Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sundays Thought Provoking Project

About to embark on my very first foray into etching copper I was trying to think of something to quickly draw freehand onto a 3"x3" square of copper. I quickly discovered that drawing with a sharpie on copper is not like drawing on paper to begin with, so it was essential that I did something simple.

At the same time I wanted to find out how different things worked when being etched so it was essential that I experiment with both thick & thin lines. My brain drew a blank on what to do & after an hours spent searching for something online that I could draw ideas from I realised that I was being somewhat obsessive about it being a nice tidy, repetitive design. I quickly flicked through an old notebook & borrowed part of a tribal tattoo style doodle I had done a year or so back & filled the rest in with bit's & bob's all in the name of  'learning'.

I must say that at this point I thought ...well, I can't actually type here what I thought, suffice to say "Oh dear" is a gross understatement.

After it's spa trip into the acid bath, I pulled little 3x3 out & neutralised him. He wasn't looking very pretty, even after I scrubbed him up. Having no chemical patina products to use & decided that I'd hit him with a bit of torch flame as I knew that copper can produce some wonderful effects when exposed to heat.

Then it was time to have the raised area's cleaned. Now I could see every pen stroke, especially those that overlapped & left thicker area's of resist. I learned quite a bit about what technique is required when drawing on copper from this from this.

I also realised that when it's looked at as a whole, rather than the parts it will become, it's far easier to get hung up on the imperfections of a design.... &  finally I realised that those same imperfections will be far less noticeable in the end product.

In fact the end product will do quite nicely for another project I have in mind. Something I have been meaning to "redo" for a few years now... &  it's not perfect either. Stay tuned for that one!


Patty said...

Deb, this looks amazing!! Such brilliant color! I'm inspired. What chemical did you use for etching?

Bobbie Pene said...

Wow I didn't know you could do that with copper, pen and acid. The effect is amazing. And I think the querkie llittle imperfections are what separates our work from the mass produced, machine produced stuff :)

Deb said...

Patty - due to a lack of readily available Ferric Chloride here (I later discovered that I can purchase it in crystal form, but in rather large amounts & it'd have to be sent from the North Island) I used the Hydrochloric Acid & Hydrogen Peroxide mix...after a lot of research.lol!

The fun part was really hitting the sheet with my Butane chefs torch & watching those colours bloom!

Bobbie - I've been wanting to do this for ages & now that I've dabbled I can see that I could very easily get absorbed in this at the expense of everything else if I'm not careful. Wouldn't be a very good move to make caps & such only to end up with no beads to put them on though ;)

I agree about the imperfections too!