Saturday, March 22, 2008

Heat Coloring Copper

Heat colouring copper is a very experimental and unpredictable process, determined solely by the temperature of the metal. One of the main things to remember is to go slow, and to heat the metal slowly to achieve the colours you want. The Copper will go through a series of gold, orange, pink, purple, dark blue, and light blue, before turning black. Here are some tips on how to go about this process successfully:

  • Cut and shape your piece of copper
  • Complete all shaping
  • BE SURE TO FINISH ALL AREAS WITH EMERY (SAND) PAPER BEFORE COLOURING. Any areas not cleaned properly will turn a brown colour, and you will have to clean the whole piece and start over.
  • Holding the metal in soldering tweezers, preferably with the tweezers holding as small a space as possible, start “painting” the metal very slowly with the soft flame of the torch. You really only want the tip of the flame to "lick" the metal, and can even heat it from a bit further away. Be very careful and do this gradually and slowly, removing the flame frequently to check the colour. If you heat past the colour you want, you will have to re-emery the surface and start over.
  • The metal should turn a gold colour, then orange, pink, purple, dark blue, and light blue. Because the process is so unpredictable, it is normal for parts of the metal to turn one colour and not cover an even surface, although this can be manipulated with small amounts of heat.
  • Once you reach the colour you want, remove the flame and blow on the piece of metal, to slow the process of changing colour. The colour may or may not change in this step, so it is advisable to watch the colour closely and remove the flame prior to the metal changing to the colour you want.
  • Place the copper piece aside in a place where heat will not reach it. Be careful that you place it on a clean surface—otherwise you may end up with solder or other dirt sticking to it and ruining the piece.
  • Many people have inquired about what to coat the pieces with to prevent the colour fading or oxidizing. I have tried wax and it has completely removed the colour. It has been recommended at that you use an oil-based polyurethane coating. I do not coat my pieces as the colour seems to hold up well, and have tried polyurethane coating, which made the piece turn orange.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jewellery Show March 27th in Vancouver Canada

click image for larger view or view invite on flickr

'Like Wearing a Love Letter'.
Jewellery by Colleen Baran

Opening Night March 27th 6-8pm
Come by and say hello!
For those of you in Vancouver, Canada, See the work in person, eat some chocolates, read love stories and submit your own!
Ongoing March 28th-May 4th

Crafthouse Gallery
1386 Cartwright St.
Granville Island, Vancouver BC
V6H 3R8

In the ‘Like Wearing a Love Letter’ series I wanted to make jewellery that was like a love letter. Like wearing a daydream, a memory or a thought of love. Little stories of love that are: sincere, ironic, deep, passionate, conflicted, uncertain, comfortable, simple, adoring, platonic and complicated.

More photos to come on

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Stacking rings ala János

This tutorial by János Varga was originally posted on Flickr.

These are my first stacking rings. The idea came from Chris. They are iron rings with brass, silver and copper inlays.

STEP 1: I started with an iron water pipe. Here in Italy (and also in Hungary) they used to make the water pipes from iron. They are just about normal ring sizes, and they are a good quality of iron. Here I have cut the groove for the inlay.

STEP 2: Then I cut off a section, here it is.

STEP 3: I twisted a piece of copper (brass, silver) wire into the groove.

STEP 5: At this point I have cut off the twisted bit of the wire.

STEP 6: I hammered the ends into the groove.

STEP 7: Then I hammered the ring at the part where the wire was twisted to close the inlay.

STEP 8: Between the stages I annealed the whole piece. Also, at the end the oxidation from heating gives contrast between the grooves, the dots, and the shiny surface.

STEP 9: With a punch and an old chisel I made the patterns.

STEP 10: I filed off the edge of the ring because the inlaid wire disappeared under the iron. Then comes a careful finish with all of it's stages.


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