodd said...

so much fun for you! i love using salt water as well... rust was my happy accident... kim st. jean also discusses patina in her recent book - mixed metal mania... i think you should keep testing that necklace, you know... just because... :0)

Pretty Things said...

I'm in absolute awe and love with this piece!

missficklemedia.com said...

Oh my god.

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