Thursday, March 03, 2011

Copper Verdigris

You'll remember the February Artistic Challenge that Mallory & I blogged about - "Colo(u)r Me Copper" that we announced (late) a couple of weeks ago. Well this one was most surely a case of life getting in the way of art. 
The end of the month came & went & there was no reveal from me, not because I hadn't done anything but because my mind & life was in a different space. It still is - but I have decided to show you how far I got before the earth started wreaking havoc on land & lives here. I need some 'normal'.

Mallory had discovered this fabulous free downloadable tutorial on colouring copper (or brass & bronze) with ammonia & salt using a fuming method. There are other solutions such as vinegar, lemon juice, potassium (found in a lot of garden fertilisers)  that can be used to obtain different colours. Another option is, dare I say it, urine - although I'm not in any real hurry to play with that one!! Ammonia just by itself will do the job also. There are as many methods of applying the patina as there are substances to use to create a patina. For now

Being particularly drawn to the bright turquoise verdigris finish that appears naturally on copper, brass & bronze when exposed to air or seawater over time I began my play with the ammonia & salt fuming method. It was so quick & simple to do! 
As I watched the patina develop I recalled how some years ago I used lemon juice & salt mixed to a paste to clean a large brass coal bucket. After rubbing the solution on all over with a damp cloth  to remove the tarnish I had to rinse it off well before buffing the brass up to a shine. A few days  later, in the areas where the handle joined onto the body of the bucket, verdigris developed. It was obvious that I hadn't rinsed off the lemon & salt solution well enough where it had seeped in under the riveted plates that held the handle on.

The next experiments are going to be with lemon juice & salt ....& since as there is a wealth of information out there on the internet I expect I'll find a way to speed up the process along with other methods of applying it.

1 comment:

rosebud101 said...

Deb, you are so far ahead of me on this. Here you have an earthquake, and me, I don't, and you are ready to go! I love your pieces. Wben should we have a reveal? I love this method, and you're right, it was a FREE tutorial! Love it!