Friday, March 9, 2012

Why I Oxidize

I am an oxidizer. I openly admit it, and I don't make a piece of copper, brass or sterling silver jewelry without finishing it with a stinky bath of Liver of Sulphur.

It is a personal choice. Some people love the antiqued grey and black look while others tend towards shiny. But I am not a shiny person. I have never worn sequins, patent leather or rhinestones.  My bent for the old and worn goes back a long way.

When I was a young girl, I had a distant cousin and her mother from California stay with my family overnight.  My cousin was around 17 or so, with long, blonde hair and the easy tan that comes from surfing and swimming in the ocean year round.

When I woke up the next morning, I quietly crept into the living room to get a good look at her as she slept on our couch. She had numerous earring holes in each ear, filled with oxidized silver hoops in various sizes. That was so exotic to my 12 year old, raised in small town Arkansas mind. She wore a silver, oxidized necklace that didn't seem to be just adornment, but it was a part of her somehow.  It looked as if she had been born with it around her neck. It blended with her in a way that my gold butterfly necklace did not on me.



And her rings! It was the same thing. They were weathered and oxidized, and blended beautifully with her whole being. I was entranced. I have never forgotten that first feeling of seeing someone wear oxidized jewelry.

Of course, back then, I had no idea what oxidized jewelry was, or how to find it. I just remember the feeling of effortlessness and longevity and belonging to one's self it instilled in me.



When my husband and I moved to Singapore for a six month contract 7 years ago, I was walking down the street in the Arab part of the city, and during a rainstorm, ducked into a shop filled with mysterious and musky perfume oils. I found a box with oxidized tribal jewelry from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the back part of the shop. I felt like I had found my home. In that brief moment, I saw my future--I was going to learn how to make this jewelry and dive into finding out how to belong to myself, too.


As a new member of LMAJ, I want to extend my thanks to you, the readers, and to the amazing and talented artists that contribute daily to this forum.  I am excited to be a part of LMAJ and look forward to learning more from each and every one of you as we all walk our own path into creativity and honor our self expression, oxidized or not!

***I prefer to use Liver of Sulphur Extended Life Gel.  I like this product because there is no dry dust inhalation hazard. I use a pea sized amount and add to hot water. I immerse my jewelry in this hot bath (don't use boiling hot water!) until the desired color appears, then I rinse it off in cold water and let it air dry.

After it is dry, I rub off the excess patina with 0000 Steel wool that you can find in any hardware store, and tumble polish in my Lortone Rock Tumbler with stainless steel shot and 1 drop of Dawn liquid.  My studio is located in my garage next to our deck, so I usually do this outside because of the smell.








14 comments:

Louise said...

I'm so glad that you're a member of this team. I follow them avidly and love the work they do. Your pieces are to die for and I can't wait to see what you come up with next. I can see myself buying from you with ease.

Alice said...

I love that your cousin helped shape you into who you are. Thanks for a fun story from your past!

I can go either way on the shiny/oxidized debate. I like them both for different reasons.

Welcome to LMAJ. It was very nice to meet you. I've already visited your blog and signed up for your newsletter.

mairedodd said...

a big warm welcome to you stacie... funny, it was around that time for me as well that gold began to feel cold, mass marketed... i had an uncle who worked for the us embassy and my cousins lived all over the world... they would visit in the summer and bring the most wonderful treasures... i remember feeling that yes, this was more like me... not just walking around the mall and searching for something to buy like my friends had... your work exudes the feeling of hard earned lessons and timeless truths... it's wonderful to be able to do that which at another time in your life you only dreamed of...

stacilouise said...

Welcome! I too am a LOS fan. I use both lump and gel, depending on the effect. I also think I am immune to the stink! I do it in the bathroom next to my studio with the fan on. I use the gel form by rubbing it onto my copper with a q-tip, letting it sit for 10 minutes, and then rub it off with a dry paper towel. This gives my copper a bronze / brown color I can't achieve any other way. I use the lump form to dip or when I am doing batches. Its a great tool, and I as a youth was that girl with the old sterling chain and the tarnish ring on every finger and 7 silver hoops in her ears! I have always loved antiqued jewelry!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

What a great story! I'm not the shiny type either. I've always loved things rustic and earthy. I just recently was asked to make a necklace and earrings for a raffle at my school. I originally set out to do the shiny turquoise (I do love the color of turquoise) and silver, but just couldn't do it. I grabbed my copper, my enamel and went to town. Honestly, I think the teacher in charge of this was a little disappointed that I didn't do the shiny thing, but ...... it just isn't me.I do have a tumbler, but I have yet to use it for copper. I've only used it to sand my porcelain beads before glazing. It is something I really want to try. Welcome, Stacie!
MaryAnn

Chris said...

Wonderful story Stacie! I love the way you bring to life your young girl self and your wonder and discovery. What a lovely writer you are! I agree with your feelings about oxidation, just never explained it so clearly!

JoZart said...

What a joy and revelation to read of the how, why and wherefore of your love of oxidising. Look forward to seeing you here more often too. Inspiring!
JoZarty

Barbara said...

Welcome Stacie to your our team! I think you'll find you're amongst friends here with all of the rest of us oxidizers. ;)

Stacie Florer said...

Thank you everyone for such a warm welcome...and I am going to try putting LOS directly on my copper, Staci...that sounds like something I need to try! And I do feel like I am amongst friends here...what a delicious group of contributors and readers!

Izzy said...

I'm so happy to have you here. Can't say it enough! You know with my copper I'm a big fan of los, just not a fan of the smell. =)

Libby Leuchtman said...

From one new member to another, so glad you are here!
Girlfriend I am right there with you on the LOS.
I am a member of the non-shiny club too!

Jean A. Wells said...

I really look forward to your posts in the future. This is one of my favorite blogs, I learn so much here. I also like oxidized, non-shiney (or is that shiny?) things. Welcome.

margretdzn said...

I always went for the oxidized, "artistic", earthy look when I created my jewelry.....I look at some early pieces I found from 15 yrs. ago and they're all oxidized....All of a sudden, one day about 2 months ago I changed and went for the bright shiny look, took off almost all of the previous years oxidations....Don't know exactly why, but I think I like the brightness it brings to the face....Now I've settled back into a comfort zone of mostly bright but appreciating doing some oxidizing that brings out certain design features and suits my mood....Loving the idea of not being limited in my creativity....

Gaia Copia said...

So glad to see you on this team Stacie! I'm a huge fan of your work and your writing. I too used to wear many aged silver rings on my fingers and hoops all the way up my ears. I love anything with an aged look.. slightly roughed up, with history and mystery. I'm looking forward to more of your inspiring posts and drooling over your unique jewelry style. Welcome!!

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